May 27, 2015

Mira Mira’s Biggest-Ever Sale

Friday and Saturday only, a Mira Mira New Year’s Sale is the Mission boutique’s biggest-ever. Stop in for 50 percent off everything in the shop.

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Party Seen: Wildlife Works Fashion Collection Launch

Wildlife Works' Kukhanga Collection features 100 percent organic cotton and subtle prints inspired by traditional East African traditional apparel.

Fashion for a good cause drew many out on a recent Thursday night to Mission boutique Hangr16 for the re-launch of the Wildlife Works Fashion Collection, a line of organic cotton, carbon-neutral clothing for men, women and children that helps create jobs in rural Kenya. Along with its socially-responsible take on style, the clothing appeals with simple shapes, neutral hues and easy wearability.

“We’re a conservation company with a fashion line, and basically the whole premise is based on creating jobs,” Creative Director Joyce Hu tells us.

Best known for its REDD carbon offset program and accompanying sustainable wilderness conservation projects, Wildlife Works brought its fashion collection, first launched in 2001, back to consumers this fall after a two-year hiatus. The collection ($28-$68) includes basic t-shirts, hoodies and scarves with prints inspired by traditional East African textiles. Leading the creative team, Hu aims to bring a fresh and fashion-forward approach to the company’s apparel. Styles like the women’s Siri top, with a cropped length and dolman-esque sleeves, exhibit this new direction.

Up until last week, the collection was only available online in the company’s web shop, but a selection of Wildlife Works apparel will be available for purchase through the end of December at Hang16.

Celebrating that fact at the launch party, which featured a collection of stunning images shot on the Wildlife Works project site in Kenya by fashion photographer Peter Jones, were many local fashion heads and supporters of the San Francisco fashion industry, including fashion bloggers, designers, design students and members of the media. Spotted on the scene were gr.dano’s Brian Scheyer and Jill Giordano, Urban Daddy editor Sarah Sung, Eco Salon’s Sara Ost and Rowena Ritchie, The Fashionista Lab’s Adelle McElveen and many others. See below for more faces and names from the stylish crowd:

Wildlife Works Creative Director Joyce Hu (left) and Shop Sweet Things' Jeanne Chan

gr.dano's Brian Scheyer and Jill Giordano

San Francisco fashion bloggers Kim Stokes of J'Adore Couture, Adelle McElveen of The Fashionista Lab and Mission Closet's Elisabeth Carr

Sugarlips Lifestyle Tips blogger Jacyn Siebert with San Francisco designers Yugala Priti and Sarah Liller

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Photography courtesy of Id/Ego Photography and Peter Jones (images two and three) for Wildlife Works

Shop Big on Small Business Saturday (+ $100 Reader Giveaway)

We visited a long list of great San Francisco shops with unique items, including Ruby, Stone Pony, Mira Mira and Gravel and Gold in the Mission, Noe Valley's Shoe Biz, Ambiance and Isso, as well as Pearl in the Inner Sunset.

Earlier this month, the folks at PAPER magazine and American Express asked us to head out on a shopping mission to local, independent boutiques we love in honor of Small Business Saturday. We were only too happy to oblige. After all, small businesses are a seriously big deal to us. Read on for the details on our adventure, get inspired to visit small bizzies on Saturday and enter our $100 giveaway from American Express.

As you know, and we know you know (and we know you know we know), small businesses make our city what it is and keep our lives full of new, unique things to do, see, eat, drink, buy and give as gifts. In that spirit, we dove into a few of our favorite shops in the Mission, Noe Valley and a few other hoods to uncover cool finds from the kinds of shops that lend San Francisco its local flavor.

If you shop on Small Business Saturday, register your American Express card online in advance, then use it on a purchase of $25 or more at a business that accepts American Express, and you’ll receive a $25 statement credit on your account.

These boots from Gravel and Gold are cooler looking than UGGS and made by an artisan in Bodega Bay. And would you believe it: they're machine washable.

How's this for stylish and local: these platform wedges are by Seal of the Sutro, the brand from the owners of the local Shoe Biz shops.

The polka dot shirt dress hanging on the racks is a best-seller at Mira Mira on 22nd.

Lots of local jewelry on display at Ruby, located in the Mission.

Vintage finds at relatively reasonable prices stood out at Stone Pony in the Mission.

