ORLANDO, Fla. - Swan City is letting the world know there is more to Orlando than just theme parks and tourism.
The online apparel store features Orlando-inspired designs, showcasing some of the local hidden gems the City Beautiful has to offer. A Central Florida man is using his T-shirts as a creative way to display what Orlando really has to offer.
"I love this place. I don't think I'll ever leave now," Andrew Chang, founder of Swan City said.
But the 30-year-old didn’t always feel this way.
"Coming here, I thought this wasn't a big city. I thought this wasn't big enough for me. I didn't think there was enough things to do," Chang said.
In 2008, he moved from his hometown, Titusville, to go to school at the University of Central Florida. A year later, he met his husband.
Together, they started to venture out into hot spots in Orlando and realized all the things it has to offer -- away from the tourism.
"We started getting things like the soccer stadium and the performing arts center and a lot more growth and development in the downtown area," Chang said.
The entrepreneur said those changes in the city started to give Orlando a different identity -- one he wanted everyone to experience -- so he created Swan City.
The online apparel store is where he honors the City Beautiful through T-shirts with a touch of his humor. Some of the shirts depict a well-known building that can be see from a popular highway, one locals call part of Orlando’s landscape.
"If anyone recognizes the building, we know it in Orlando as the I-4 eyesore,” he said. “It's taken, I think, 17 years to get to where it's at.”
Also showcased is a popular pizza restaurant, Lazy Moon. It’s a staple of the UCF community.
"Going to UCF, this is a very popular place back then -- and now since then, they've moved to downtown so it will workout for Lazy Moon,” Chang said. “If anyone knows about Lazy Moon, the slice is about the size of your face.”.
The company also pays tribute to the city's sports teams. Featuring designs on candles and posters, too.
It's places like the Milk District in east Orlando, Pom Pom's Teahouse and Sandwicheria or the Lake Eola and Thornton Park neighborhoods that Chang hopes outsiders will learn to love just as much as he does.
“I want people to understand that we have culture, we have identity, we have food and we have space for everyone. That everyone can feel safe and feel welcomed,” Chang said.
“I wanted everyone else to realize that this place is their home and that they should be prideful of living in Orlando."
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