Welcome to the wonderful world of the Internet. A place for relaxation, creation and most importantly, socialization. Deep into the depths of the Internet is a new place which is creating a lot of buzz. This place is called Ohiya, think “oh-HI-ya,” and connects the relaxation to the creation with the help of socialization.
Just launched in February, Ohiya hails from Ohio and mixes pop culture with the imagination, resulting in a one-of-a-kind clothing line. The line presents T-shirts laced with fun creatures proclaiming the line’s general message of making friends. The shirts embody the “cute, cuddly and sometimes crass” characters of Katinja (literally, a cat that doubles as a ninja), Mythtaken (a Bigfoot-like monster), Smooch (think Iron Maiden), Zombuddies (zombie-buddy, get it?) and Zoomipop (a loveable Harajuku-like panda bear), along with some other characters that want to spread the joy of friendship around.
This may sound like a mythical world, because it is, so let me break it down: Ohiya’s clothing line bases itself on the simple idea that saying hello is not just a friendly gesture, but it’s a way of life. By saying “hi” to somebody, you’re creating friendships that can last a lifetime. The website boasts that friendships are like art, in that they’re “built one brush stroke at a time,” and in Ohiya, that’s the only art they have—the art of making friends.
The main idea behind Ohiya came from Jason Tharp, an illustrator who first sketched the ideas in 2011 at Ripple Junction. Tharp, the mastermind himself, says that the clothing line goes “beyond personal boundaries—to simply say, ‘Hi.’”
It is that little two-letter word that Ohiya seeks to brand and encourage others to befriend one another. Tharp’s playful line consists now not only of men’s and women’s T-shirts, but also includes canvas prints of your favorite characters, plush dolls, posters, patches and pins.
The characters are somewhat pop art, somewhat cartoon and somehow fine art in its own category. The variety of characters and the vast array of colors, shapes and slogans give Ohiya its own marketing edge. Never before have I seen a zombie-like cat on a purple backdrop thoroughly enjoying and holding onto an ice cream cone filled with brains, stating “I Scream.” Never have I come across a shirt with a bunny rabbit dressed as a ninja, holding a pair of nunchucks, saying “What Up Nunchuck?” This is what I did, however, find at Ohiya.
Along with its unique illustrations and creative design, the overall message that Ohiya is attempting to create gives it an added edge over every other typical clothing line. Ohiya’s message of creating and spreading friendship, urging everybody to speak to one another is inspiring to say the least. We live in a society where most of us text rather than talk on the phone, or sit in class and never learn all of our classmates’ names. Following Ohiya’s way of life and simply striking up conversation with a short “Hi” can foster a brand new friendship with a small stroke of a brush.
Nevertheless, spreading love and joy and all around good feelings, this clothing line is definitely something to keep an eye on in the next several years. So much so that becoming an “Ohiyan” is as easy as buying a shirt, plush, print or poster. Shirts, canvas prints and plush dolls are the most expensive, costing around $20 each. Posters, on the other hand, cost only $10. To find your new friend and make many more, visit the website at store.ohiyafriends.com.
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