Accessories and jewelry were on display in the window of Inner Sunset shop Pearl.

If you’re looking for places to visit on Small Business Saturday, check out PAPER‘s San Francisco City Guide. It’s packed with cool places to visit and additional deals you’ll score only on Saturday.

Need some extra cash to shop? Don’t we all…We’re giving away $100 in American Express gift cards in honor of Small Business Saturday. To enter: do one or more of the following (each counts as one entry):

- Sign up for our newsletter (box on right)

- Tweet us @sfindiefashion with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

- Post on our Facebook wall with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

- Comment on this post with the name of your favorite San Francisco small business

(Notice a theme? Smart people will employ the power of copy and paste). The winner will be chosen at random this week and notified via email, Facebook or Twitter, depending on how you enter.

This post sponsored by American Express, though all opinions expressed here are our own, of course! What does that mean? In the interest of full disclosure, we’re letting you know that American Express compensated us for this post with gift cards, but we did the legwork, took the pics and used it as a chance to showcase some of our favorite local small businesses. We love our sponsors and hope you will, too. They make it possible for us to keep bringing you San Francisco’s independent fashion news five days a week.

Secondhand News: 31 Rax Hits the Mission

A new destination for seekers of affordable, fashion-forward thrift has opened on the stretch of Mission flanked by Bernal Heights and Noe Valley. Dubbed 31 Rax, the shop offers a colorful array of clothing in an art-filled space complete with hardwood floors and a small lounge area.

Occupying the space formerly held by Bad Joe’s gym near other local favorites such as Blue Plate, Secession Art + Design, Locavore, the Argus and the Royal Cuckoo, the San Francisco secondhand boutique carries an ever-changing assortment of contemporary and vintage apparel and accessories handpicked by shop owner, Stephanie Madrinan (but you can call her Steph).

Named in honor of Madrinan’s birthday, New Year’s Eve, and her love for racks and racks of clothes, the shop has a comfy seating area and ample space in back for events and gatherings such as a speed dating shindig that took place there recently and an upcoming art show on Nov. 18.

But the real reason to go is Steph’s colorful selection of funky sweaters, 80′s-minded dresses and fun accessories – all at relatively affordable prices. A vintage python-print blazer made its way into my closet for a mere $14, and most items are priced between $9 and $20 bucks.

Stay tuned for accessories and wearables by independent designers such as Intwined, Angelique B and Garage Glamorous.

Last but not least, know this before you go: there’s a Scoutmob deal currently running that will save you 50 percent.

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Behind the Shop: Wonderland SF

Irene Hernandez-Feiks, Wonderland SF

Situated in the heart of the Mission lies a wonderland brimming with items sure to render art collectors and fashion mavens alike giddy with excitement. That this half gallery, half boutique just so happens to be called Wonderland SF is altogether fitting – because that’s exactly what you’ll find inside.

Opening its doors to the Bay Area just over a year ago, this multifunctional space is owned and operated by Irene Hernandez-Feiks, who’s also a designer, art curator and DJ with a career in the Bay Area fashion and art industry that stretches back just over thirteen years. Now that her longtime dream of opening a gallery and boutique has become a reality, Hernandez-Feiks shows no signs of resting on her laurels. In recent weeks, she just started working on a new and as-yet-unnamed jewelry line and also has a clothing and t-shirt line in the works.

A well-known personality on the local fashion scene since the launch of Chillin’ events at 111 Minna through her production company Chillin’ Productions, Hernandez-Feiks is known for seeking out new talents and offering them a platform to showcase their work.

We caught up with Hernandez-Feiks recently to chat about her new jewelry line, independent fashion in San Francisco, and what is to come for Wonderland SF.

Pieces from Hernandez-Feiks' new, yet-to-be-named jewelry line

More pieces from the new line

How did you break into fashion and art industry ? 

I started my career 13 years ago at 111 Minna Gallery. I started doing Chillin’ events every Tuesday for happy hour. I would show different art and artists every week. I never took any commission from art sales or charged the designers to vend at the events. My dream was to create exposure and opportunity for local artists and designers, and in doing so to find a way to make money for these artists and designers. Chillin’ was the first sample sale in SF, and it was always free.  Also, as a designer myself, I didn’t feel there was a platform for local designers and artists. I didn’t think they had the personality to promote themselves and their work, so I wanted to create an environment where they were able to do so and be recognized for their talent.

