As I write this, Apple is putting on WWDC, their developer’s conference in San Francisco. This has become a huge, annual tradition that attracts many thousands of brilliant people to a city that is already teeming with many brilliant natives. I try to make the journey every year, in part because it’s a fun time to socialize with old friends, but also because it’s an unparalleled opportunity to meet new people who inevitably change the course of Red Sweater’s progress for the better.
I can recall the occasion many years ago when I met the guys from Buy Olympia, Pat and Aaron, who impressed me with their story of running a full-fledged online store dedicated to highlighting artists’ work, while also developing an impressive array of Mac software for mailing and shipping. It must have been five or more years ago that I met them and they graciously offered to sell a shirt for Red Sweater if I ever wanted to do so.
I can also recall the first occasion I had to appreciate Susie Ghahremani’s art, which was unrelated to WWDC but also took place in San Francisco. It must have been around 2002 when I came across a delightful shirt in a shop called Otsu. I wore that shirt proudly and only realized years later that I could track down the designer and buy many of her other shirts as well. If you’ve ever met me in person, or seen a photograph of me, there’s a good chance I was wearing one of Susie’s shirts.
As luck would have it, I got to know Susie over the years through Twitter and because of a number of mutual friends. And as it turns out, Susie was also friends with the guys from Buy Olympia! We’re all friends! Isn’t that friendly?
So that catches us up to two years ago or so when Susie and I agreed we should collaborate on a Red Sweater t-shirt. I immediately told my wife something along the lines of “SUSIE GHAHREMANI IS MAKING A RED SWEATER SHIRT!” and then, as I do more often than I’d wish, I dropped the ball repeatedly on doing my part to make the dream come true. I chatted with Susie occasionally about how we should finally be making the shirt, but neglected to go the extra mile of talking to her about what the shirt should be and how she could proceed.
A couple months ago, Susie nudged me again about the project and I finally made the case for what I was looking for: a shirt that people would love and want to wear even if they didn’t know what “Red Sweater Software” was. I am so excited by the result: that cute bear with it’s cozy red sweater is exactly the kind of shirt I would have bought and wore proudly had I come across it in 2002. Now it’s exactly the kind of shirt I can wear proudly with the knowledge that, for those in the know, it’s also subtle branding for my Mac (and iOS!) software company. I hope that many of you who are fans of my work or Susie’s will also enjoy wearing the shirt!