May 26, 2015

7 Stylish Ways to Celebrate Earth Day in San Francisco

With Earth Day coming up this Sunday, you may find yourself focused on the environmental impact of your fashion habit. Behind whatever’s hanging in our closets, there are fields of pesticide-laden cotton, river-draining amounts of water and tons of buckets of dyes and bleaches involved in producing so much of today’s apparel. So how can a stylish Bay Area-ite satisfy her fashion cravings? Here are seven ways:

  1. Shop vintage. Need an excuse to buy that one-of-a-kind piece you spotted last weekend? Done: buying vintage is good for the environment. (Reuse!) Head over to Fiat Lux in the Castro for a drool-worthy collection of never-been-worn deadstock designer sunglasses or hurry to Ver Unica in Hayes Valley for that perfect vintage party dress.The planet thanks you.
  2. Feed your shoe addiction with Melissa Shoes, plastic (yes – plastic) shoes imported from Brazil. The whimsical footwear is made from 100 percent recyclable materials. There are several stores in San Fran selling the line. Try Nida boutique in Hayes Valley or an Ambiance location.
  3. Drape yourself with eco-friendly hardware. Saving the planet and wearing a few sparklers aren’t mutually exclusive. Designers are using reclaimed materials to make inspired, original jewelry. I had trouble resisting Alkemie’s hedgehog ring at Dress in the Marina, while rhinestone lovers can find Claire Hummel’s fabulous creations at Belljar in the Mission.
  4. Buy some new underwear. But not just any underwear – a pair that will get you off your butt, onto a bike and into a greener mode of transportation! Locally-owned and manufactured Pedal Panties make riding your bike more comfortable, so your eco-friendly bum can “feel as good as you look.”
  5. Order eco-friendly. If Internet shopping is your game, here are a few more players for your roster. Amour Vert’s clothes won’t hurt the planet or your well-honed fashion reputation. If you’ve got money to burn, try Dosa for some of the prettiest hippie-chic clothes out there. They’re available via Polyvore. And watch out for an upcoming online store from my personal favorite, Dipped & Dyed.
  6. Indulge yourself in a local shopping spree. Make your way over to one of Berkeley designer Erica Tanov’s nearby boutiques for some charmingly luxe environmentally-friendly duds.
  7. Stop using Salvation Army as a dumpster. Did you know that up to 85% of what you drop off at Salvation Army will end up in overseas black markets or be turned into rags and insulation? Why not make some money off your old clothes at places like Crossroads Trading Co., Buffalo Exchange or a local consignment shop? Even better for the world: find a charitable program like Reuse and Cleanup Days in Contra Costa County that will find willing takers for anything you want to toss.

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Snap Judgment: Ragabond High-Low Hemline Dress

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: Prepare yourself for an afternoon in the park with this  green high-low dress, $58, refashioned by the vintage and upcycled fashion collectors of Ragabond, whose etsy shop is stocked with re-fashioned floral frocks, tribal prints and sheer vintage maxi dresses.

Photography courtesy of Ragabond

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Rain, Boo. Let the Slick Umbrella Make it Better.

The only upside to a downpour? The potential for a cool umbrella to keep the drops at bay. Here’s one that not only satisfies the cute factor, but is also made of recycled plastic bottles by a local company that donates a portion of its proceeds to charitable organizations.

By Danville-based A Lot to Say, the Slick Umbrella, $70, is printed with an all-over message that promotes earth-friendly action through better care of our oceans and waterways.

The company also makes t-shirts, bags and totes, yoga accessories and items for the home – all from recycled plastic bottles and 100 percent sustainable, non-toxic materials.

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Snap Judgment: Claire Hummel Necklace

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: Revitalized and making a statement, artist Claire Hummel‘s glamorous crystal and gold chain costume necklace, $275, was locally-designed using found and vintage jewelry. P.S. You’ll find Claire’s jewelry at Bell Jar in the Mission District.

