T-shirt designer's business dominated by the letters R.I.P. - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Detroit T-shirt designer's business dominated by the letters R.I.P.

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By Alexis Wiley
Fox 2 News


DETROIT (WJBK) -- The store really functions a lot like a funeral home.  Grieving Detroiters go there.  The staff comforts them and offers them a way to remember their loved ones, and the owner told me that more than 90 percent are victims of violence.

"How many R.I.P. shirts would you say you think you've bought?" I asked Taliyah Brown.

"Like five now," she answered.

"How old are you?"

"13."

But this time Brown and her sisters were making a shirt for their brother, 18-year-old True Whitsey, a college student home for break senselessly murdered on Detroit's west side Thursday night.

"What does this shirt mean to you?" I asked her.

"A lot because my big brother [is] not here [any] more with me," she said.

Her story and ones like it are exactly why Marvin Lovejoy's business has more than doubled.  He opened Lovejoy International more than 30 years ago.  He wanted to make T-shirts for happy occasions.

"I said I want to start it for family reunions and schools and businesses," he said.

But today his business is dominated by three letters -- R.I.P.

He documents each victim's name and the date the order was received.  He keeps their pictures and can tell you how most of them died.  Every order is a stark reminder of what's happening in this city.

"They're killing each other over nothing," said Lovejoy.  "They need to take some of these guns off the streets."

"This is just the seventh day... we already have... three and two more coming in today after five."

But Lovejoy would love to sell more of one particular shirt.  On the front is written the words "stop the violence" and on the back "promote the peace".

Last year, Lovejoy International made 200 sets of R.I.P. T-shirts, and unless something changes, they could make even more this year.

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