Back in 1995, voiceover actress Lynne Lambert was riding the subway to various gigs around New York City when she got to thinking. The letters and numbers of the subterranean lines—each inscribed in a different-color circle—were nearly like modern icons. Heck, the system map itself almost looked like a Pollock canvas. It was then that Lambert wondered why "something so quintessential has never been made into apparel. It's the wallpaper of the city. If you connected the dots, you'd have something wearable."
So, Lambert did connect the dots—specifically, those of the A, C and E and the 1, 2 and 3 trains. Discovering that nobody had ever even applied to the Metropolitan Transit Authority for a license to use the symbols, Lambert bought an exclusive. That was 14 years ago. Today, she operates her NYC Subway Line clothing brand out of her Westchester home, producing a large array of shirts, hoodies, hats and accessories. But the best part of Lambert's scheme is that someone else picks up the tab for her brand's marketing. Lately, the funky, local threads have been spotted on the bods of Uma Thurman, Bill Clinton and the rapper Fabolous—lucky endorsements that have cost Lambert nothing. What's more, the surging cultural popularity of the city has kept the subway system itself center stage in movies like Spider-Man 2 and, most recently, this summer's remake of The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3. Says Lambert: "I do hope that movie will get people thinking and will translate into sales."
And if it makes them too scared to ride the train, well, they can at least buy a 6-train T-shirt.
—Posted by Robert Klara