Man behind 'Still in Edmonton' catchphrase moves to Saskatchewan, expands brand
'I get the sense that there are a lot of people that feel this way about their hometown'
Brandon Webber, the man behind the tongue-in-cheek catchphrase Still in Edmonton, has moved to Saskatchewan but says he's not ready to abandon his city-based T-shirt company.
More than three years since Webber began printing the T-shirts, hoodies, beanies and mugs with the cheeky phrase, it continues to strike a chord with Edmontonians and their love-hate relationship with the city, he said.
"For every person that wants to be ironic about it, there is another person who is super proud to be repping a city that kind of has a chip on its shoulder," Webber said in an interview with CBC Radio's Edmonton AM
Webber said his new life in Saskatoon has given him a new appreciation for what he considers a universal truth: Edmontonians have an itching to escape the capital.
Not many Edmontonians are actually born and raised in the city, Webber said, and few people move here with the intention of staying forever.
"Even though the city leadership and everybody would want it to be a place that's talked about as a world-class city, it's just not; it's a B-class city and that's OK," said Webber, a writer, artist and design consultant.
"There is lots of room to be a great city in that second tier ... and we should embrace that."
Edmontonians aren't unique in their conflicted relationship with the city, Webber said.
After getting random commissions for Still in Lethbridge and Still in Vancouver merchandise, he's decided to expand his brand, devising a new slogan, Still in Town.
"Even though it is a very Edmonton thing, I get the sense that there are a lot of people that feel this way about their hometown."
'We're going to be lifers'
Webber first launched his brand in 2015 after a series of discussions with his wife.
"It was a job that brought us there," Webber said. "We thought it was going to be two-, three-year kind of thing and that started turning into a four- or five-year kind of thing.
"We're like, 'We have to make a decision. If we stay here long, we're going to be here for life. We're going to be lifers.' "
When Webber was commissioned to create a temporary art exhibit for Elm Cafe in the summer of 2015, those conversations served as the inspiration for a Still in Edmonton photography project, and the first series of the popular T-shirts.
Although Webber's love for his wife, a "Saskatoon girl," finally took him from Edmonton, he still has a soft spot for the city.
"I kind of like being a booster of places that are kind of on the down and out or aren't those glossy, bright light kind of places," Webber said.
"Everybody who is in it for the long haul really believes in Edmonton and when you live there, you see the stuff that's really great about it, the stuff that's sort of underneath the surface."