Behind the Blog: SF Indie Fashion

Thursday, March 26, 2009

above: ahhh, the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, courtesy of wikipedia

In preparation for my visit to San Francisco this weekend, I decided to call upon the expertise of writer, Lorraine Sanders, who launched her website, SF Indie Fashion in 2005, to cover independent, locally based designers in the Bay Area. Sanders, who calls herself a “recovering Southerner” from Richmond, Virginia, says she has been “completely hooked on San Francisco” since her arrival in 2000. In addition to running SF Indie Fashion, she writes for print publications and contributes to and 7x7 magazine’s Glamwatch blog. Here are some of her thoughts about the local indie fashion scene. I got so many great tips from her and hope you find the interview as insightful as I did!

Can you tell us about trends that have been happening with local designers?

Recently, as in, like this month, I have been noticing a really cool trend towards apparel that can be worn in multiple different ways. There are designers around the country doing it, but local designers Sofie Olgaard and Revelation by M.E. are names that fall into this category, as well as Paris-based Please Dress Up, a design team that was working from San Francisco until late last year.

above: a look from Sofie Olgaard, courtesy of the designer's website

above: a dress that literally flips from day to night, from Revelation by M.E.'s website

Do you have any favorite designers or boutiques?

I’m a huge fan of boutiques that embrace local designers and work from independent sources, in general. I also love a store with a palpable point of view.

When I need a great dress, you’re likely to find me at Candystore Collective or drooling over the well-edited selection of women’s apparel at Belljar. I’m really excited about what’s been happening at the just-opened Tedda Hughes boutique in Russian Hill, and I almost start crying sweet tears of joy whenever I walk into Shotwell in Union Square.

Some of my other favorites include .meggie, Secession Art & Design, The Mission Statement, R.A.G., Ellie Olson, Honey Ryder, Gimme Shoes, Rare Device and 440 Brannan. I’m sure I’m leaving someone awesome out, so I’ll just apologize in advance.

I read that San Francisco used to have a Fashion Week, but that due to lack of interest or funding, it no longer exists.

I think plenty of people were interested in Fashion Week when it happened here – I know I was – but putting on a large-scale event like that in a major city like San Francisco requires the willing participating of multiple corporate sponsors, not to mention a large number of people ready to throw down for event tickets…

While I miss the event and hope another one emerges in the future, I also don’t see a point in having a fashion week unless it’s well-funded and well done. I mean, no matter what kind of fashion week you do here, it’s going to draw comparisons to those in other cities around the world, so we might as well hold out until there’s the right kind of magic formula in place to make it the high-profile, successful event it deserves to be.

What do you think about San Francisco style?

I think San Francisco style is kind of like a huge bundle of ongoing conversations. Something like the fashion equivalent to the sensory experience of standing on the Powell Street BART platform at 5 p.m. on a Friday, closing your eyes for a second and listening to all the conversations buzzing in the background.

There are so many different cultures, languages, backgrounds, economic levels and points of view living within the City’s relatively petite 49 square miles. Because of that, you’re naturally going to get a raucous interplay of tastes and aesthetics, ranging from the rather high-end and worldly offerings of Union Square to the edgier finds of the Mission district to the eco-minded products you’ll find throughout San Francisco boutiques and stores.

I’ll also say that San Francisco is the special kind of place where you can wear flip-flops and a coat without looking crazy and take style risks with wild abandon – and I love both of those things.

The economy has been affecting us all. It must be hard for emerging designers and boutiques to make it through these times…

Sure, I’ve noticed plenty of hardship hitting local designers and, for that matter, independent businesses of all kinds… Of course, at the same time, there are great new businesses starting up all the time. GAMA-GO is about to open its first retail space, for example, and boutiques like Shotwell, .meggie and Tedda Hughes are new on the scene.

For more information, please check out the blog, SF Indie Fashion.

And stay tuned for interviews with local designers and indie boutiques from the Bay Area. I can’t wait to share some of my finds with you!


Modelizer said...

My mom moved to San Fran about a year and a half ago and every time I've been out to visit the fashion choices have horrified me. The fact that their Saks doesn't even sell skinny jeans [12 inch opening does not a skinny jean make] makes me wonder if all that money is going to waste in the bay area.

But it is nice to see someone on the fashion up and up and hopefully I'll be able to check out a few of those stores during my next visit.

Dream Sequins said...

Modelizer-- I think Lucky Magazine recently profiled SF and gave the city a backhanded compliment (swipe) saying that the city isn't known for its cutting edge fashion scene... but here are like 4 stores that make our cut. Nice, right? My interview with Lorraine was mostly out of background research, but evolved into a nice profile on the local scene. You can read guidebooks and blogs, but no one knows the local shopping like a local. Look for pictures of shops from my trip, too.

The Haute-Shopper said...

Thanks for the interview. It's always great to read about fashion viewpoints from other big cities. I also need to check out 'Please Dress Up' she mentioned. If they're currently in Paris, I'd love to see their designs somewhere.

Dream Sequins said...

Haute-Shopper: yeah check out the link for Please Dress Up. They have a blog and I think their stuff is neat. If you are in Paris, I would also suggest this brand American Retro. It's a Paris-based label, but very influenced by American sportswear vibes! Xoxo

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