Just Add Pants

January 12th, 2011

“Bike Girl.” $34

Modern Mouse is easily the hippest store in Alameda’s Southshore mall, aka “Alameda Towne Centre.” :p It’s got an Etsy feel (many of their designers do have an Etsy store), and lots of stuff you never knew you needed but, once you see it, can’t live without: Fuzzy monster purses by Ghoulie Girls. Repurposed bicycle parts from Alameda’s Reinhardt Designs. Living moss cuff links. And the coolest Ts from The Girl & Rhino, and fiftyseven-thirtythree.

I was particularly taken with fiftyseven-thirtythree’s “Bike Girl,” which made me nostalgic for Hopey from the Hernandez Brother’s “Love and Rockets” comic books.

The label read, “We make all our gear in East Oakland using water based, solvent free inks. No art directors, consultants, or teleconferencing were used in the production process. We hope it makes you look good, feel good, get laid…whatever makes you happy. Cheers.” Clearly these people have my best interests at heart. They are looking out for me. They have my BACK.

5733 had operated out of an online store as well as doing the street fair circuit. I met owner Loretta Nguyen at Alameda’s Webster Street Jam Festival in September 2010 and learned that she had recently opened a brick-and-mortar store in Oakland. And finally, last week, I took a deep breath and left Alameda to check it out.

If you didn’t know they were there, you would walk right past their store. Armed with their address and a map… you’d probably still walk right past their store. They are wedged between a flower stand and Chinese herb store at 4125 Piedmont Ave. 2nd Floor in Oakland, atop a picturesque wooden staircase. Now you know.

Nice rack

Trying on Ts. I may have been flexing a little bit.

You’ll find everything from skate decks to dresses, including lots and lots of Ts and hoodies, with a bargain bin of items with slight printing errors. The store is small but packed with product, much of which bears political slogans advocating such radical objectives as equality and peace. “Love Ain’t the Problem” is inspired by Eddie Colla’s “Just Married,” and supports equal marriage rights for same-sex couples. I bought a hoodie bearing the text “Rage is not revolution,” and wore it proudly in the days following the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others. And one with the stenciled words “If you want to achieve greatness stop asking for permission” was purchased as a gift.

“Just add pants”

If you’re in the Bay Area I encourage you to check out fiftyseven-thirtythree (and Modern Mouse). They’re open Tuesday – Saturday, noon (slackers!) – 6:00pm. Their digits are 510-547-5733, as the cool kids say. They’re also on Facebook. Duh.

Michael Singman-Aste
Postdiluvian Photo

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