Boutique Peek: Oaklandish
Oakland's popular t-shirt company gets a permanent home downtown.
What began a decade ago as a few people selling Oakland pride t-shirts out of a bus at farmers markets has evolved into a classy downtown Oakland storefront and an ever-expanding local love enterprise. Oaklandish combines the words Oakland and outlandish, because “Everyone in the East Bay is a little outlandish, a little crazy, and a little wild,” says Marketing Director Nick Mueller. The comfortable t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts are uniquely designed by local artists and individually screen printed in a tiny factory in the back of the new wood-and-brick shop.
Designs such as the iconic Oakland tree or the Bay Bridge view, are printed on mostly American Apparel garments with long-lasting ink. The store also carries other local treasures, like handmade jewelry and feathered hair accessories.
Mueller and Executive Director Angela Tsay are taking their local pride to national proportions with There There, a brand that brings city pride to 30 other metropolitan areas, including Cleveland, Detroit, and Atlanta. Designs for other cities are made at Oaklandish and sold in the store and online.
Feel-good philosophy: Oaklandish donates 10 percent of its sales to various nonprofits each year. This year, the company named Art Murmur, Oakland Local, My Yute Soccer, and Youth Radio among the recipients of the annual Innovators of Oakland Awards. Additionally, some designs benefit certain causes, like the logo of Children’s Fairyland at Lake Merritt.
Who you’ll see here: Centrally located on Broadway in downtown Oakland, the store’s clientele represents the cultural diversity of the city. Since the grand opening on July 1, prominent Oaklanders like Mayor Jean Quan and Oakland A’s super fan “Krazy George” have made appearances.
What you can expect to find: Mens, womens, and childrens t-shirts hand screen printed with a variety of designs covering local geography and culture. The MacArthur Maze printed on soft gray cotton is an understated way to express your Bay Area pride. On the other hand, the 32-foot-tall Dan Fontes giraffe mural painted beneath the 580 freeway at Harrison Street in Oakland can be yours on an attention-grabbing bright yellow v-neck. For accessories, one necklace pendant by a local artist houses a tiny vintage map of Oakland cut into the shape of a heart.
Mark your calendars: The Oaklandish “Rig” rolls up to the Grand Lake farmers market in Oakland every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the store participates in Art Murmur every first Friday of the month. Keep up with other store events and community happenings at oaklandish.com.
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