Over the past couple of years, Joe Freshgoods has become known worldwide for his dope sneaker collaborations with different brands. In Chicago, however, he’s been known for over a decade as a streetwear entrepreneur, since selling his tees under the counter while working at Leaders 1354. The t-shirt has been instrumental to Joe’s success, and the Chicago designer is now back with a new tee for the city.

This week, Joe will be launching a new “Summertime Chi” tee created in collaboration with 1800 Tequila. As the name implies, the tee celebrates Chicago summers, though it also serves as a way to give back to local businesses in the South Side.

1800 Tequila was recently named as the Official Tequila of the Chicago White Sox, so Joe brought in Mitchell & Ness for this collaboration to make the tee more of an “official” sports item. “The base of the tee is a baseball t-shirt, but I think the story in general just embodies [summer in Chicago],” says Joe Freshgoods. “From going to a baseball game, to just taking a bus downtown with your friends, walking the Magnificent Mile, going to the ice cream spot and candy store. A lot of the things that summertime Chicago represents is a part of what I do right now.”

All proceeds from the tee will go to two Black-owned businesses in Chicago: Fourtunehouse and The Woodshop. “[Fourtunehouse] are some youngsters that are doing really good things in the community space in the South Side. I’ve been partnering with a lot of up-and-coming designers and housing their stuff in their store.”

“[The Woodshop] has been around for 55-60 years almost and it’s just a legendary shop in Chicago right off 75th St. that has been the home of Black art and curation for a long time.”

The tees are limited to 450 units and will be available exclusively at Every Now & Then, a new concept shop in Chicago created by Joe Freshgoods. “We’re calling it a ‘retail and resource company,'” says Joe about Every Now & Then. “It kinda pays homage to me going to New York and Tokyo. I love shopping, I love the retail experience, so I just wanted to recreate what retail for Joe looks like at this stage in his career.”

“Every Now & Then is pretty much Joe at age 35. The name is pretty much what it is. I’m open up every now and then. I have a lot of different projects that’s housed under this store  . . . When it comes to art and furniture, that’s kinda where a lot of my heart is lying at right now. I think Chicago has watched me grow, and this is just another stage, another chapter in that book.”

Joe’s partnership with 1800 Tequila is now in its second year. In late 2021, the two hosted an art education event called “Featuring Us” in the city’s West Side. The event featured a panel discussion that educated creatives on navigating brand partnerships, as well as an art gallery that highlighted up-and-coming artists.

“Everybody know how picky I am when it comes to my partnerships. The first thing I look at when we’re partnering with somebody is ‘okay cool, what can we do for the community?’,” says Joe. “I would say that 1800 always comes to bat and we always problem solve how to do the crazy things that Joe wants to do when it comes to community stuff.”

“Nowadays, working with so many different brands, I actually don’t like the word collab anymore, it’s moreso about partnership. How can we really partner and make this thing great. It’s just natural. I don’t have to do everything that comes my way, nowadays. If you wanna work with Joe, you gotta work with these kids. That’s how I look at life now.”

The Joe Freshgoods x 1800 Tequila “Summertime Chi” limited edition tees will be available at a special garden rooftop pop-up this Friday, August 5th at Every Now & Then, located at 1008 W Lake St, Unit 2 in Chicago, open from 12pm to 7pm.

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