You may have noticed that the designs of Oaklandish have become our city’s de facto branding scheme. Chinwe Okona, a new member of the store’s civic engagement team, believes the public here in Oakland would not be so happy to rep their logo if not for the “substantial, meaningful reinvestment in the city” that logo signifies. “We can put Oakland in the name because when you support Oaklandish you are supporting the City,” she says.
Okona also believes the Dimond store is “better located to welcome families and engage with Oakland that way.” Nestled amongst Farmer Joe’s Marketplace, La Farine Bakery, Romano Pizza, Paws & Claws and the Public Library, there’s more parking and residential services. “The Dimond is an intimate community,” Okona reports, having met with some neighborhood and merchant alliances. “We are excited to be a part of that collaboration.”
Ruth Villasenor, a twelve-year resident and business owner in the Dimond (Paws & Claws) was one of many who have lots of enthusiasm: “When I wear Oaklandish clothing I feel proud of living in Oakland and representing! The T-shirt designs reflect our community in a hip and artistic way…I know we’ve been dreaming of more retail in the [Dimond] district,” she said in an email. “And how amazing to have retail that reflects our values of supporting independent businesses and giving back to the community.”
The Dimond store will also participate in the community and non-profit outreach efforts. There is the Nonprofit of the Month, in which Oaklandish showcases a local organization inside the store, usually in the form of some participatory exhibition, and contributes ten percent of that day’s profits to the organization. Selected nonprofits have included Food Shift, which works to reduce food waste, Today’s Future Sound, a youth music and media production project, and California Pit Bull Rescue, which is… what it sounds like. They have also given Innovator Awards to Art Murmur, Oakland Underground Film Festival and (full disclosure) Oakland Local. These awards are “more than just checks,” they “work to provide a full year of support. Because we [at Oaklandish] know what kind of struggles innovators face in the beginning,” says Okona.
IF YOU GO:
Oaklandish in the Dimond, 3419 Fruitvale Avenue