Oscar nominee swag bags to include Prince William Co. business’ graphic undershirts

On Sunday, Oscar nominees like Steven Spielberg will receive swag bags (often valued at six figures) that include a product from a Prince William County, Virginia-based business.

Graphic undershirts from Bored Rebel, a woman-owned business based in Haymarket, will be featured in this year’s “Everyone Wins,” swag bags at the Academy Awards. The bags are gifted to host Jimmy Kimmel and 26 of the nominees, plus members of the media.

Stacy Flax, the company’s founder, has a pending-patent the unisex-shirts’ design which is meant to make undershirts fun — without showing through a sheer dress shirt. The print goes along the center where a shirt would button up, a thicker part of the fabric, that Flax calls “new real estate for clothing.”

A man models a Bored Rebel undershirt that says “That’s a hard no,” beneath a dress shirt. (Courtesy Bored Rebel)

Flax said she “cold-emailed” the marketing firm that arranges the swag bags and learned about how to apply. Within days of applying, Bored Rebel was selected, she said.

“There is a chance that they’ll wear it on the red carpet and show it and that’s a small chance,” she said of the celebrities receiving the bags. “But I think my husband would have to pick me up off the floor.”

And the Oscar goes to …

An example of a Bored Rebel shirt that Oscar nominees and the media will receive. (Courtesy Bored Rebel)

Flax handwrote notes to each nominee and specially-selected shirts based off their interests or personalities.

“I did research and did my best to figure out shirts that would give me the best opportunity for the person receiving it to love it and possibly wear it and show it and talk about it,” Flax said.

For example, actress Cate Blanchett who has three dogs will receive a shirt that says “My dogs think I’m awesome.”

Others aren’t such simple picks.

“Some cases, I’m guessing,” Flax said. “Colin Farrell, struck me as somebody who might like, [a shirt that says] ‘That’s a Hard No,’ — that one’s been super popular.”

In some cases, writing the note to the nominee was “mind blowing,” she said.

“Steven Spielberg, I wanted to go on and on about what, like E.T. meant to me, but I refrained,” she said of the director. “Just kept the note short and simple.”

For the media’s bags, Flax used the company’s top selling design that includes its tagline, “Unleash Your Inner Superhero.”

Dirty underwear on the bathroom floor sprouts idea for business

Flax hopes her red carpet moment helps get the word out about her business, which she said started back in 2021 after getting burned out from her career in the corporate world working with Fortune 500 executives.

“When I decided to leave my first career, I remember just sitting around on my sofa, watching Netflix, thinking that maybe this is all I would do, and that’s kind of a sad thought,” she said.

Instead, the self-proclaimed “recovering perfectionists,” said she branched out into learning graphic design, prompting “happy fireworks,” in her head.

Around that time, she took note of her husband’s underwear and undershirt on the bathroom floor one day.

Stacy Flax, the founder of Bored Rebel, an apparel brand that makes printed undershirts. (Courtesy Bored Rebel)

“He leaves them on the floor every single day,” she said “He still does.”

Flax said she noticed how plain her husband’s undershirt was in comparison to his printed boxer shorts.

Undershirts have been worn for more than a century and consistently looked the same. “For whatever reason, we have this collective mental block that they’re supposed to be plain,” Flax said.

Flax said she began exploring designs to change that — and likened the shirts to offerings of printed boxers or personalized socks.

The business launched in 2021 and the website went live just a few months ago. Outside of pop-ups, Bored Rebel is available in a couple of stores in the D.C. area:

  • Highcliffe Clothiers — Middleburg, Virginia
  • Patrick’s Fine Linens and Home Decor — Tyson’s Galleria in Virginia and at The Wharf in D.C.

The products are manufactured in Nicaragua and printed in the U.S. Flax operates the business side of things out of her Haymarket home.

Jessica Kronzer

Jessica Kronzer graduated from James Madison University in May 2021 after studying media and politics. She enjoys covering politics, advocacy and compelling human-interest stories.

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