July 29, 2014

What’s New in Old Oakland’s Popuphood

In the heart of Old Oakland, it’s time for a catch up session on the latest with Popuphood. New retailers Umamimart and McMullen recently joined the mix of independent shops, and the organization is offering other interested independent retailers an opportunity to apply to the expanding project through its web site. Read on for the details.

Here’s the lowdown: with the rise in popularity of pop-up retail, the idea of a mini neighborhood inspired by the concept presented a unique opportunity for a group of lucky retailers last fall.

Popuphood, an urban revitalization project and small business incubator, aims to draw foot traffic to the heart of Old Oakland while offering local artisans and merchants the opportunity to open temporary shops to present their work to the public.

When Popuphood debuted this past December, creators Alfonso Dominguez and Sarah Filley made it possible for a handful of independent retailers to try out the newly renovated retail spaces of Old Oakland for six months – completely rent-free. Opportunities to sign long term leases after the trial period made the opportunity even sweeter, and five out of eight retailers ended up signing leases. There were benefits to the surrounding community, as well. Along with bringing new energy to the streets, the shops are easily accessible via public transportation and BART, and are only a few short blocks from a handful of restaurants and bars.

The project has plans to expand to more neighborhoods and communities in the future and has created an online platform for interested businesses to get in touch: independent retailers interested in joining the eclectic mix of talent can apply online for their opportunity to connect with Old Oakland – or wherever the next popuphood lands.

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Snap Judgment: Rayo del Sol Coral Spike Earrings

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: A polished twist on hard core style, these golden hoops with coral spikes, $45, by Goldielockes Design are crowned with a vintage African brass bead and inspire us to kick off our shoes and dig our feet into the sand. We think they’d make the perfect finishing touch to a favorite beachcomber look.

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Saved From Extinction Down Under: SF’s New Sunski Sunglasses

Sunski glasses will be revived, thanks to a Kickstarter campaign to recreate the vintage frames. (Photo courtesy of Sunski Campaign on Kickstarter)

Meet Tom Stewart and Michael Charley. The two run a small product development company based in San Francisco and recently launched what’s turned out to be an uber-successful Kickstarter campaign to revive what would have been a sad extinction in the world of vintage sunglasses.

A few years back on a surf trip in Forster, Australia (just north of Sydney), Tom came across a pair of sunglasses sitting on a table outside a local surf shop. Drawn to the shades’ vibrant colors, Tom bought all the remaining pairs the store had to offer and went on to rock the sunspecs on both the waves and shore for the remainder of his trip.

So the story goes, when Tom continued to wear his new shades after his return to the States, people constantly asked where they could find them. Eager to hunt down pairs of the whimsical shades for his friends, Tom called the Forster surf shop only to find that they were completely sold out. Next, he hunted down the original manufacturer of the frames, called Sunskis, and learned that the manufacturer had gone out of business decades ago. The Sunskis he’d bought were apparently among the last pairs in existence.

Putting their product development minds together, Tom and Michael hatched a plan to resurrect Sunskis for the modern day. Pairing the original frames’ colorful 80′s-inspired look with up-to-date lenses that block 100 percent of the sun’s ultra-violet rays, the design duo aims to produce “a high quality, hand crafted pair of sunglasses that look as unique as the original and feel even better,” says Michael in the campaign description video on Kickstarter.

It seems fans of retro sunglasses are game. While they’d hoped to raise $9,800 to help pay for the tooling and making of molds for the new Sunskis, the two passed the mark in just three short days. When the campaign closes today, it will have exceeded its goal by over 1300 percent and raised a jaw-dropping $143,000 or more for the project.

Want in? The first Sunskis are expected to land in donors’ hands by September.

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Party Seen: Boutiika’s Wear SF Mixer at The Bold Italic

The author with Boutiika Founder Ruchika Kumar.(Photo courtesy of Boutiika)

Local love graces a wall at The Bold Italic.

As the lights went down in the city, the music was being turned up and drinks were being poured at the recent Wear SF Fashion Mixer thrown by San Francisco fashion startup Boutiika and The Bold Italic. Arriving fashionably late (is there any other way to arrive?) a stylish crowd came dressed to impress in cocktail attire.

The scene: over food and drinks, independent designers, boutique owners and bloggers networked and exchanged tales of their latest fashion endeavors. Getting to scope out the inside of The Bold Italic was also part of the fun. Assorted typewriters and clocks displaying times from all around the world were arranged on the walls, and a giant wooden San Francisco sign displayed just outside the doors is a permanent shout out to the city the online culture site covers on a daily basis.

Taking over another wall was a projection of Instagram photos taken by event goers throughout the evening. Whenever anyone took a picture, he or she could instantly upload it into the photo stream.

For the folks at The Bold Italic, the event was just an extension of what the pub tries to do everyday. As Chris Appelgren of The Bold Italic describes it, the events help to, “celebrate what makes SF uniquely special.”

The event also celebrated the independent fashion scene of San Francisco.

As Devon Chulick, owner of event co-sponsor D-Structure SF puts it, “unlike the fashion scenes in New York and LA, San Francisco is a fashion community. It’s not about what you buy or what you are wearing. Our overall outlook is that the person makes the clothes, the clothes don’t make the fashion.”

Another highlight of the evening was the announcement of the new and revamped Boutiika.com site. Boutiika creates a “personalized shopping experience,” explained site founder Ruchika Kumar, “the philosophy of better fashion is about fit.”

The retooled site was based on feedback from site users. Taken down for site renovations, the newly revamped site is now live and now offers its users a more seamless experience connecting them directly to the boutiques they enjoy.

The goal of Boutiika, which helps its users locate local boutiques to find unique and one-of-a-kind pieces, is to send people into the stores.

“You can’t match the boutique experience,” explained Mo Julapalli of Boutiika. “E-commerce is the craze, but boutique owners have a passion and want people to come in.”

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Snap Judgment: Kayu Lace & Wood Clutch

 

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: this chic Gen Lace & Wood Clutch, $517, by San Francisco’s Kayu Designs may not come cheap, but it appeals with hand-dyed lace, shell clasps and the bonus of the company’s commitment to charitable causes: 2 percent of each sales goes toward one of the worthy non-profits the label helps to support.

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