What the world needs is a little more Tact.

10 Dec

The first time I wore a Tact t-shirt (super-soft brown cotton, long-sleeved, and featuring an iconic old-school camera etched on the front, above the brand’s signature), I noticed someone staring at my chest in the Dunkin Doughnuts line on Roosevelt (not terribly GoLO of me, I know, but that was before I discovered Edgewood Bakery in Murray Hill makes delicious, award-winning donuts . . .). Finally, the guy tapped my shoulder and said, “What’s that supposed to mean?”

Honestly, there was no meaning. I’d bought the shirt at the Riverside Arts Market a couple of weekends before because I thought it was cool. But then I thought a minute, and finally said, “Well, there isn’t enough of it these days, is there?” “Tact?” he replied, then nodded sagely. We shared a smile and went our separate ways.

The dictionary will tell you that Tact means:

1) a keen sense of what to say or do to avoid giving offense; skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations.

2) a keen sense of what is appropriate, tasteful; discrimination.

Draper Studio Store. credit: rummagevintageandhandmade.blogspot.com

But here in Riverside, locals know Tact refers to the terrific new store housed next to Jim Draper’s studio in Park & King’s historic Whiteway Corner. As I understand it, Draper (who’s one of the city’s best-known and most successful artists) saw something special in the soft t-shirts and clever screen-printed graphics that the duo behind Tact were displaying at RAM. He offered them space in his new Draper Studio Store, which is a cooperative effort the artist started to provide quality handmade products and artwork that are produced locally and affordable to the everyday consumer.

I've got this one, too!

The couple happily agreed, and the result is a beautiful smooth-walled space at 1508 King Street that showcases the team’s latest whimsical/edgy designs–not only on t-shirts, but also on tote bags, pet clothing and more. (The space also happens to feature some pretty terrific Draper originals on its walls, as well as Burro Bags and a variety of interesting prints, artwork and accessories.)

Tact’s mantra is, “Smart graphics in tasty colors and clean styles.”  Tact is a small operation, and they print in limited runs. Fans who monitor the latest design releases on Facebook scoop up the short-runs, which may mean your size isn’t always available. But isn’t that a good thing? Sure, Target has some cool graphic t-shirts, too , but those are less an expression of your taste than what someone at Target’s headquarters in Minneapolis thought you and 500,000 other people might find interesting.

The GoLO team always advocates stepping Out of The Box–and not just because supporting your local entrepreneurs and businesses helps keep our urban core neighborhoods vibrant. The reality is that you just might find yourself at a great hipster party sporting the same shirt as five other folks, and belatedly wishing you’d had a little more. . . Tact.
Here we Go (LO),
Jean in Avondale

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