Bethany resident Bob Ternahan is an American History major, not a fashion designer — but he’s come out with some distinctive designs for the “Ahan” clothing label nonetheless.
“I studied history for my pride in this country — to understand how we came to where we are now,” Ternahan said. “We’re such a young country, and it’s incredible how far we’ve advanced in such a short time.”
But for Ternahan, working to find enjoyment in life might be just as important as pondering the relative benefits of hemispherism versus globalism.
“The way I look at it — sometimes, it seems like people are uptight because they’re moving too fast,” he mused. “They don’t pay attention to what’s going on around them, never stop long enough to live life, pick up random conversations or just say hello to people they don’t necessarily know.”
After college, he opted to return to the Breakers surf shop in Bethany Beach. “We all grew up in this surf culture, surrounded by that great feeling,” Ternahan pointed out. “That’s the end-all, for us — good company, and maintaining that beach lifestyle.”
And he turned back toward more artistic pursuits, drawing on art classes he’d taken as electives throughout high school (Worcester Prep) and college (University of Delaware).
A cousin studying at the University of South Dakota set him up with some fellows from the art department, and he teamed up with Ryan O’Malley.
“I send him what I think looks cool, he runs it through Adobe Photoshop or Photo Illustrator and makes it look better,” Ternahan laughed. “Makes it crisp.”
Together with O’Malley and a third artist, Larry White, Ternahan has assembled the premiere selection of Ahan designs.
He said they’d contracted Red Sun (West Ocean City, Md.) to silkscreen the T-shirts, and commended them on a job well done. “And they’re open to new ideas, let us experiment a little,” he added. The Ahan art is sometimes centered, but other designs spread from shoulder to chest, or around the side of shirts at waist level.
For now, the clothing is simple, elementally raw, but Ternahan anticipated some possible embroidery in coming seasons — perhaps sweatshirts or beanies in the fall.
Until then, he’s been sowing seeds among friends in a pair of East Coast bands — Ocean City, Md. outfit Ever Since Radio, and Driving East, out of the Washington, D.C. area.
He said they’d received a tremendous boost from the D.C. area, and it was gratifying to see somany kids at concerts wearing Ahan gear. “Music is definitely part of our culture, in the surf industry,” he noted. “There’s kind of a mutual feed.”
On the board-sports front, Ternahan keeps local riders supplied with plenty of fresh T’s — he noted Jake Eaton, Mason and Madison Dyer, especially. “They’re kind of like working reps,” he pointed out.
Ternahan’s a skimboarder and skateboarder himself, perhaps influenced by his father, or maybe his uncle’s competitiveness as a pro skimmer. He remembered glory days growing up in Dewey Beach, and later after moving to Bethany, and said he felt humbled by the opportunity to carry that background.
And he noted his younger brother, Alex as an up-and-coming surfer, and his even younger brother, Andrew, as a fellow skimmer — and suspecting they might wind up representing Ahan as competitors themselves someday.
Until then, they’ll likely be found around Breakers somewhere, along with Ternahan’s new line of clothing.
It’s available at Breakers in downtown Bethany Beach (539-3696), and also at Gossamer Hawk in downtown Rehoboth Beach (227-1227). Or, for more information, visit the Web site, www.ahanclothing.com.