When street meets sweet
An artist and a baker partner on a T-shirt
Remember when Taco Bell and Forever 21 released hot sauce bodysuits? It was … a moment.
It’s not the first instance of combining bread with threads, or the weirdest. (See: Arby’s Meat Sweats.) The crossover is just one example of a current trend in which fashion brands such as KITH team up with food companies such as Coca-Cola to sell limited edition clothing, and it isn’t just exclusive to big-time brands.
Tyler Wichmann, founder of local streetwear brand Timeless Thrills, frequently finds himself at the intersection of food and fashion. Last year, he dropped a limited run of Los Jarritos shirts, and he currently has a long-term collaboration with Marie’s Donuts in Land Park.
For him, nostalgia is one of the driving forces behind the line of branded T-shirts, hoodies, hats and tote bags. Having frequented the shop since his youth, Wichmann regards Marie’s as a Sacramento staple.
“In high school, you were riding your bike over there, and once you could eventually drive, that’s when you were going over there at 1 or 2 in the morning to get the doughnuts fresh out of the oil,” he says.
In some ways, Marie’s Donuts fueled the creation of Timeless Thrills too.
“There were so many sleepless nights in the beginning of running the brand and getting line sheets in and approving orders and shipping out orders, doing this all out of our house,” Wichmann recalls. “There were many times when I’d leave the house at 2, 3 in the morning and go get doughnuts and doughnut holes.”
Over the years, as Wichmann got to know the owners better, he was surprised to discover they didn’t sell merch.
“A lot of people were asking: ’Do you have shirts?’ We never made them until Tyler came,” explains Sandy Hong, co-owner of Marie’s.
Wichmann designed some mock-ups and showed them to Hong and co-owner Mang Te. They liked what they saw, and a partnership was formed. So what is it about repping a restaurant that appeals to people?
“I think they just want to buy the shirts for the memories,” Hong says.
“Brand loyalty,” says Wichmann. “That’s a very real thing, and people have that for certain products or restaurants or food brands.”
He also believes there’s a difference between wearing McDonald’s or Coke, versus a local business.
“Those are such household names, and you get so used to seeing them on a day-to-day basis that it becomes kind of boring,” he says. “I think [Marie’s] stands out because the only time you’re seeing that Marie’s Donuts logo is when you go to the doughnut shop and it’s sitting there, painted on the building. That’s never been seen by anyone outside of that.”
Wichmann has also created merch to promote a beer he made with Fountainhead Brewery, called “Off the Clock,” which he’s planning to release in stores later this year. At this rate, it’s only a matter of time before he starts to create clothing entirely out of food.
But seriously: What food would Wichmann use to design a fit?
“I would wear Bacon & Butter’s french toast, just so that at any point I could tear a piece off and eat it,” Wichmann says. “The outfit may not last the entire day, but I would at least start the morning with it on.”