May 22, 2015

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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Party Seen: SF Fashion + Tech’s French Technique

SF Fashion+Tech gave us a reason to celebrate the fashion capital’s independence. In honor of Bastille Day, designers, entrepreneurs, engineers, and media gurus gathered in SoMa for some mixing and mingling, a Paris-inspired fashion show featuring the eco-friendly apparel of Palo Alto label Amour Vert and displays from Bay Area companies such as ModeWalk and LIFT by Yappo.

Below some images from the festivities. You’ll find more on our Facebook page.

A fashion show by Amour Vert capped off the evening.

From the Amour Vert fashion show

More San Francisco fashion events

Photography by Jennymay Villarete

Bohemian Beauty: Nieves Rathbun’s By Nieves Line

Growing up in a nomadic lifestyle led by parents who traveled across the West using pack donkeys laid the groundwork for Nieves Rathbun‘s organic body care line, By Nieves. Exposure to alternative remedies through her travels and exploration from a young age, she went on to combine her knowledge into a line of products for the face, body and hair. Read on to discover more about this Oakland expert in naturally-crafted beauty.

A young Neives Rathbun in Sheridan, Oregon, 1980

Another shot of Nieves as a young girl

Nieves and her donkey Betsy.

Behind the scenes of By Nieves products.

Today Nieves produces her By Nieves body and skincare line by hand using natural ingredients. (Photo: Gwen Harlow)

How did growing up with such a unique lifestyle influence your decision to get into skincare and body products? Growing up in the wilderness and in the counterculture instilled a sense of interdependence and an awareness of immediate consequence. It’s hard to ignore nature when you’re surrounded by it. I think this leads to a feeling of responsibility and makes me question how a product or ingredient is made and what does it affect after we wash it down the drain. Then as a career choice, even though I’m attracted to herbal medicine and nutrition, I’m enamored with glamorous fancy things so I gravitated to skincare and perfuming.

After being in the skincare industry for a while, I started wondering there weren’t more simple and lovely products out there and thought why doesn’t some one just put together this and this and that it would be so great? So I mixed up some things, loved them and the rest is history (in the making).

Tell us a little about your childhood. How were you able to travel and move around so much? I was raised by my father, who is an intellectual hippie that renounced materialism to a large degree. We were able to survive on very modest means, which meant he didn’t have to actually make a lot of money. When he did, it was mostly with forestry work, tree planting, trail maintenance and stuff like that.

What makes By Nieves skincare differ from other skin care lines? I only use very natural ingredients…that’s why you don’t see any lotions, serums or cleansers that would require emulsifiers, surfactants and preservatives. I think what sets By Nieves apart is that I use simple recognizable, effective ingredients and I serve them up with sassy sincerity and classic packaging. Honestly, I’m not the only one doing this and that’s great. I’d love it if there were lots and lots of successful artisan skincare companies rather than just a few huge companies (oops my hippie roots are showing!)

What are your most popular products? I developed each of my five products to fill a particular need in my routine, so I can’t live without any of them. But if I had to choose one, it’d be the C Perfect Skin…I play around with other products sometimes (‘cuz I love skincare stuff), but nothing quite does it for me like the good old C Perfect Skin. Oh and it is the number one seller, too.

After such extensive travels, where did you decide to settle down? I’m located in Oakland on what some people call the Oakland Riviera, a funky little artist enclave on 5th Ave. I’m in the process of moving some of my business to Petrolia, California on the Lost Coast.  My husband grew up there, and it’s time to help his aging mama and let our boy Jasper run wild in the hills. I’ve been longing to get back to the woods…back to my remote country roots. I will maintain an Oakland office and continue to produce some products here. I will continue to spend plenty of time in the Bay Area to do events, stay in touch with clients and  keep my finger on the pulse of the big City life.

Where can we find By Nieves products? You can find By Nieves at a bunch of awesome independent boutiques in the Bay Area and you can order online at

Photos courtesy of Nieves Rathbun

More Bay Area beauty…

Need Local Flavor? Try Jewelry by Salty Fox

The Lucy earrings, $64, pair classic gold hoops with rock chic leather triangles.

The Ella earrings, $64, are hung with sparkling pyrite nuggets.

The Sierra earrings, $56, combine vintage chain, hematite and spikes.

The Cleo necklace, $82, features pyrite cubes and recycled leather.

We’re big fans of locally-made jewelry that packs a unique flavor, so you can imagine we were taken with the adornments of San Francisco designer Megan Stacy and her Salty Fox line. Using metals, recycled leather and chains, the former Lela Rose intern aims to make necklaces, earrings and bracelets with sophisticated edge and affordable prices.

Read on for more about this local designer and her current collections.

Tells us a little about your line. How did you get your start? I launched my line a year ago with the aim to make affordable handmade jewelry that is both casual and refined. I had been working with a lot of silver and metalsmithing techniques in the past and wanted to do a line that was more accessible and less labor and cost intensive.  I also have a background in clothing and textile design and interned with Lela Rose in New York, but definitely feel really excited about working with metal and accessories now.

What are your favorite materials to work with right now? I like to use a lot of chain and stones that are both sleek and raw. I like everything to be clean and sophisticated, but not too sweet. I also use a lot of vintage materials and a bit of leather that is repurposed from vintage clothing.

Where can we find your work in San Francisco? Salty Fox can be found at Candystore Collective, Eden & Eden, Curator, Blues Jean Bar, Resident Artist Gallery, and Wonderland SF.  I also sell online. I tend to have one-off pieces at fairs like this and most pieces are discounted, so it is always good to come by shows like this if you are a fan. I will also be at all of the SF Indie Marts this summer at Thee Parkside.

Runway Recap: Discarded to Divine 2012

Each year, Discarded to Divine brings upcycled fashion to the runway for a good cause that draws legions of loyal fans, who come to bid on apparel, accessories and items for the home made from cast-off textiles in support of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of San Francisco. See what went down the runway – and what item scored the highest bid – below:

Designer Olga Shor (right) with her runway design “Waterloo”

African Monkey Knit Dress by Academy of Art University student YoYo Huang

Designer Monavie Tutop (right) of San Francisco State University with her design “Golden Times”

The highest bid for the night at $1600 went to this Karen Caldwell coat and dress.

Former co-chair Lisa Salamone shops for silent auction items in the Home Décor section.

Designer Lorilee Lucas (right) with her runway design “Navigating the Social Circus” at the Kravet VIP Reception

co-chair Bette McKenzie and former co-chair Lisa Salamone

Honoree Christine Suppes with runway designers in Kravat VIP reception; from l to r, Pamela Wilkinson, Christine Suppes, Lorilee Lucas and Tina Maier.