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Shirt is fit for a president

Reed Robinson received a special request for one of his Hawaiian shirt designs -- a birthday present for President Bush.

July 08, 2007|By Michael Miller

Reed Robinson got an unusual request at the end of June: to design a custom Hawaiian shirt in less than two weeks.

He might have rejected the offer if the recipient of the shirt wasn't George W. Bush.

With the president's birthday approaching on July 6, a White House official contacted Toes on the Nose, a Newport Beach-based surf clothing company, and asked for a specially made shirt featuring a number of Bush's favorite images.

The company diverted the message to designer Robinson, who usually takes between two to three months to finish a custom design, and asked him to have the shirt as soon as possible.

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It was tough, but Robinson, who campaigned for Bush's father in 1988, threw himself into it.

Six days later, he mailed the shirt to the White House.

"It was an honor and a pleasure," Robinson said. "They told me they would try to get a picture of him receiving the gift or wearing it."

White House representatives were unable to confirm Friday that officials had ordered the shirt from Toes on the Nose. The company's president, Richard Allred, said he thought he was being had when he got a call asking for a presidential shirt.

"To tell you the truth, I'm not sure how they found out about us," he said. "But it was definitely a big surprise for us. I was like, you've got to be kidding me. I thought one of my friends was messing with us."

The design that Robinson created featured a number of famous Bush-related symbols: the Presidential Seal, the Yale logo, Camp David and Air Force One, along with the initials "G.W.B." on the right sleeve and "President Bush" written below the Toes on the Nose label.

Allred said the company mailed the shirt earlier this week in hopes of making the Friday birthday deadline.

"I'm 99.9% sure that he got it today," he said.



  • MICHAEL MILLER may be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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