May 27, 2015

Mind Behind the Design: Metal Smith’s Isabella Behravan

We’ve always been told that diamonds are a girl’s best friend. San Francisco-based designer Isabella Behravan is challenging this long-held belief with her innovative use of metals in her new jewelry line, Metal Smith. Give her a little time, and she may even disprove that whole diamond theory altogether.

After peeping her pieces during a recent visit to Ver Unica boutique in Hayes Valley, we were immediately intrigued and had to know more about this new local designer and her marvelous metals. Behravan is a born and bred San Franciscan raised in the heart of Russian Hill, and, like any seasoned city gal, she knows these city streets like the back of her hand.

After high school Behravan escaped to Upstate New York for a change of climate and scenery where she attended Bard College. But four years later, she soon found the City by the Bay calling her name.

Manager at Ver Unica for three years and counting, Behravan is in the midst of launching Metal Smith’s debut collection. It may be her first line, but she’s been at the jewelry designing game for quite some time. Behravan initially began creating pieces for herself after not finding jewelry she wanted to wear. Determined to sport pieces she was proud to call her own, Behravan immediately went to work.
Drawing inspiration from her surroundings, the elements, architecture and her love for the craftsmanship and impeccable detail in vintage clothing, Behravan carefully handcrafts each and every Metal Smith design. Her first collection boasts an array of earrings, rings, necklaces and bracelets with clean lines, subtle colors and bold shapes.
We sat down with Behravan to get the skinny on Metal Smith, dish about life in San Francisco and, of course, talk fashion.

What inspired you to start your own jewelry line?

I began making pieces that I wanted to wear because I wasn’t finding jewelry that felt natural and right for me out in the world. So I created pieces that I would want to wear everyday, not to go with an outfit but to make me feel a certain way. I quickly realized I wanted to share the jewelry I was creating.

What types of designs are you drawn to when creating your pieces?

I look to architecture, vintage pieces from my personal collection, and nature for inspiration. Shadows and empty space often play a big role in my design process.

What materials are your favorite to work with?

I love working with all types of metal. I love to see it do unexpected things and transform into something new. I’ve never worked with anything quite like it before; it’s amazing to create jewelry from something so strong with your hands.

When you’re not designing jewelry, what else do you do?

I hangout with my dog, Dirt. I also love going to thrift stores and antique shops to seek out hidden treasures.

What are your favorite shops or destinations in SF? Where are your go-to places to find independent, local apparel and jewelry designers?

My perfect day in San Francisco would start at Sight Glass Coffee, because it is such a beautiful place, where – if I could have a work bench in their loft – I could honestly work for hours upon hours a day. Then I’d take the N Judah to General Store, which has a beautifully curated collection of things. I’d finish the day with a walk with Dirt down to Union Made to check out their beautiful textiles. It is rare to see a shop with such perfectly selected pieces, particularly in men’s.

What is the one accessory you cannot live without?

My sunglasses. They’re circular frame 1960’s Christian Dior. I think that whoever owned them before me changed one of the lenses because they’re two different colors. One lens is a little more rosy and the other is a little more yellowy. When I wear them, anything that’s red looks totally psychedelic!

What is next for Metal Smith?! And I am very excited about stones right now. I have some pieces in mind that will involve new colored and textured stones that will complement the metal work I’ve been designing.

To check out Metal Smith’s first collection stop by Ver Unica boutique for the Metal Smith Trunk Show this Friday, October 14th from 6-9pm.

Photography courtesy of Metal Smith

More San Francisco jewelry designers….

Jeffrey Levin’s Lovely Furniture Remnant Jewelry at Cisco Home

This week San Francisco is abuzz with boutique parties and trunk shows galore, but eco-fashion fans will want to take note of one show in particular: Jeffrey Levin Reclaimed Wood Jewelry at Cisco Home.

This Saturday at Hayes Valley’s Cisco Home, the Cape Town-born Levin will be showing an exclusive collection created using remnants from the store. Passionately perfecting his craft since starting out at the tender age of 12, his latest collection features designs made from an array of reclaimed wood adorned with delicate details.

Drawing inspiration from natural elements, Levin used remnants of Cisco Home’s furniture to handcraft each and everyone of his pieces. In addition to the unveiling of Levin’s reclaimed jewelry, there will also be pieces on offer from his Super Skinnys, Tinys, Wraps, Charm Strings, Dog Tags, Medallions and Initials collections as well.

Intrigued? See it for yourself: Jeffrey Levin Reclaimed Wood Jewelry at Cisco Home, Sept. 24, 12-4pm, 580 Hayes Street, San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Cisco Home and Jeffrey Levin

More eco-friendly fashion….

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: Capsule Design Festival

Sunshine, music, and a fashionable spirit filled the air of Hayes Valley on Sunday for the Capsule Design Festival outdoor market, featuring 130 independent and local designers. Thanks to the gorgeous and warm late-summer day, seemingly everyone in the neighborhood was out and about to partake in the fun.

Clothing for men, women, children and pets dominated the majority of the booths, although there were quite a few vendors selling jewelry, accessories, handmade paper products and goods for the home.

The defining factor? Participating sellers are chosen based on their originality in design and sustainability. Below, highlights from the event:

Local musicians convene for park side melody-making.

Danielle "the dressmaker" Pettee poses with her designs.

Colorful collars for our furry friends by Usagi Team

Eco Fashions Recycled Candy Wrappers purses

Pretty vintage-inspired dress by Effie's Heart

"Good grammar is sexy" and other Studio Nico goodies at The Workshop's booth

Hayes street throw pillow by Casa Murriguez

The sun was out and the sky was exceptionally clear in Hayes Valley on Sunday.

Disguise kit for kids at the Kira booth

Kiu Designs' custom made handbags

Free mustache photos, courtesy of Scoutmob

One-of-a-kind pins, totes, accessories and crafts by Random Nicole

Polka-dots and Asian-inspired dresses by Rebe

Brightly-hued socks from Rockn Socks

Ring holder made from vintage teacups by Who Made It

Fun and funny greeting cards by The Workshop

Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton

More San Francisco shopping

Alexandra is a San Francisco writer with a passion for style and creativity. You can find her on Twitter @theTsaritsa


The Do List: San Francisco Fashion Events Sept. 12-18

While last week was all about celebrating local shopping destinations, this week’s top style events beckon San Francisco fashion fans to gather en mass in festival settings. You’ll find the details on the SF Indie Fashion Calendar.

  • On Thursday, an event for style-conscious dudes (and their admirers, of course) takes over the Bently Reserve for the 3rd annual Styling the Modern Man. Included with your ticket are complimentary cocktails, grooming services, a fashion presentation, access to the Levi’s Geek Chic Lounge and advice from experts such as romance coach Joy Nordenstrom.
  • Coast into Friday evening by stopping by the latest installment of Sassy City Chicks, hitting Fort Mason Herbst Pavilion this week. Reasons to go include shopping, cocktails and mini spa services. Another draw: the Off the Grid food festival goes down at Fort Mason the same evening, making the waterfront venue a super solid combo outing for foodies and fashion-philes.
  • Close out the weekend by setting aside a chunk of Sunday to peruse Capsule, the urban air market that fills four+ Hayes Valley blocks twice a year with over 130 independent designers and artists selling men’s, women’s, and kid’s clothing, accessories, jewelry, paper goods, glassware and items for the home.

You can find details on all of these events and more happening this week on the SF Indie Fashion Calendar.

In Pane Sight: Ver Unica

Ver Unica, 437 & 526 Hayes St., San Francisco

In the window at Ver Unica: Perfectly pressed pleats, luscious leather carryalls, a delicate gold locket and cat-eye framed specs will have you reminiscing about your days spent laboring over reading, writing and arithmetic. Didn’t have those? Not to worry.

If hitting the town and not the library is more your scene, skip on over to the vintage-minded boutique’s second location, also on Hayes Street, where a pastel, floor-length gown adorned with shimmering detail reigns supreme. Stop in to either of Ver Unica’s two locations in the bustling neighborhood of Hayes Valley for a variety of reasonably priced, one-of-a-kind vintage pieces, rare treasures, obscure trinkets and jewelry from local Bay Area designers such as 1228 and Metal Smith.

Photography courtesy of Rachel Kemp