.Shop Local: How Oaklandish gives back

Purchasing items from Oaklandish—Oakland’s 20-year-old apparel brand and social experiment in culture-keeping, community-building and promotion of civic pride—will help you give back in ways that are layered, multiple and—in the current moment—vital. 

The brand features signature tees, hoodies and snapbacks printed with a spreading-crown-and-roots oak tree, as well as their already-sold-out branded dominoes and doormats. 

Buying right now from any local business, large or small, helps keep neighbors employed and sends sales taxes into our towns’ coffers, which are unusually depleted due to pandemic-related expenses. Simply shopping locally, even from the most conglomerate stores, is a form of giving back this holiday season. 

Buying from small independent businesses takes your “giving back” a step further: It helps sustain special places that contribute to our region’s unique character. 

While the Oaklandish “empire” now consists of four stores—two Oaklandish shops, in downtown Oakland and the Dimond district, and sister emporiums Bosk (offering streetwear at Bay Street in Emeryville) and Oakland Supply Co. (showcasing American-made goods on the waterfront at Jack London Square)—it is still very much a small, independent business that prominently features the work of Bay Area artists. 

Sales of a huge number of Oaklandish products directly financially benefit key Oakland nonprofits: Alameda County Food Bank, Children’s Fairyland, the Chabot Space and Science Center, Oakland Feather River Camp, the Oakland Museum of California, the Oakland Zoo and others. Oaklandish also offers free design services and marketing support to smaller grassroots organizations that are, in Oaklandish CEO Angela Tsay’s words, “doing the work of uplifting Oakland.” Giving gifts from Oaklandish supports an ecosystem of local institutions that serve our community.

Kymberly Miller, executive director of longtime Oaklandish collaborator Children’s Fairyland, sums up Oaklandish’s appeal the following way. “Oaklandish is Oakland in high relief,” she says. “Angela is deep in the weeds of w

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hat’s going on here. She sees all the things and people and artists and trends that are truly of this place. What Oaklandish creates is authentic. People embrace that.”

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