Friday, May 16, 2008

Fashion Focus Friday: fiftyseven-thirtythree

You may remember fiftyseven-thirtythree from T-Shirt week last week. We were so taken with their awesome hoodie and tee designs that we decided to pick this design duo's collective brain and learn more about this nifty local line. 

FF: Tell us a bit about yourself and your clothing line and how it all got started.

57-33: My name is James Dawson. My girlfriend Loretta Nguyen and myself started fiftyseven-thirty three about 11 months ago. We make tees and hoodies in Oakland. We use all American made sweat shop free apparel. We screenprint using water based/solvent free inks and stencil using non-toxic paints. All our production is done by us in The City of Oakland. Some of the work is done in our live/work in East Oakland, the rest is down at the Hieroglyphics warehouse. I know the guys at Hiero from doing photography. If you want an Indie role model, check out Hiero- they went Indie back before it was the norm. I made my living as a photographer until we started fiftyseven-thirtythree. I've photographed LOTS of people: The Killers, Arcade Fire. I even photographed The Backstreet Boys once.

FF: When you're not designing awesome tees and clothes, what do you do?

57-33: Mostly I do all the other stuff that comes with running this company. Loretta and I do most of it ourselves. Designing is such a small portion of it. There's ordering, marketing, mailing, deliveries, bookkeeping, inventory, web stuff... I could go on and on, but it's sufficient to day there are a LOT of little things to do. I don't have much time for much else. Occasionally I'll watch a video. I'll pick one movie and watch it in sections over and over again for like a month. I usuall just fall asleep after about 15 minutes. I like Bogie movies and Spalding Gray. Currently I'm watching Glengary Glen Ross. I'm a little addicted to, too.

FF: When did you start designing your own clothes?

57-33: When I was a teenager I used to make my own stuff. I'd make stenciled shirts for my girlfriend just for fun. I just cut paper stencils and spray painted wife beaters. I did one of President Gerald Ford that I still like. About a year ago I decided to teach myself how to screenprint. That's when it all started.

FF: Who inspires you and who are your favorite designers?

57-33: I get inspired by odd random things: a poster I see on a telephone pole or something someone said to me years ago. I don't go shopping very much, so I'm not even sure who's out there or what they're doing. A lot of it comes from music or the news. I spend a lot of time listening to things because it's something I can do while I work.

FF: What are your favorite local shops?

57-33: Like I said, I don't really shop that much. Most of the stores I know because they carry our stuff and they're all awesome!! Rag Co-op, Pandora's Trunk, Paragraph, Verse, The Giant Peach, Anonymous Venice, Fabric8, Black and Brown, AsianICandy, Fawn, Pro Arts Gallery, and Still Life.

FF: What advice would you give to other Indie artists?

57-33: Don't be lazy. You don't have to know what you're doing but you do have to work hard. Believe in yourself and stick around long enough and you'll get somewhere.

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