You could say Jaime Levine has had a fickle relationship with fashion. The Southern California native is a two-time fashion school drop-out (first from Parsons, then from FIDM), as she never quite felt like it was the right fit. But even if she had somewhat contentious feelings about the industry, Levine’s passion for design and desire for creative pursuits never waivered. Creating her own line of clothes and bags on Etsy led her into the craft fair circuit, and she was tremendously inspired by regularly being in the presence of fellow independent makers.
Eventually, Levine’s appreciation of the independent design community manifested itself in the form of a shop. Dandelion Post opened in the popular Temescal neighborhood in Oakland in 2015 and it allowed her to shine a light on up-and-coming and socially conscious brands creating clothing and accessories that are as cool and free-spirited as the city itself. Recently, we caught up with Jaime to learn a bit more about how her business was born and what she loves most about the place she calls home.
How did the concept for the store come about?
The concept started to truly develop when I was doing the Renegade Craft Fairs in 2009-ish. There were so many creative people out there selling really cool things. I knew then that I wanted a shop that included those types of smaller brands alongside better-known ones. What’s interesting is that now those independent makers are becoming just as recognized because social media has made it possible to expand beyond the craft fair.
Is there a story behind the name?
My best friend and I were brainstorming on names. Somehow it came about that I was envisioning yellow and warmth. The next day she texted me and said "what about dandelion?” I liked it because dandelions are familiar and they’re weeds, but still very pretty. I added “Post" because I felt like it needed something more.
I knew then that I wanted a shop that included...smaller brands alongside better-known ones.
What's your earliest memory of being interested in clothes?
I don’t have a specific memory. I’ve had an interest in clothes most of my life, which probably stems from my mom and grandmother. My grandmother was a great seamstress, something she passed on to my mom, who made a lot of my clothes when I was young. It turned into something we would do together, going to the fabric store and picking up fabric.
What do you love about living and working in Oakland?
I love the diversity, the good food, and the close proximity to nature. I also really love not having to commute to work anymore. Being able to walk to work has greatly increased my quality of life. I actually feel like I’m a part of this community now. Plus, the shop owners in this community are so supportive of one another.
Tell us how you'd recommend a visitor spend a full day in Oakland.
I would probably start the morning off with a coffee and treat from Arizmendi Bakery then head up to Joaquin Miller Park for a hike with a view. Then I’d walk, browse, and shop one of our neighborhoods. I’m partial to Temescal, of course. We have great beer and food options for lunch, but picnicking by the lake is also fun. One of my favorite restaurants for dinner is Michel Bistro, followed by some live music or a movie at Grand Lake Theatre.
Fill in the blanks.
My never fail outfit consists of _________.
Black skinny jeans, a sweater, and boots when it’s cold. Levis, a t-shirt (right now my favorite is a tie dye one from Back Beat Rags), and sandals when it’s warmer.
My fashion philosophy is _________.
To be comfortable wearing what you like to wear, and not to worry about what the trends are. I think how something you wear makes you feel can be more important than how it looks.
A woman can never have enough __________.
Puppies or Chapstick.