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DESIGNER’S WORK FIT HER TO A T

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS ARTICLE BY BY JOHN LAUINGER
TUESDAY JULY 28, 2009

SUNNYSIDE ARTIST SHOWS BORO PRIDE WITH STYLISH SHIRT LINE

T-shirt designer Ciara Elend hails from California, but her heart is in her home borough of Queens. The 30-year-old Sunnyside resident doesn’t need to declare that — her sleek, block-printed tees say it for her.

“I HEART QUEENS” is Elend’s signature design and the basis of an entire line of T-shirts and accessories dedicated to the borough.

Elend moved to Queens in 2004 when she began studying graphic design at Parsons, the New School for Design in Manhattan. She makes each shirt by hand in her small Long Island City studio, carving the design into linoleum to form a stamp that is then used to apply ink to the shirt.

Her so-called “Queensbound line” includes “I HEART QUEENS” coffee mugs and bumper stickers as well as tees featuring the Sunnyside Arch or the name of a Queens neighborhood written in flowing script.

Elend said the “Queensbound” line is her attempt to spur home-turf pride throughout the borough. “I’m trying to inspire residents to think about Queens, to be proud of Queens,” she said. “It’s a really great community.”

Her tees, which first hit the market in late 2007, come in sizes for men, women and kids. Maternity sizes are also available.

She also has a second T-shirt line called “Ciara Couture.” These tees are issued new each season and have nothing at all to do with Queens.

When Elend first launched her business, “Ciara Couture” was her hot line, selling at boutiques in Los Angeles and Chicago. But sales dropped considerably when the economy tanked, forcing her to lay off her small staff.

“Right now, ‘Queensbound’ is really what has been keeping my company going,” said Elend, whose tees can be found at ciaraelend.com.

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