Freenote is taking The Cloth Shop up to Northern California this week to host an event with our retail partner Standard & Strange. Join us at their Oakland shop this Friday, June 5th from 6-9pm as we showcase our Summer ’15 collection, introduce the Rios denim fit & sip on cocktails from Art in the Age.
We sat down with Standard & Strange founders Jeremy and Neil to bring you a little background about the shop and the gentlemen who run it:
1. What is the story behind the name Standard & Strange?
Our space is in an alley that was originally the municipal stables for Oakland, which then fell into disrepair after horses were retired from use. After that, it was storage lockers up until around 5 years ago when the first businesses started to open. Because of this story of reuse/rebirth, we choose the name from a favorite passage in Jane Jacob’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities: "Cities, however, are the natural homes of supermarkets and standard movie houses plus delicatessens, Viennese bakeries, foreign groceries, art movies, and so on, all of which can be found co-existing, the standard with the strange, the large with the small."
2. You are known for your impeccably curated merchandize. How do you select the brands you carry?
We’ve got a big dartboard in the office, with all the brands showing at Capsule, Liberty, and MAN on it, and we throw darts until our buying budgets is done. In reality, our first round of brands we had were all from friends or folks that they referred in. After that, we started combing menswear blogs for brands that fit our criteria (good value, made in the USA or EU or Japan, and good people behind them). We’ll still pick up a brand here and there at a show, but that’s very rare.
3. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?
Jeremy: Mine is kind of obvious. Ralph Lauren, but not so much just for being a successful businessman, rather for the way he took all these elements from wildly different sartorial themes, tossed them together, and sold those dreams right back to us. Italian suiting mixed with Ivy with some wild west smashed in there? Why not? I’ve got a book of all his ad campaigns, and there’s stuff in there that you could pull out now, and sell as being some wild Japanese designer.
Neil: For artistic influence - the work of photographer Richard Misrach, especially his Desert Cantos series. He started shooting the series in 1979, going out to the desert with his 8x10 camera. He covers a lot of subjects over the years, depicting the desert as this complex, serene and macabrely tragic place.
4. Song on repeat in your store?
We go through a ton of music - one of our favorites are these mixes by a friend of ours down in LA: https://www.mixcloud.com/kingshade/
5. Best place to grab a drink in Oakland?
Man. That’s hard. We go to Pizzaiolo a lot because it’s right there, has a great patio, and they serve our favorite cocktail, the Leatherneck. It’s a pretty simple cocktail - off the top of my head it’s 1:1 of cask-strength bourbon and Barolo Chinato with a hit of orange bitters. Barring that, we keep a rotating stash of whiskey under the counter, making us a great place to get a splash of whiskey with your new jeans.