Why do you feel so passionate about supporting independent and local fashion, designers, and art in the Bay Area?

I love what Bay Area artists and designers are doing. I think they are so innovative; they push the envelope and don’t copy things that are already made. I think it is important to support our local economy. We are so concerned about the environment, why not start local? I could go on about all the amazing and talented people that live here in the Bay Area. I’m so honored to work with so many of them. I just want to help support them, help them make money and get the exposure they deserve. Local artists and designers care so much and are truly passionate.

What was your inspiration for opening Wonderland SF?

I curated an art show at 111 Minna gallery. Minna is my favorite place! I showed my favorite artists and the show had an amazing response which made me believe I can open my own place. I have relationships with a lot of Bay Area artists and designers and people in the fashion community. I felt it was important to have a place you can come and support local art and fashion, and this is exactly what you can do at Wonderland SF. We carry over 300 local designers, and we have new art exhibit every month.

What was it like to get Wonderland SF, a project you have been dreaming of for so long, off the ground?

I used all of my savings to open this place. I had no investors, and we did everything with very little money. Talk about a labor of love. Because of that it is a reflection of who I am, so you see a lot of our personal touches since we had to do our best with what we had. I think that the artists and designers who I collaborate with know how much I love what I do, and my customers see it when they are here. I couldn’t be more pleased with what we have created.

How would you describe your store’s style? 

I honestly feel there is something for everyone. I’ve been in the industry for over 13 years supporting local artists and designers, and I work with over 5,000 Bay area artists and designers. I have 200 jewelry collections alone at Wonderland SF.  The store has tons of t-shirts for men and women. We have all sorts of jewelry, ranging from edgy to classic, and big to little, you name it. We also have dresses, jackets, and bags in a variety of styles. We have a little bit of everything. If we don’t have it, we will get for you. I do not think anyone has as much variety as we have.

What new and exciting things are you working on at Wonderland?

Well, I just started my own jewelry line, which I’m still trying to figure out a name for, one that best represents me and my work. I am also working on a t-shirt and clothing line, made locally of course, and it’s really affordable. Also, one of the best things about having the gallery in the store is that I am able to work with new designers and artists every week. So many talented people want to come in here and show their art, and I am happy to have a home for them to do so.

About your jewelry line, can you tell me a little bit about it?  

Well, I’ve been working on this particular line for about five months, but I’ve been designing for about 13 years, which started at the Chillin’ events. I’d describe the line as bold and edgy. It’s gaudy but not overdone, and it’s more modern. I started to see more and more people using the electro gold, and I just loved it! So, I found out where to get it and started to experiment with it. I was truly inspired by the crystals with the crown of silver dipped in gold, so I wanted to work that into my collection. As for the chains, earring and coins, they are my own ideas, my creations. Basically, I get to create and design which is what I love, it’s really exciting.

So, you have a new jewelry line you are working on and a clothing and t-shirt line coming soon. How do you manage life as a gallery/boutique owner, designer, curator, DJ, wife and mom?

I am so tired! I work every day at the store. I work on other projects through Chillin’ Productions and also must make sure my family gets the attention and love they need. I am exhausted, but I love what I do and I’m slightly obsessive compulsive, so I feel that no one else is going to care more than I do and work as hard at it as I do. At the end of the day I love my family, my store, Chillin’ Productions, DJ’ing, and l’m grateful that I am able to do what I love.

Lastly, Wonderland SF has been open for a little over a year now. How has it changed and what have you learned?

I’ve have learned a lot! Initially I was more close-minded about the aesthetic I wanted to present. Then I realized that if I wanted the business to survive, I had to be more open-minded to what people wanted, offer more variety in the inventory, mix it up, get to know my clientele and the neighborhood, and merchandising! Merchandising is so important! It’s all about being creative. I’m really happy with what Wonderland SF has become.

Wonderland stocks apparel and accessories from belt buckles to heels and handbags -- all by local designers

In back, an art gallery features new work from local talent

Stop by Wonderland this month to view the Majesty exhibit curated by Amandalynn.  2929 24th St @ Alabama.

Photography courtesy of Rachel Kemp

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