Where to Shop Indie in San Francisco

A few weeks back (I know, I know, I’m tardy), a reader asked me for a list of indie-friendly San Francisco shopping venues that she could use during an upcoming trip to Fog City. Here’s the specific request from Rachel:

I was wondering if you knew of any indie clothing designers/boutiques in SF similiar to Jill Stuart, Anna Sui, slightly dark or goth-y but not Hot Topic or ultra-girly? I’m only there for a day and a half so I don’t have time to wander a lot (boo) and haven’t really found anything similar in my searches or via Daily Candy.

Well Rachel, if I haven’t totally screwed you by waiting to long to post this, I do happen to have a few suggestions. I’ll pair them with neighborhoods so you can maybe pick one or two spots to hit up during your brief visit. Next time, come back and stay longer, why dontcha?

Hayes Valley: Located in the middle of the city, this is definitely a neighborhood that indie lovers will, uh, love. First stop: R.A.G. You can check out more about this rad shop by reading my earlier interview with the owner. But in short, the store stocks local indie designers, and the styles represented are all over the map from the truly out-there to the buttoned-up to hip-hop to goth. While you’re in Hayes Valley, you’ll also want to check out Lava 9 for bags, belts and accessories with an edge. If you’re looking to throw down a little cash, don’t miss Honey Ryder, one of my personal fave boutiques in the city, for higher-end designer picks with a funky streak from both established and up-and-coming labels. Around the corner from Hayes Valley on Market Street is Seventh Heart, a good stop for urban hipster men’s and women’s tees, jeans and accessories. They have more goth flair than the others, IMHO.

If you’re staying downtown or in Nob Hill, you must, simply MUST visit Venus Superstar. It’s a small shop, but has the goods to keep an edgy indie fashion lady happy as a clam.

North Beach: When in North Beach, indie fashion-aholics have several choices. Head to Ooma on Grant Ave., and you’re likely to be compelled to slip into some of the neighboring shops as well. If you’ve got a vintage streak, truck a few blocks to MixedUse. Even if you don’t find anything to wear, you can still ogle the rad retro furniture in the basement.

The Mission: Ah the Mission. We’re talking indie heaven. Honestly, there are probably too many places to mention. Someone will end up getting pissed that I didn’t include their store in my list. But briefly, head to the heart of the Mission (16th-20th streets along Mission and Valencia Streets) for tons of vintage, thrift and indie finds for both your bod and your abode. Try Candystore, Sunhee Moon on 16th. Both are always good bets for indie finds. Special shout out to Minnie Wilde, Porcelynne, Miranda Caroligne, Painted Bird and Nisa – each in the general vicinity but outside that core area I mentioned above.

I’ll continue this list at some point down the road, but this is enough to get anyone started (and deplete anyone’s wallet) on a fab day of indie shopathoning in San Francisco.

  • I personally love retro anything including retro fashion. Thanks for the post.

  • Retro clothing is the bomb! My favorite place to find it is Goodwill or any thrift store. Ebay is also a great place to find what you are looking for.

  • I have noticed classic garments always stay in style. Fashion brings out whatever emotion you are feeling inside. Whatever you are feeling, have fun with it and remember not to take yourself so serious. Don’t let someone predict who you are!