Every now and again, a hot wind blows through the streets of San Francisco, and someone gets the big idea to write about our particular brand of fashion.
"Fashion?!" folks usually gasp, "in San Francisco?" like it's just the most foreign, alien concept that ever came and knocked on the big, heavy doors of their cute little brains. Pleased with their ability to separate the wheat from the chaff, and also with the clever employ of words like organic/collective/natural/sustainable, they proceed to bend way over, scoot their sunglasses a bit further down their noses to squint and peer and nod affirmatively at our terribly subtle and nuanced sartorial leanings.
So goes the latest piece from the NYT on SF Style, in all its partially accurate glory, because if the Bay Area is indeed "the land that style forgot," as they say, then that makes us easy winners in the Make It Work category. The Times explains that with New York's Fashion Week soon approaching, it's time we recognize that "fashion people seldom have much to do with generating style" and this year they're crediting California with providing things like "the most influential American contribution to global fashion, bar none." (They even made us a slideshow!)
The Times quotes Gladys Perint Palmer, executive director of fashion at the Academy of Art University: "Every time a designer from here has a little bit of success, they disappear to New York." And when they go, says Palmer, they nationalize the distinct "offhand cool" of a "foggy, sports- and green-obsessed city," clothing worn by "members of the city’s varied style packs, or what some here refer to as tribes."
The article breaks down these "tribles" by neighborhood: Mission, Castro, Pacific Heights and Haight, all flourishing in "a town remarkably free of fashion hierarchies and in-crowd tyrannies."
It's safe to say that style-conscious San Franciscans - regardless of whatever tribe or neighborhood we're from - eschew showy label-whoring or yes, even "it" bags or shoes, in favor of local designers and clothes that are recycled, DIY, vintage or green.
Let's take an alternative guided tour of SF street style with your friendly neighborhood lesbian, Fit for a Femme.
FIRST STOP: THE SF STYLE BLOG
Why are Dyanna Pure and JT Paradox of The SF Style so fancy? They do things like attend SF Fashion Week and collaborate with magazines and win awesome shit. Basically, they make a super cute, highly photogenic couple who will literally jump out of a car and chase your ass down on the street to take your photograph for their blog. GIRL, YOUR OUTFIT IS THAT CUTE.
STOP TWO FOR THE VIEW: CLOSET RIOTS
"A body positive fashion blog. Fuck the mold." As if you didn't know what a closet riot was! This style tumblr is the brainchild of femme-extraordinaire-electropop-princess Jenna Riot, and her friends are all so damn cute and cleverly dressed I want to steal them for myself. Her fashionable tomboy, Brown Amy, is one of the DJs behind Hard French, a soul- and style-filled tea dance party in SF's Mission District, poised to take over Toronto and NYC later this month!
STOP THREE, EQUALITY: LESBIANS IN SF
You know what? Homosexy Lesbians in SF is here to "educate others about who the REAL women are behind the word or the stereotype." Creators Catherine Perez & Aja Blue are another smokin' hot couple in the queer blogging scene and their relatively new tumblr already enjoys quite a bit of success. Also, they are very nice. Also, they take the prettiest pictures. Also, they have awesome stickers.
Basically, they can do no wrong in their unwavering commitment to capture the queer women of the greater SF Bay Area.
I hope you've enjoyed this pretty little tour of San Francisco by yours truly (who may or may not be trying to get you all to move here, one by one). I think it's lovely that the NYT article - and others like it - simultaneously acknowledge and inform what "we" look like. It's nice to be reminded that there's a global give-and-take that constantly breathes inspiration and changes what we wear in our respective corners of the world, and I think Dema Grim said it best:
Here in San Francisco, we're “not afraid to mash things up.”