Monthly Archives: December 2011

Kai Hunter’s first look Bookmark and Share

After days in the hospital, my sister Olivia finally had her baby today at 2:53am. His name is Kai Hunter Chamberland and he weighed 8.9 lbs.  Kai means “Ocean” in many Southeast Polynesian languages including Japanese, “strong” in Burmese, “love” in Nigeria’s Yoruba, and “willow tree” in Navajo.

From his perspective:  This is what Kai sees, laying on his bed, getting his diaper changed.

Welcome to the world Kai. Hope you enjoy it.

Funkle JAM
(I hope….hahaha)

An Angry Scottish Gal with Something to Say Bookmark and Share

We recently received a complaint about our current Scottish shirt- no big deal.   The subject was a pretty normal remark we at ZAMFORIA are faced with often and we figured we should share the convo…. I love emails like this because it helps me reaffirm what we are doing as a company and a brand.


Dear ZAM,

I have been purchasing your wonderful shirts since before you had a store (first time was at a holiday craft fair in Boston). My daughter has always loved your designs, and your philosophy. We are of mixed Celtic descent. She has your Irish shirt, and I thought I would get the Scottish one since every year we go to the Highland Games, though it would be fun for her to wear there. Until I saw it. Usually your designs are beautiful artworks and so respectful and identifiable with the culture they represent. The concept that you would so disrespect Scotland by using a Native American design “with some plaid in it” is mind boggling to me. I can’t believe that you couldn’t find one single concept of the culture that you could have used (thistles, real tartans, bagpipes, highland dancers, stags, sheep, golf, the various flags………). Why do you hate Scotland so much? None of your other designs are so blatantly disrespectful. You didn’t combine cultures you threw one away, and you knew it just by the way you phrased your description.  I am very upset and insulted by this. This isn’t representative of Love at all, just the opposite.

An Angry Scottish Gal


Hola Angry Scottish Gal,

Sorry to hear you’re upset….. but check it out…..

ZAMFORIA’s first priority as a company is to rip down cultural barriers as a means to bring them together, show how similar we all are and find exactly what we all are at heart.  We make art and interpret the world.  Take one of the ZAM chip bags you have and read the last paragraph on the back:

“It Says Love t-shirts don’t brag about national pride, instead they show us how similar we are.  George Carlin once joked that we shouldn’t be proud of things we are born with or into (things like nationality and social class)  but instead be proud of what we do in life.”

Since people can buy badges of national pride (t-shirts, etc) at cultural fairs, airports and street carts, we wanted to take a more global perspective.  Sometimes, we do revolve art around the “pride thing” but we also play to the “global connection” thing as a means to reiterate our company’s philosophy of a global common bond.

In saying that, I do appreciate your criticism, (good or bad, I love it) but this isn’t the first time nor the last time that we’ll do something like this: taking a language and combining it with a concept not necessarily with an apparent connection to one or more cultures or languages.  We want you to look deeper into it.

When I first started designing the Scottish shirt I was playing with more traditional “Scottish” things.  Then I happened to see Dances with Wolves and Braveheart within hours of each other.  I had wanted to do a Native American design for a long time but until I saw those movies together, did I feel a connection between Native Americans fighting the “white man” and William Wallace fighting English armies.  There was a sense of “good triumphing over evil and harm” or even “rooting for the underdog.”  Or maybe it was the sense of fighting for what you believe in (Freedom, Home, or Family) and against greed, rape and invasion.  Essentially, I felt, that the Indians and Scots were speaking the same language when they fought- it was more than words…… and so came the current Scottish design.

Regardless, if you don’t like the design, we redesign languages all the time.  One day, we’ll  probably  have a more “traditionally”  inspired Scottish shirt.  Until then, I hope you have a better appreciation for our goal as a company.  Stay cool.

Again, thank you.



ps. that was loooong.  you read the whole thing?  sweet.

ZAM Night Photobooth Pictures Bookmark and Share

We had ZAM night at Club Cafe last Thursday and we created a ‘photobooth’ for people: complete with moustaches, glasses, and bow-ties.  Check out some pictures at the link below.

Quick Visit to the MassChallenge Offices Bookmark and Share

Just took a quick to the MassChallenge offices/headquarters and this is where young entrepreneurs should flock to- there’s a very serious/fun “screw business as usual” mentality here.  For those that are outta-da-loop, the MassChallenge is a business start-up competition with a $1M collective prize.  3 Teams win 100K and other winners split up the rest.  Open to anyone, from anywhere, with any start-up, the highest impact, most viable ideas win.  MtherFN badass.

I went to visit a friend who works for VSnap, a start-up that helps users send short video messages to friends, family, or even fans.  It’s still in its alpha version but they asked if I could try it next week. For any of you that are on the mailing list: expect a little message from us at ZAM next week.


