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A Splash of Excitement & Adventure Shawn York’s newest T-shirt line is out!

sean_1Square Miles Apparel created by Shawn "New" York has been turning heads for four years now. If you haven't been sporting the brand, you have surely seen it around – around here, but also around the world! With a global following, his iconic T-shirts are spreading the message of how special St. Maarten is in a personal way.

A visit to the 37 Square Miles facebook page reveals photos of folk wearing the shirts in front of the Great Pyramids, in Dubai, in NYC, in Florida and the South Pacific, to name a few. Browse the many posts and video uploads while you are there. You'll see a tireless effort at positive promotion – a campaign being run single-handedly by the young designer, who should be made an honorary ambassador for the island.

Last winter, he unveiled a glamorous jewel-studded version of the original design which upped his collateral in the fashion scene. But he didn't stop there.

Now, York's latest design has hit the stores: he has unleashed the "SPLASH EDITION" of his T-shirts – another unique style of fashion – sure to become an even bigger hit!

While on summer holiday from university in Holland, York wasted no time getting the word out about the new designs. He arranged photo shoots to the most remote spots across the island – in his own words; "exotic locations that you won't believe are in St. Maarten/St. Martin."

York's love for his homeland is evident in his photographic choices. His models sported the shirt in places with beautiful backdrops. At each locale, he also took landscape and seascape shots to draw attention to the gorgeous locations, such as Plage de Amoureux, Petites Cayes and the Anse Marcel hiking trail. "These pictures showcase what a marvellous and miraculous place we live in."

The photographer and designer of the shirts, Shawn, aka Mr. New York, told WEEKender he aimed to capture photographs that highlight the island's beauty. "Some of the locations are so remote even locals might not be familiar with them." He explored areas normally passed by, followed maps, photographs and his curiosity.

During this journey of discovery, Shawn encountered natural pools both on the Dutch and French side, isolated beaches in private corners: "Scenery that maybe you only come across on postcards or tourist magazines. The caves at Cupecoy, the colour reefs, cactuses growing at the edge of cliffs; it's captivating," he shared.

"Exploring is fun; you see so many wonderful sights. Furthermore, using the island's map to navigate, you get more familiar with the geography. You can also learn some of the history of St. Maarten/St. Martin at the forts and hiking trails. You encounter other hikers and nature enthusiasts and see some of the many reasons that tourists travel here. Not forgetting exploring is a great workout – much more fun than walking on a treadmill."

York also enjoys participating in the various activities the island has to offer. He loves the water sports, snorkelling, hiking. He says, "St. Maarten has beautiful scenery that's been overlooked. But it's there and you just have to be willing to go out and find it."

Shawn encourages people to explore the island more. "Don't just settle for going to the same beaches, try out new beaches every once in a while. Enjoy the fresh air and get some selfies that would make your friends jealous. Take advantage of your surroundings."

So why does he put so much emphasis on 37 Square Miles? He says, "The phrase shows that although we are an island that's divided in two, we are really one whole. These aren't just numbers and measurements. It's a powerful phrase that resonates in the hearts of locals."

The concept was born out of a sense of missing home. "After studying abroad for a number of years, lots of students experience homesickness, wanting to represent where you're from while you're in your new surroundings. These feelings and emotions sparked the idea to create these T-shirts. Having something that represents "home" while you're away; carrying a little piece of home with you; sporting it proudly and explaining to people that are not familiar with this Caribbean island what's so special about it." This was the inspiration the pushed Shawn to create these shirts back in 2010. Four years later, he's still at it releasing new styles of the beloved phrase.

Photos are uploaded every day and can be viewed at www.facebook.com/37squaremiles and the 37squaremiles page on Instagram. Photos display various locations on the island.

The New Splash edition T-shirts are available at Upholstery World, Bush Road #53 Cul-De-Sac, St. Maarten, Dutch West Indies. Call (721) 556-1527. The T-shirts are also available at selected Shipwreck stores (Philipsburg and the airport).

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