Welcome to InStyle ♥'s San Francisco! Nurturing the next gen of artists and rule breakers with every cool gray breath, the city pulses with innovation. Throughout June, we're bringing you everything you need to know and every place you need to go in S.F.
San Francisco may not be known as a fashion-forward city, but the influx of tech companies and the popularity of locally made goods has helped elevate S.F.’s style quotient significantly. Home to big brands like Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, and Athleta, among others, San Francisco also carries weight in the global market, and leads the way with fash-tech innovations (from crowd-sourced designs to 3D-printed dresses). Companies like Everlane, which leads a new field of affordable basic lines with it’s limited-release, online-only model, and Betabrand, which uses crowdfunding to determine which designs get made, are making waves. As are other digitally-driven San Francisco fashion brands like ModCloth, and the more niche, highly curated Modern Citizen. Smaller companies like Marine Layer, Mill Mercantile, and Unionmade, on the other hand, rely on California’s coastal-cool style and local craftsmanship to appeal to customers beyond state lines. Put them all together and you have a fashion mosaic that is quintessentially San Francisco. We selected three of the S.F. brands we think are worth visiting while in the City by the Bay. Each has a unique perspective and, of course, is heavy on S.F. heritage so you’ll get a taste of what the city has to offer, and a sense of its style history.
1. FOR DESIGNER BASICS: AZALEA & CO.
Co-owner Catherine Chow’s complimentary set of three Hayes Valley shops equates to a finely curated department store with a dash of hometown charm. Azalea is known for its on-point house line of tunics, clutches, and more, hard-to-find Ksubi denim, and Catbird jewelry. Rand + Statler, next door, stocks high-end finds (think Derek Lam, vintage Chanel, Acne Studios); and Welcome Stranger, Chow’s nearby men’s store oozes NorCal street vibes with bombers and beanies, and brands like Rag & Bone, and Garrett Leight.
411 Hayes St.; 415-861-9888; azaleasf.com
2. FOR TRUE BLUES: LEVI’S
Denim-heads swear that nothing beats this OG of S.F. brands. And a visit to the Levi’s Plaza headquarters means you’ll get a bit of heritage with your hip-huggers: secret archives house celebrity blues and jeans that date back to the late 19th century, while its Vault has other historic pieces on view. Plus, personal fit consultants staff its on-site store so you’re guaranteed to walk out looking like a legit local.
1155 Battery St.; 415-677-9927; levi.com
3. FOR SUSTAINABLE STAPLES: THE PODOLLS
With an artistic, sculptural take on basics (think sack dresses and parachute tops in raw silks and hand-drawn prints), husband-and-wife design team Josh and Lauren Podoll define minimalist S.F. style. Their Noe Valley shop carries their globally inspired, sustainable line, which is handsewn in S.F., plus Slow Studio ceramics, Marisa Mason jewelry, and The Podolls’ kids collection, The Podots.
3985 24th St.; 415-529-1196; shopthepodolls.com