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Heading South? Five Favorite Vintage Shops in San Diego

The recent weather reminds us that summer is gaining ground. After all, for San Francisco residents, summer means real winter is just around the corner (insert faux Mark Twain quote here). And when the cold hits, we know many locals won’t resist the urge to flee south as I did on a recent SoCal adventure, so I’ve compiled a guide to the five best vintage shops to hit while having a fine time in “America’s Finest City.”

 1. Flashbacks

The colorful and impeccably organized collection of vintage finds inside Flashbacks.

Store manager and buyer Amy Henderson sifts through a fresh pile of clothing.

This 1940s-inspired display inside Flashbacks is on point with current Hawaiian print and leather satchel trends.

Looking for a trendy bomber jacket or an accordion skirt? Flashbacks curates its buy-sell-trade collection by decade and is likely to have what you are searching for. “We incorporate new and mostly old pieces and carry styles from the 1940s-1990s,” explains Manager Amy Henderson.

What sets Flashbacks apart from other vintage shops?

“Our store is friendly, small and has a neighborhood feel to it. I think people come in because they enjoy the hunt for that special item and it makes it more satisfying when they can come in here and find it. We definitely choose clothing for its style rather than price and designer,” she says.

(Flashbacks has two locations, 628 S Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, CA 92024 & in Hillcrest 3847 5th Ave, San Diego, CA 92103)

2. Home: A Mercantile Company

Outside the original Home in NYC. Photo courtesy of Home.

Opened with creativity and music as its influence, Home will give you a taste of the history and nostalgia for which it is named. Re-established in 2002 by three nephews of Richard Ross, who opened the original store in 1970 in New York City, the store was once a favorite hangout to some of music’s most notable performers, including John Lennon, Ritchie Havens and Alice Cooper, just to name a few.

Home, thanks to Ross’s nephews, is once again a great source for vintage clothing and artifacts, as well as a great selection of vintage concert T-shirts. Don’t miss the mural of Richard at the center of the store.

(Home has two locations, 629 S Coast Hwy 101 Encinitas, CA 92024 & 3013 University Ave San Diego, CA 92104)

3. Frock You Vintage

Frock You Vintage, located just outside of downtown San Diego.

In the middle of Frock You Two's huge collection of affordable goods. Photo courtesy of Frock You Vintage.

Frock You Vintage opened its doors in 2002 and has since been a local stomping ground for those seeking unique and one-of-a-kind pieces. Frock You displays a wide range of vintage men and women’s clothing, accessories AND great selection of vintage shoes.

One a vacation budget? Check out the sister store, Frock You Too, conveniently located next door. No item is priced higher than $20. The location stocks clothing and purses, shoes, jewelry and a lot more.

(Frock You Vintage, 4121 Park Boulevard  San Diego, CA 92103)

4. Hunt & Gather

A drool-worthy display of locally made jewelry at Hunt & Gather.

An employee poses with store owner and stylist, Zoe Crenshaw.

Featured vinyls inside Hunt & Gather.

Hunt & Gather stocks a fantastic selection of vintage, re-designed clothing, locally made jewelry housewares AND vinyl. It was established in 2009 by Zoe Crenshaw & Lee Reynolds, fashion veterans, who were designers prior to opening the store in San Diego’s cool-kid neighborhood, North Park (think of it as San Diego’s equivalent to the Mission District).

What attracts people to Hunt & Gather?

“Most people, when they come in, don’t even realize it’s a vintage store. Our collection of goods looks modern and we are different in that we are not era specific,” the folks at Hunt & Gather tell us.

(Hunt & Gather, 2871 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92014)

5. Bedouin Vintage Collective

A shot of Bedouin Vintage Collective's artistic insides. Photo courtesy of Bedouin Vintage Collective.

The Bedouin Collective storefront. Photo courtesy of Bedouin Vintage Collective.

Bedouin Vintage is not just about clothing. The store hosts a variety of locally-designed jewelry, crafts and local vinyl. Members contribute whatever items may be in their field of talent, making the vintage store “a literal group effort” and a unique spot to discover just outside of downtown. [Editor's note: According to our sources, this store is now closed.]

(Bedouin Vintage Collective, 2621 El Cajon Blvd, San Diego, CA 92104)

Photography by Sara Iravani, unless otherwise noted

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