Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Top Shops: Artful menswear shopping options from Keanan Duffty

Keanan Duffty is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and once collaborated on a collection with David Bowie. He is now senior director of fashion merchandising at the Academy of Art University and senior fashion editor at SOMA magazine. Photo: Shannon May, The Chronicle.

Keanan Duffty
Duffty is a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and once collaborated on a collection with David Bowie. He is now senior director of fashion merchandising at the Academy of Art University and senior fashion editor at SOMA magazine.
The Kooples “French dandy meets British rock” at this new Pacific Heights boutique. The minimalist shop’s eponymous collection (which includes womenswear) features high-end suits made in collaboration with Savile Row tailor Patrick Grant, plus rock-star jackets and skinny jeans good for a chic mod-punk look. 2241 Fillmore St., S.F. (415) 440-4210.

Sandro “Pacific Heights is quickly becoming the go-to destination for Francophiles,” and Sandro’s sleek monochrome boutique of blousons, leather and distressed denim is proof of the effortlessly chic attitude French fashion is known for. Designers Evelyne and Ilan Ch├ętrite have eyes for detail, as evidenced by the label’s immaculate tailoring and modern, simple cuts applied to outerwear, button-downs and T-shirts. Ch├ętrite calls the Sandro look “a bit of rock ’n’ roll for the elegant nonconformist rebel.” 2033 Fillmore St., S.F. (415) 292-4841.
Wonderland SF Clothing boutique meets art gallery at Wonderland SF. The “foremost independent showcase for emerging fashion labels and artists in San Francisco” is the brainchild of designer, curator and DJ Irene Hernandez-Feiks, who has long been a supporter of local talent. San Francycle sweatshirts by Academy of Art alum Tommy Pham and 1970s name-plate belts “worthy of the 'Dukes of Hazard’” are a few of the items to look out for. 1266 Valencia St., S.F. (415) 641-4600.

Self Edge “This is the premier denim shop on the Valencia Street hipster runway,” says Duffty. Indigo experts Kiya and Demitra Babzani painstakingly seek out the best raw, selvage denim, shirts and leather accessories, boasting sole exclusivity in the U.S. for most of their brands. Plus, they provide in-house repair and hemming services using their vintage sewing machines. 714 Valencia St., S.F. (415) 558-0658.

Time Frame “The ideal outpost for completing an authentic 'American Hustle’ fashion statement,” Time Frame stocks iconic and ironic vintage sunglasses from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Owner Curtis Hawes rounds out the collection with hard-to-find Japanese and European eyewear, old-school Seiko watches, and vintage costume jewelry by Dior andYves Saint Laurent. Rumor has it that Nicki Minaj is a fan. 418 Valencia St., S.F. (415) 552-5373.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The #GIRLBOSS of Nasty Gal

The #GIRLBOSS of Nasty Gal

Photo courtesy of Nasty Gal
Photo courtesy of Nasty Gal
In only a few years, Nasty Gal has grown into an online retail phenomenon with a progressive fashion-forward following and over a hundred million dollars in revenue annually. The company developed from humble beginnings when its founder and CEO Sophia Amoruso was working at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and selling vintage clothing online.
“In 2006 I was working at the Academy of Art University’s 79 New Montgomery Street building, checking student IDs and directing them to the correct floors. That was were I discovered, during some late nights, that I was getting requests on my MySpace page from eBay followers for the vintage clothing that I was selling. I held the Academy of Art University job for about three months. I was 22 and had never held a job for longer than that—that is until I started Nasty Gal. I love the photographer Diane Arbus and I wanted to go to art school myself, but it was so expensive that I never made that happen. So I decided to leave my job at the Academy and start Nasty Gal,” says Amoruso. Were the Academy students were well behaved? “Yes, they were, they were very nice!”
The New York Times stated recently that, “if ever there were a Cinderella of tech, Sophia Amoruso might be it.” Having created a cult following with her early vintage venture on eBay, Amoruso saw a tipping point, realizing she was on to something bigger.
“I was on one of my frequent buying trips to LA. I was buying vintage there mostly and I was watching the bids on eBay for my vintage. One day I made $2,500, and I’d never made that much money before. I thought, ‘Oh my God! I’m rich!’”
Amoruso is passionate about evolving her creative team and the Nasty Gal brand, and she continues to be deeply involved in every aspect of the business. Amoruso’s team is clearly on board with the Nasty Girl message and aesthetic. “No one is joining the company and thinking ‘this is my thing,’” Amoruso says.
Sophia Amoruso, photo courtesy of Nasty Gal
Sophia Amoruso, photo courtesy of Nasty Gal
Where does Amoruso see Nasty Gal in ten years time? “We have a big brand, but the awareness is not there yet and the (brick and mortar) stores are definitely not there yet.”
With the opening of the first ‘brick and mortar’ Nasty Gal store in Fall 2014 that’s all about to change. When asked if there are any retailers in the history of fashion that Amoruso admires and might influence the way Nasty Gal interprets physical stores, Sophia cites BIBA, the iconic 1970’s London fashion store that has been described as “A jumble Sale In The Pleasure Dome of Kubla Kahn.”
“BIBA had incredible taste and felt special. When you shop today everything feels very commercial,” says Amoruso. Although Amoruso hopes to capture the special, custom feel that BIBA had, the humorously nicknamed ‘BIBA Saturdays’—the day when every young person would go to retailer and shop lift—is definitely something Nasty Gal does not want to encourage in its own stores. Nasty, but not too nasty!
Amoruso recently debuted her highly anticipated book titled #GIRLBOSS, and was named “Fashion’s New Phenom” by Forbes magazine. #GIRLBOSS a highly personalized story that offers her insights on entrepreneurship and career advice for young women.
What does Amoruso hope will be the big ‘take away’ from #GIRLBOSS for Academy of Art University students?
“That the straight and narrow is not the only way.  Be the best version of yourself. Don’t compare yourself to other people.”
Written by Keanan Duffty - See more at: