August 22, 2014

Fall Looks from Saffron Rare Threads (+Q&A with Priya)

The Diya dress is flirty and feminine, but as comfy as a pair of sweats.

The versatile Eila dress features a figure flattering Chevron pattern.

The Palika trench offers a short take on a classic silhouette.

Fresh out with its fall collection and busy planning a fall cocktail party and fashion show to be held in San Francisco next week, Saffron Rare Threads is continuing to build on its rep as a Financial District haven for women seeking polished, professional, yet original apparel that’s made in San Francisco. We caught up with longtime local designer Priya Saraswati to discuss her label, inspired by the world’s most coveted spice.

Tell us about the fall collection photo shoot. Where was it shot and why did you choose the location? I wanted the San Francisco couple with a cute guy, very in love and very urban. When my photographer Billy Winters was previewing the collection, he saw the fabrics and decided on North Beach.

You’ve been designing your line since 2004. How has being in San Francisco helped develop the aesthetic of Saffon Rare Threads over the years? It has mostly influenced things like fabric choices or silhouettes. For example, we sold maxi dresses with sleeves this summer because there aren’t many opportunities here to wear a sun dress. Instead of doing long, wool coats, we’ll do a shorter, herringbone trench because it speaks more to our customer.

Speaking of your customer, how would you describe the Saffron Rare Threads woman? Our customer is (usually) a working professional woman, working moms, women who do not have a lot of time to go shopping. We have a personal relationship with our customers. Even on our buying trips, we have customers in mind. We’ll wonder about taking a chance on something and then list six customers off the top of our heads that would be into the style.

How has the brand changed and progressed over the years? When I first started out, I was doing really “matchy-matchy” suits and now that has turned into a cute pair of shorts and a matching vest that a girl will wear with tights, booties and a little chunky sweater. People are dressing more casually, and we have to accomodate that.

Any favorite pieces from the fall collection? The Eila dress is just a great piece. It’s a great print and will just work well on every body type. We carry sizes from XS to XL. I fit myself (an extra small), and we just go up from there. We want every customer to feel there is something here for them.

Want to see it for yourself? Stop by Saffron Rare Threads on Friday October 19th for the label’s fall cocktail party and fashion show. Check out the SF Indie Fashion Calendar for more info.

Photography by Billy Winters for Saffron Rare Threads

More San Francisco fashion designers….

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: Urban Air Market

Last weekend’s Urban Air Market was a feast for the eyes, thanks to block-upon-block of designers and artists lined up to showcase everything from headpieces made of vintage mesh bags to furry throws and funky socks. Our intrepid photographer Jennymay Villarete made the rounds to capture designers on duty, as well as shoppers browsing the booths.

Below, a few of our favorite shots from the sunny Sunday afternoon in San Francisco. Check out our Urban Air Market Facebook album for many more.

Local model Kate C. spotted at the Maral Rapp booth. Rapp’s jewelry is made of repurposed vintage mesh bags.

Sakura of Tabbisocks

Gothic glam on display at the Dark Garden booth

April Hansen of Linquist Jewelry, a source for body chain pieces, among other handcrafted metalwork

Linquist Jewelry

Designer Stephanie Hoffman of Stephanie Hoffman Designs

A mother and child cozy up in furs by Gata Designs

Spotted at the Neoclassics booth

Silver Lucy of Silver Lucy Designs

Photography by Jennymay Villarete

Snap Judgment: Hand-Dyed Galaxy Leggings

Our very-visual, (almost) chatter-free snap judgment of the day: The spacey fun and nice price of the Hand-Dyed Galaxy Leggings, $25, by San Francisco’s The Littlest Feather. Each one-of-a-kind pair transitions from peach to splattered navy designed to look lifted from the cosmos.

More snap judgments

Wood You Look: Sabi Collection’s Limited Edition Necklaces

We’re big believers in opposites attracting and more than a little in favor of bohemian earthiness mixed with a healthy dose of glam. So you’ll understand in an instant why we were taken in a glance by the Sabi Collection, a line of jewelery made by artist Jill McKeown using found wood pieces from specific locations and mixed with metals and chains.

Available at Circle & Square, necklaces ($70-$120) are available in series that carry the names of places where their materials were found. We’re especially enamored of the Bufalo 7, which hails from Buffalo, NY, for its clean shape and high-shine brass chain accent, as well as the dark imperfection of the Jersey Wood necklace and the glossy metallic sheen of the Boca Wood pendant.

A quietly luxe twist on the natural world, McKeown’s necklaces are the result of her science-meets-design background bolstered by degrees in both architecture and biology.

To view more of her work and scope fresh independent style by emerging artists and designers, visit Circle and Square online or in person at the Presidio Heights showroom (344 Presidio Ave., SF.).

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This sponsored style series brought to you by Circle & Square, a San Francisco boutique and showroom offering the best in independent design and accessories from designers and artisans around the globe.

New & Local: Bay Thread’s Production for Emerging Designers

Local designers, a new company for your radar comes from RevelationByMe co-creator Eloisa Serrano, who’s started Bay Thread, a company focused on helping designers produce garments in small batches. We got the insider scoop from Serrano on pattern making, quality control and passion for design. Read on for our interview and more about a local company focused on local production.

em>What motivated you to start Bay Threads?As an independent designer myself I faced challenges sourcing affordable pattern makers and found that manufacturing minimums were too high for emerging designers, and I saw a great need for services like pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing at lower minimums

How do you hope to help new designers? Bay Thread helps new designers and established designers with affordable pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing at competitive rates. We provide assistance from start to finish, as some clients need help starting with the design process all the way through the final production processes. With our low minimums, we give new designers a greater chance of taking their products to market and launching their collections

What do you find inspiring about independent fashion designers? The drive and passion that small designers have is something that everyone should have and apply to everyday life. It is inspiring how much drive they have, and it is amazing how much passion and effort is put into their products. I am also inspired by the creativity that is out there. All my clients are different and unique in their own ways, and it is great to be able to work with such creative individuals.

What services does to Bay Threads offer? We offer services in pattern making, grading, sample making and manufacturing. We can also assist you with design and sourcing for fabrics or trims.

What products can you help create? The majority of our clients are in the fashion apparel industry, but we also can help clients with home decor products, accessory products, children’s dolls and pet products. If you have a creative idea, it is easy to fill out one of our online forms for a free quote.

What are the biggest challenges facing independent designers? I think that large manufacturing minimums are the biggest challenge faced by independent designers today. In today’s economy it is difficult to produce, stock and sell 200 pieces of the same style. Bay Thread offers a solution of manufacturing in the U.S. at 15 pieces per style. These lower minimums give independent designers a chance to produce smaller orders for their customers. Instead of only launching a few styles, they can manufacture a more extensive product line.

What are the advantages of having apparel designs produced by a local manufacturer? Quality control and turn around times are important details when manufacturing your product. The manufacturing process is a complicated one and if problems arise, it is easier to solve them when the manufacture is nearby. When you work with a local manufacturer, turn around times are faster, ensuring deliver dates are met and you save money on shipping.

Any tips for new designers? Have a clear vision of what you want and be passionate about your products and ideas. Also when contracting any type of work, ask questions and ensure your vision is clear and understood by the service provider.

Bay Thread founder Eloisa Serrano

More San Francisco designer resources