Mercedes O'Bannion will admit her first name's a little funny for a girl whose mother collects bicycle knickknacks. Her grandfather actually collected Mercedes Benzes, but Mercedes' insists her mother named her after the small town of Mercedes, Texas.
She grew up in Poth (another small Texas town), watching VHS tapes of her uncle competing in tractor pulls. And that's when the John Deere obsession began. Her early tractor memories are still sprinkled throughout her house long after moving to Phoenix and attending ASU for Costume Design.
The neon John Deere clock lights up yellow, then green as she rearranges her collection of John Deere T-Shirts, pens, patches, hats, coasters, banks and trashcans.
On regular trips to craft and clothing stores, Mercedes says she'll find John Deere knickknacks and can't resist bringing them along to the register. Her impulse buys combined with endless John Deere gifts from friends and family are starting to add up, so she does her best to scatter them around her house in Chandler.
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Her collection and fashion training collided this past year when she pulled together a "Fashionable Farmwear" line for a design class. She laughs while telling the story of presenting in front of her class donning a John Deere trucker hat, plaid shirt and rolled jeans with heels.
"I like the culture and there's something about the green and yellow that I like," Mercedes says. "But I think, more than anything, these things bring me home."
We're on the hunt! If you have an unusual collection or know someone who does, leave the info in the comments section ...