Remember show and tell time, in elementary school? Yeah, neither do I. It seems a relic of a more innocent era, or a source of mild humor for Dennis the Menace cartoons: essentially, a touchstone of apple-pie Americana that no longer exists. But you know what does exist in the here and now? Show and Tell, in downtown Oakland, but updated for the hip, locally-minded grown-up!
Show and Tell is the result of a decade of dreaming on the part of owners Nichole Payton and Alyah Baker, who met as retail vets working at The Gap. I got to chat with Alyah in between her friendly conversations with shoppers. She told me that as a girl, she had two dreams: to run her own store, and to be a dancer. Turns out dreams do come true (except for me: why am I still not at Hogwarts?) because not only did she and Nichole open up Show and Tell three years ago, she has also freelanced for multiple dance troupes, including the Oakland Ballet!
Like many other rad Oakland spots lately, the space is also a pseudo-gallery for local art. The current exhibit, Boi/Butch, highlights the full spectrum of interpretations of masculinity. But hurry! The show only runs through August 31st, this Sunday.
Speaking of interpretations of masculinity, bow tie lovers take note:
However you identify, you can find a bow tie to love here. Disco fabulous? Check. Pinterest-approved tweeness? Yup. Classic plaid? Nothing basic about that! You, whoever you are, do you.
Looking for a new clutch? In a spectrum of primary colors, these ones (by Oakland-based clothing and accessories company Sholan) fit the bill for local and fashionable:
As someone who’s always lugging around a few books, a camera, a sketchbook, a couple of lipsticks (in case I change my mind) and a scarf in case that marine layer acts up: well, as much as I like those cloth clutches, I need something a little more powerful. Which is why this roomy satchel, also by Sholan, caught my eye:
Sholan embodies doing good, doing fierce, and of course, doing local. But it’s local with a twist: the designers partnered with a women-run collective of fabric-makers in Uganda. So it’s part Oakland-run, part Ugandan, but 100% women wearing their voices. I dig their unisex ties:
Ok, so there’s plenty of stylish attire to make you feel good about your choices and impact on the world. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t also straight-up fun too:
I’d wear those in a hummingbird’s heartbeat. Same for these irreverent, cheeky pieces:
Scope more of Wild Fancy Designs’ work here: it runs the gamut from out and proud (“YES Homo,” “Liberation” ) to hilarious (I’m particularly fond of that “DTF” one.)
And going from pop-art to earth-mama chic, check out this line from Holly Bobisuthi:
Raw, hewn-from-the-earth, and worthy of any witch-wannabe. But there’s more than jewelry at Show and Tell: they have a healthy selection of clothes and hats for men, about a dozen lines for women, and some great tanks for when you’re in a punk-y mood:
These ones are from Mary Weather (check out my colleague Gina’s article with more info about this brand-new store from a few weeks back) The prints are fun and have a definite point of view, the fabric is as soft as a Mexican hairless cat, and they drape over your torso like a dream.
So stop by Show and Tell soon! There are some trunk shows coming up in September, so keep your ears to the ground (or just like their Facebook page to get updates and announcements, if you’re one of those modern, social-media types.) And once you’ve bought some cool, local duds and jewelry, you’ll need some sort of venue to show them off to the world! Looks like it might be time to bring back Show and Tell time…