May 28, 2015

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.

More San Francisco fashion news


In Pane Sight: Costumes On Haight

Costumes on Haight, between Scott and Pierce streets, is one of the go-to shops for party-going San Franciscans.

Yes, today is Halloween, and no it’s not too late to get with the spirit of the occasion and don a costume– particularly if you stop by Costumes On Haight, the lower Haight Street staple specializing in costumes of all kinds (for sale and for rent), including many gorgeous vintage items, with options from Buffalo Bill to Bonnie and Clyde.

Need something easy and last-minute, but especially horrifying? Go the route of a head-to-toe scary and beastly Bigfoot-type creature with a ripped intestine accessory, or play it safe and pick up a scary clown mask. If your prerogative is more va-va-voom than creepy, the shop has a copious selection of wigs, pasties and sequined accessories.

Costumes on Haight is located at 735 Haight Street and is open 11 am to 7 pm, Monday through Saturday, and 12 pm to 6 pm on Sunday.

The front windows of Costumes on Haight are decorated year-round, but are always extra spooky for Halloween.

A beast and some oh-so-lovely faux entrails decorate one of the shop's windows.

A psychotic clown mask always makes a good impression.

Perhaps a creepy zombie mask is more your style.

Wigs and and sequins for a Halloween filled with sparkle and bright hues.

Photography courtesy of Alexandra Naughton

More San Francisco style

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

We Came, We Saw, We Shopped: Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire

Old-fashioned glam and styles from another era took over The O Room during the recent Alameda Point Vintage Fashion Faire, a semi-annual event co-founded by Sandra Michan (check Sandra’s vintage shopping tips). In the mix? Everything from neckties to housewares to dress patterns.

Inside the O Room, itself a vintage-lover’s dream with swanky chandeliers shining from the ceiling and soft music playing faintly in the background, there was a wide range of garments, accessories, crafts and other treasures for ogling and perusing.

Read on for some of our favorites from this year’s Faire:

Vintage buttons become something new with Valerie Valentina’s pretty statement jewelry pieces.

Valerie Valentina working on one of her original designs.

Valerie Valentina

The Vintage Girly booth was full of gorgeous furs (including a show-stopping full length fox fur), Erté-esque art deco statues and smart accessories.


Vintage Girly

Shoes and accessories from Vintage Girly

Jillian of Joules Jewels Vintage, new to the Bay Area, started her company selling jewelry, but has now incorporated retro threads into her line.

Joules, Bay Area newcomer and the brain behind JJV.

Joules Jewels Vintage

1950s drop waist dress from Joules Jewels Vintage

Vintage frames, handbags, and other accessories at the MK Retro booth.

MK Retro's booth included snazzy sunglasses and handbags.

Necklaces, brooches, and other precious accessories at the Lapin booth.

Antique style necklaces from Lapin

Juniper Tree Vintage had quite a colorful assortment of vintage brooches, necklaces, and bracelets from which to choose.

Bright retro brooches by Juniper Tree Vintage.

Juniper Tree Vintage

More great baubles at the Juniper Tree Vintage booth

Papillon Antiques came all the way from Arizona to share its diverse retro collection.

Halloween figurines decorated the Papillon Antiques booth.

Dress patterns from the 1950s to the 1980s at the Papillon booth

Dragonfly Meadows, a Portland-based shop specializing vintage prints, featured fun posters in the Halloween spirit and rare Henry Clive prints, dating back as far as the 1920s.

Halloween-themed framed vintage prints adorned the Dragonfly Meadows booth

More San Francisco vintage

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

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….

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