Joe Moxley’s face appears on one of his best-selling T-shirts, which he produces out of his mother’s Central Point garage. - Bob Pennell

From Mom's garage to network TV

When Medford resident Joe Moxley used to buy merchandise for his former clothing shop, he often found the choices lacking.

"I was looking for something new, young and hip," said Moxley, 27. "The new clothing lines I was encountering were a little junky. I thought, 'I could do better than this.' "

Moxley, a graduate of Cascade Christian High School in Medford, had always been interested in art, so he began to apply some of his drawings to T-shirts and add the garments to his retail shop.

"I started out with a single color press," he said. "Just as soon as I started doing it, I loved it, being able to take something I draw and put it on a T-shirt. Every time I wore one to the mall, someone would say, 'Hey, cool shirt.' "

Moxley eventually sold his GoLucky clothing shop in the Medford Center, but he continued to make T-shirts in his mother's garage in Central Point, a business he playfully dubbed "Meddy" for Medford.

The business gained momentum about a year ago when Moxley joined forces with Mike Herrera, a bass player and singer with the punk rock band, MXPX. Herrera tours the world and wears the T-shirts along the way, even contributing some of the designs.

"I just wanted clothes that I liked and wanted to wear and not have to go to a designer clothing store and pay $100 for a T-shirt," said Herrera, 31, of Bremerton, Wash. "I meet bands and kind of promote the line."

The pair agreed to give the company a new name — "Legionnaire Apparel" — to mark their new business union.

Herrera, who also plays guitar for the fledging band Tumbledown, first pitched the name, "Legionnaire," a reference to the bacterial respiratory disease coined in 1976 after an outbreak at a convention in Philadelphia held by the American Legion of Pennsylvania.

"Mike said, 'It's a disease, and this is going to spread like a disease,' " Moxley said.

Many of the T-shirts feature "punk" themes, such as skulls and roses, but the line also sports softer themes such as "Faith Family Friends."

One of Legionnaire's T-shirts will be worn by guitarist and singer Jake Turner with the band, "Say Anything" performing tonight on "Late Night with Conan O'Brien," which airs at 12:37 a.m. on NBC.

Turner also has worn Legionnaire's T-shirts during appearances on MTV. Other musicians also have donned the T-shirts since Herrera joined the venture.

Joanie Dodds, first runner-up on the reality show "America's Next Top Model Cycle 6," wore one of the T-shirts during an episode of that program.

The Human Bean, Oregon Mountain and Black Rock coffee shops have employed Moxley to design T-shirts for their companies.

Moxley who used to work as a commodity broker and later a coffee shop owner, still produces the T-shirts in his mother's garage, drawing the image and using an emulsion to transfer it to a screen that can be used to produce the designs on the shirts.

"Most of the designs are hand-drawn," Moxley said. "That's why they stand out."

The T-shirts, made of 100 percent cotton and a double thread count, sell for $20 to $30 each, less for wholesale. He sells to nearly a dozen clothing shops on the West Coast.

The prices are markedly lower than some of the T-shirts Moxley used to shop for when stocking his clothing shop, he said.

Orders roll in from all over the world, including Australia, France and Japan, where Herrera has toured. After buying one shirt, some customers return to buy several more at a time.

"It blows my mind that people want something I made in a garage," Moxley said.

Moxley still works at Costco to help support his young family, including a 1-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, but the business is undoubtedly growing.

"We've been asked, "What will you do if we ask you to produce a 1,000 of these shirts?' " Moxley said. "I hope I have to figure that out."

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