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Statriot

A Statriot shirt design by Josh Vanek and Greg Twigg.

A Montana-centric clothing company with an unprintable slogan has been around the MADE Fair since the beginning.

In fact, the 10-year-old Statriot Designs has been in the state pride game before Montana-themed shirt companies existed by the dozens.

They're hard to confuse with anyone else's, thanks to their slogan: Monf---intana, with a vulgar but enthusiastic interjection where those hyphens are.

Co-founder and co-owner Josh Vanek said it originated with a friend of his in Yakima, Washington, who used to do an impression of a relative who would insert profanity into the middle of words "for emphasis, and in this sort of lazy way."

So he made a one-off shirt design with an osprey and a "really subtle, cursive, 2-inch-long piece of text under it." They wondered whether it was going to make people angry, or perhaps consider it an insult, but it's been so well-received that it's emblazoned on almost all of their shirts (save the family-friendly designs) in a much more eye-catching but not intentionally crass way.

"Clearly, we love Montana, and it's an enthusiastic kind of thing," he said, calling it an humorous endorsement of the state.

Vanek and his wife, Niki, and their business partner Scott Moore run the company, which originated out of Vanek's interest in screenprinting. He made some designs and printed them himself on thrift-store shirts until Aimee McQuilkin, the owner of Betty's Divine, suggested using new ones so they had a proper range of sizes.

Over time, he's contributed designs, as have University of Montana Media Arts professor Greg Twigg, Garage T's owner Aaron Farseth and graphic designer Carl Stotts. Kari Workman and Andy Smetanka have contributed as well. Vanek still designs many, too, but the more complex designs require some Photoshop work to move further from the copy-machine "mega-DIY" look with which he started. 

"The fact that Aimee and Betty's … saw something there helped us kind of get our act together and do something that we definitely have enjoyed doing for 10 years," he said.

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