I love meeting with young, bright innovators and “figure-it-outters”.  The meeting took a spin midway when we realized a huge surprise/innovation for ZAM shirts (expect it for the Spring Line).   HINT: get your smartphones ready.

The view from the offices:


First thing Joe told me off the elevator: “This is the longest whiteboard in the world.  Official Guinness Book of World Records stuff.”


If anyone is interested in changing the world, start HERE.





Keeping Warm Bookmark and Share

ALSO!!  There’s free shipping on all orders over $50.

That kid’s gonna be a ladies’ man- I mean, he’s already famous!


Thank you for all of the support we’ve had over the past couple years-  when you’re doing something like this, it’s great to wake up everyday and know that you have people behind you.  Personally, I’m just glad you all understand how huge and positive ZAM can be in the world.  If you want to help out, just contact us: .

Stay warm.



a brief trip to NYC ….for the ocular fiend Bookmark and Share

I caught a ZAM sticker sighting outside Will Smith’s house in the movie “I Am Legend.”  (remember the zombies running through the park in front of his house?.)

NYC street art is everywhere but this is a freshy. ( I was only here 2 weeks ago):

The reason we went to NYC altogether:  Laura Marling.  But a 35-minute show?  love her but kinda ridiculous.




Love in Hindi & Sign Language Combo Bookmark and Share


I’ve been wanting some henna love hands for a long time and I finally got ‘em.

The backwards “R” and “4″ looking characters are the symbols that make up the word “Love” in Hindi.  It’s written like “Prem” and it’s pronounced “preem” or “prem” depending on who you talk to.  Words in Hindi are connected by that horizontal line above the letters.  And another weird fact:  I’ve met LOADS of Indian dudes named “Prem”.

This tee is available for Romeos and Juliets.  It’s printed on a tri-blend shirt for a soft vintage feel.  (Tri-blend means 50% polyester / 25% cotton / 25% rayon.)


Adios (or better alavidā ),



Some new stuff…… Bookmark and Share

Le Facelift, Part Deux Bookmark and Share

After years of mock-ups and sketches for the outside of the store, we finally finished the doorway (now working on lighting, and the “graffiti wall” … #WorkNeverEnds).

Last February we went to Austin, Texas and couldn’t help but be influenced by the style we found there.  Austin blends earthy tones,  bright punked-out-funked-out details, quirky wit, casual excitement and Texas flair into a huge glob of hipster paradise…… yet EVERYONE in Austin is into it.  It’s unbelievable.  To say the least, ZAM is always developing but we’re going in the right direction.


Ever seen these stickers?  This is were they came from.




Boston Young Entrepreneur Panel Bookmark and Share

Last night I participated in a ‘young entrepreneur’ discussion at my alma mater Suffolk University.   Unsurprisingly, I was the only one up there that didn’t study business- I studied International Government.  The panel consisted of young businesses (Peekaboo Mobile, Ideologie, Blue Tierra, ZAMFORIA) and we gave advice to aspiring entrepreneurs.  I get a lot of questions everyday but at these events they want you to delve deep into the actualities of running an enterprise.  It’s fun to talk about what you learned.

ZAM grew up in a recession selling t-shirts on the street.  We had to figure out a way to sell $28 shirts when someone could by one at Target for 3 bucks.  We learned from experience and doing.  Also, we developed with some business techniques that are a bit off the beaten path:  a funny sounding name, a spinning logo, building a brand from a clear positive message, using word of mouth and street art as a means of advertising, etc.  To say the least, we took the difficult route.   We learned art and business simultaneously.

The plan was to build something a little quirky, beautiful, and organic.  I think we did alright.

Some simple advice to an aspiring business person:

1.  Keep the big picture in mind, focus on the details.

2.  Plan well, but not too much.  Be patient.

3.  Time and Money run shit:  use them efficiently.

4.  You have TWO ears and ONE mouth.  Listen TWICE as much as you speak.  Always Learn.


I had to take a picture of this guy Maz because his name says “ZAM” backwards.  Thanks for the picture Maz.



Preview Bookmark and Share

Here’s a preview to what’s coming next week.

Everything starts with a sketch and eventually comes to life on screen.   The sign language hands are my favorite ZAM logo to work with because of it’s versatility.  I can mess with it a billion different ways.


A color sketch for some new patches…….  I’ve been in love with Native American designs for the past couple months.  Growing up, we used to go to Indian pow-pows all over New England because my aunt was obsessed with the culture.  Personally I love the classic Navajo blankets and geometric designs.


A bad picture of a new shirt……  like I said, it’s just a preview.

enjoy….until next week……