Guataca

Toronto company re-thinks the black music t-shirt

I first spotted a Guataca music tee at Jimmy's Coffee. The barista making me my Americano had on the black I pick my Guitar one and on the back was a small plug for the web site. Guataca, which officially launched this past August, makes black music-inspired t-shirts. They currently sell six versions ($24 each) designed by a coterie of graphic designers and art directors like founder Alex Rodriguez.

So what inspired Guataca? "My struggles when I was a kid," says Rodriguez, who was born and grew up in Venezuela. He began playing the drums at age 15 and found it tough to save up enough to purchase his own drum set. Now he wants to help the younger generation. Partial proceeds from sales go toward Musicounts, a Canadian music education charity that provides grants to school music programs among other initiatives.

The t-shirt designs play off of what Rodriguez describes as a "rock n roll philosophy," an homage to the traditional rock tee, featuring classic music symbols like a cassette tape and a guitar jack cable. My favourite is the one worn by the barista because it also reads I Pick My Guitar with a guitar pick in place of the heart. (Although actually, your guitar picks you.)

So far, Rodriguez is happy with reception. They've even got an endorsement from Nikki Yanofsky, posing in one of his designs on Guataca's Facebook page.

The project is still young so Rodriguez has a lot in store, including the launch of a baby wear line, a new t-shirt collection and music gear, like soft guitar cases, drumstick cases and picks. And in case you were wondering, there's also consideration of red and green t-shirts in the works.

Co-written by Michelle Medford and Tim Shore


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