I mean that less in the sense of this October heat our Indian summers provide us and more in the sense of the general spirit felt. They found gold here. And from then on it’s as if this was a place one could always find gold in. “Staying true to yourself,” I told a customer when she asked what True means. I was only a couple of days into the job and unsure if that was actually the right answer. But, given the shop’s 21 year-run in a city being gutted of everything true to it, whether or not that was the intended meaning,
it is a meaning so rightfully earned.
The city not being what it was is a song we all sing in tandem. For those that used to be young and those that currently are, the shop retains a rare familiar feeling. There was gold out here and the natives could tell you just how dug up and excavated the city feels as a result. I could tell you where to find some if I wanted to, though. When I say it’s hot out, I mean in the sense that there’s a fire under so many of us. I believe every action we take echoes through time and there’s a certain do-it-yourself spirit out here that hums through every body. It’s damn near a prerequisite to have a hustle not unlike those pans in the river sifting through rocks, is all I’m saying. And the city is scattered with creatives: all with the common goal of making something out of nothing.
Gold doesn’t rust nor does it tarnish. And there are certain characteristics of where we live that, even among this rapid change, just can’t be shaken. I think about the ground we walk on and who populated it. It was Too $hort selling cassettes out of his trunk in the 80’s because he wanted to do it himself. It was Allen Ginsberg howling from his typewriter in the 50’s, daring to think for himself. It was Harvey Milk daring to be himself in the 70’s and Tupac Shakur daring to risk himself, just him against the world, in the 90’s. It was James Baldwin touching down to meet with Huey Newton in the 60’s, daring to free themselves while just a few neighborhoods over, artists like Janis Joplin and Jerry Garcia dared to express themselves. Why so much gold here of all places? That I don’t know. But I do know I see a certain glow in the generation walking that same ground today.
True birthed a culture in 1996.
Streetwear didn’t exist in the Haight until then. We just took matters into our own hands, per tradition I guess. Making something where there was nothing, today the neighborhood is home to a prominent streetwear scene and a handful of shops both national and international that got their start on True shelves. As any young knucklehead that wants to make something for himself and of himself would feel, I am honored to play a role in this. While navigating, documenting, and taking part in the creative scene, I often find myself searching for gold. And the shop is proof that there’s still some scattered about if you’re looking for it. Stay true to yourself.
That’s an idea that just won’t tarnish.
My name’s T and I’ll be blogging for True from now on, stay tuned!