Beginning in January, Oakland Athletic League (OAL) is partnering with Dope Only Marketing, the creator of “Oakland, USA” t-shirts and sweatshirts, as seen worn by Daveed Diggs in the movie Blindspotting. “Oakland, USA” sweatshirts are currently sold at Oaklandish. Dope Only will be selling two limited edition hoodies, “Public School Kid” and “OAL: Since 1920 Only 100 hoodies of each sweatshirts will be sold with 50% of the funds raised going to the OAL, and the other half going to administrative and production costs. OAL is funded by the Oakland Unified School District general fund.
“The OAL Leadership is committed to celebrating the rich history and traditions that have contributed to much success in Oakland,” said Francisco Navarro, OAL Commissioner, in a press release about the partnership. “In addition, the OAL is actively connecting with the community for partnerships that will provide additional resources and opportunities for the students in Oakland to thrive.”
Launched in 1920, OAL became part of Oakland’s California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) in the secondary schools in 1940. CIF determines the guidelines for all high schools competitive sports statewide. Each district is identified as a “section.” The OAL, referred to as “the Oakland section,” provides financial and administrative support to competitive athletic programs in Oakland’s schools. The funds through CIF support the teams travel to games and hold sporting events. CIF programs are in 10 charter and OUSD schools including Castlemont, Fremont and McClymonds, to name a few.
Dope Only founder Rod Campbell explained this is the first phase in plans to engage with students in marketing and design. Campbell, a alumni of Skyline High, said that he was proud to have been educated in the public schools of Oakland and wanted to create something that displays pride in public education. The hoodie fundraiser is the seed money for each school to support the next phase will be to create a hoodie for each school.
“We plan to have the young people learn the business of merch, the marketing of it, how to identify who is going to wear a particular item and the creative side completely,” Campbell told Oakland Voices.
Oakland-based clothing designer and marketing firm Dope Only will begin teaching students how to design, market, and sell their hoodies to represent their schools. “This thing that I love, putting images on shirts, I want that to translate to the schools. I want [young] people to learn early,” Campbell said. He believes that young people learning what they find passionate early leads to greater success and has long lasting results. “I want to give [young] people something that they could fall in love with and take it somewhere.”
The limited edition “Public School Kid” and “OAL since 1920” sweatshirts, costing $100 each are available for sale on Dope Only Marketing until they are sold out. The design and entrepreneurship program for high school students is currently in the planning stages and plans to launch in April this year.