Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Shoptalk: there there

"Boulder Streets" my fave there there shirt, and one of my favorite cities!

A short while ago I had the pleasure of introducing Oaklandish to some of you, and reminding others of a great company that exist right in their “backyard”. Since then Oaklandish has revamped its website and launched another line called there there which debuted Friday December, 17th. The idea behind there there is simple, bring homegrown love, or as they say at Oaklandish “Local Love & Charm” to cities outside of Oakland. there there has over 100 shirts available from cities all over the country including, Portland, Seattle, Denver, and even the city across the Bay, San Francisco. While at the Oaklandish headquarters I had the pleasure to pose for the newly relaunched Oaklandish site, as speak with Nick (head of Marketing) about there there, here’s what I found out:

Why Start a New Label?

Oaklandish has grown to become an organization that was inconceivable at the start as a wild public art project in 2000. We have seen such an unprecedented tidal wave of local love here in the East Bay, from the effusive praise we get from customers to the almost 100 people we've met who have the Oaklandish tree with roots logo as a REAL tattoo on their bodies. Surely, we thought, this can't be unique to Oakland. Surely, people in other cities are longing for the means to express their own local love, and a channel to help sustain or revitalize their neighborhoods like the Innovators Award has been in Oakland for the last 4 years.

What is the inspiration behind there there?

Oaklandish has been a labor of love, and we've been lucky enough to do some great, interesting, beneficial and fun things over the years, but it's been at a large personal cost to our founders, and we needed a way to make Oaklandish sustainable for the future. Without a way to really grow within Oakland, the idea to scale the concept to new cities was born. We want to be socially, environmentally, and financially sustainable.

What cities are currently represented, what cities might you add in the future?

Our first cities are Seattle, Portland, Eugene, Minneapolis, Denver, Detroit, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Austin. These places were chosen because they either have a reputation as a kind of "second city" (like Oakland to San Francisco) or because one of us has lived there before, or because we know some artists that live there who were willing to do a shirt design for us. We want to add everywhere in the future.

Where did you get the name there there?

The name of the brand, there there, (never capitalized) is from a well known quote by early 20th-century writer Gertrude Stein who wrote in her memoir, Everybodys Autobiography in 1937, "What was the use of my having come from was not natural to have come from there…yes, write about it if I like or anything if I like, but not there...there is no there there.” Of course what she was talking about was that her actual childhood home was no longer there, not that Oakland is terrible, but that's how it's come to be understood. So that's what our name means; we're trying to help create a there, there in every city, even when it's always been there, like Oakland. It doesn't hurt that "there there" is also a reassuring phrase that a mother would say to her baby, for example. "Don't worry," we mean to say, "It's going to be okay, we promise."

So remember no matter what city you’re in there is always a there there. There’s also a there on twitter were you can find Oaklandish and wearetherethere.

photo cred: Kyle Duford

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