Meet The Clothing Brand That Introduces You To ‘The Real Oakland’

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Established in the summer of 2011, The Real Oakland was created out of a song recorded by Jhamel, the mastermind behind the clothing line. It was intended to be merchandise for the record, but as the popularity of the brand’s original design grew, he decided to turn it into a clothing line that symbolized pride and culture within the urban communities of Oakland, California, the city he called home.

Well, that’s not where the story ends. It’s been six years since this clothing line’s debut and it certainly has attained a plethora of accomplishments along the way. Using The Real Oakland, Jhamel has managed to bridge the gap between unity and his city one article of clothing at a time.

In a recent interview, Jhamel and BB Media Regional CEO/Managing Editor Kaitlynn Hood had an opportunity to discuss how he’s using The Real Oakland as a form of protest, what he hopes to teach the next generation with his journey, and much more. Continue reading for the in-depth discussion.

Did you always want to have your own clothing brand?

Honestly, before creating The Real Oakland I had no intentions of creating a clothing brand. At the time I could not conceive anything outside of making music and trying to grow that platform, but once it became something people really gravitated to music eventually slowly took a backseat.

Fashion is often used to make a statement or convey a certain feeling without even having to utter a word. For instance, a leather jacket is used to add edginess to an ensemble while a nice bodysuit or white tee offers simplicity. What message does your brand communicate?

The message we are administering to the consumer is simply “culture perseveration”. Our items are visual protests, a visual voice for the voiceless. Our goal is to make items that speak loudly without vocally saying anything.

What is the creative process like when thinking of a new design?

The ironic thing about our designs is that in five years of running The Real Oakland, although I’m a graphic designer myself, I have only actually designed one of our items myself. I usually develop ideas and send them to extremely talented people like Ahja Lonyae and Hellen Black to bring my vision to life in a way I know I wouldn’t be able to do by my lonesome. Usually I just explain my vision, we go over ways to make it stand out and convey the message I want to send, and then they go to work on it. They are so patient with me because I am truly never satisfied. I always want things to be better.

When people bring up The Real Oakland, the boldness and authenticity factors that help make up the brand are always mentioned. The brand even assisted in bringing the community back together as one. How does it feel to have created a movement that powerful?

It took a few years before the impact of what I created set in. Originally I was just making shirts to make money, but once I saw what The Real Oakland represented and meant to so many people of different shades and creeds it allowed me to analyze my influence and think of ways I can grow that influence. I want to inspire the children that positivity is healthy for you and you don’t have to be someone you are not to be effective in your community.

How can we keep up with everything The Real Oakland?

Social media is the best way to keep up with us. Our Instagram is @RealOakland & our Facebook is

What can we expect from The Real Oakland in 2017?

We have just acquired a printing facility to print our items in house which will allow us to mass produce as many items as needed to fill orders. We will also be expanding beyond t-shirts to bring some new items to the marketplace. Finally, we will  be hosting our 2nd annual prom project which we will be sponsoring 6 students with GPA’s of 3.0 & above.
Interested in supporting this local business? View and purchase The Real Oakland’s collection in its entirety at the following link:

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