Updated Vintage Power Dress

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Power Dress

Originally this dress was a dress-suit from the 80’s. First we thought we had to get rid of the shoulder pads, then decided to wait and see what it would look like after we shortened the length and cropped the sleeves (which were long and tapered). In the end the shoulder pads look great with the dress!


Written by mobshopblog

October 28, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Updated Vintage Felt Brooklyn Dress

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Felt Brooklyn Dress

A perfect dress for all you ladies who live in places that get chilly in Fall. The dress is made from a soft, warm felt – Almost feels like a very fine fleece! Layer with a long-sleeved top underneath, or a belted cardigan. Looks great with boots and flats for daytime and heels for night…

Written by mobshopblog

October 28, 2010 at 6:46 pm

Updated Vintage Cotton Printed Dress!

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This Dress was almost perfect when I found it… The soft cotton fabric is a surprising contrast to the structured fit. All we had to do was shorten the length and fix the fit of the sleeves. A perfect work to play piece!

Cotton Printed Dress

Written by mobshopblog

October 28, 2010 at 6:36 pm

MobShop in SF…may 5th & 6th

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The Indie Mart is back for our first throw down of the year and our 3rd anniversary party. We have our best group of vendors ever! We personally recruited over 30 new to Indie Mart vendors that have never shown at SF shows before. Over 100 vendors bringing you the best makers, designers, vintage, handmade unique goodies, art, baked treats and much more. Tons of interactive vendors offering customization or showing you how it’s made. Besides our usual standby’s on stiff drinks, cheap beers & fresh BBQ food from thee Parkside…we’ve also got a giant demo station brought to you by Workshop ( that’ll feature demos every hour, on the hour. A DIY terrarium station while supplies last. PBR giveaways. Puppies & kittens for adoption from WonderDog. The Fashionist taking shots of the most stylist peeps for her site ( Heavy Metal Aerobics pumping at 2pm for all to join in (SF Weekly & 7×7 Best of SF winner). Photobooth. DJ’s outside all day playing rock & roll. Bands inside: Music for Animals (4pm,, Jonesin’ (3pm,, Magic Magic Roses (2pm, & Red, White & Drunken (2pm, boy band & fun 90’s covers). Good times and a whole street taken over by SF’s best.

The Indie-Mart Street Fair
Sunday June 6th, 12-6pm
Thee Parkside- 17th st & all down Wisconsin
Ride your bike, take the 22 Muni Line
Valet bike parking from the SF Bike Co-alition
ALL AGES- 21 to booze it up.

$3 suggested donation


Written by mobshopblog

May 28, 2010 at 6:08 am

Posted in Fashion

Al’s Attire

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I’ll never forget the first time I walked into Al’s Attire.  A relatively new resident of San Francisco, I was still in the process of uncovering many of the city’s hidden gems, and  Al’s is definitely one of these gems.  Tucked away on Grant St. near Cafe Trieste and Vesuvio, the shop hums with the unique energy one expects to find in North Beach.

A long time collector of vintage clothes, I was first wowed by the shop’s appearance.  The window display and scattered dress forms featured unique custom-tailored pieces, many recalling updated and re-designed versions of classic wardrobe pieces spanning the late 1800s to present. English hacking coats, pencil skirts, cashmere berets, ’50s style sun dresses, and wingtip boots are but a few of the treasures I came across as I worked my way through the racks.  Looking up, the rafters of the store were packed with stacks of vintage hat boxes and mounds of gorgeous fabric bolts.  Under my feet, the well worn planks of the hardwood floor suggested that Al’s was more of an institution than a shop in North Beach.

And then there is the constant parade of customers: local beat cops needing their work caps stretched, neighbors wanting a piece of clothing altered or shoes re-soled, tourists taking pictures and asking questions, excited brides designing their wedding gowns.  I took it all in and knew I had stumbled upon something special.

Then, there’s Al.  Sincere and personable, this eccentric designer and his loyal staff provide the final dramatic flurry to the vibe of this shop.  Al, a native San Franciscan, opened his first shop in the ’80s.  The Taming of the Shoe, located in SF’s mission district, allowed him to refine his shoe-making skills.  He also at one time owned numerous vintage stores around town and did wardrobing (primarily costumes and shoes) for San Francisco’s theater companies.

Contrary to my assumption that Al’s Attire has been around forever, the North Beach shop has only been open about ten years.  In the beginning it was a more sparsely filled space, housing only a few sewing machines, local sewers, bolts of fabric, and clothing racks.

Al’s concept: Locally-made, beautifully-constructed, hand-tailored clothing.  Al doesn’t really enjoy the term vintage associated with his designs.  And the closer I looked, the better I understood why.  It’s the construction, not the era, that defines his collections.

Personalized hand-stitched labels, hidden stitching details on the underside of each coat collar, custom tailoring of each garment sold; these are unique elements you just don’t see anymore in ready-to-wear, factory produced clothing.  They are also the anal-retentive signatures of a designer obsessed with minute details like the angle and color of a single button hole.  Perhaps that’s why his designs seem vintage-inspired; local in-house design and production is a nearly extinct craft borrowing on the long forgotten practices of cobblers and tailors from a bygone era.

fashion’s reckoning

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By Neilah Meyers

Kinetic versus static, transgressive versus successive, the sublime versus the beautiful are distinctions that appear in any deconstructive analysis of an art form. There exists a reckoning in the fashion world regarding integrity of design and point of inspiration where the innovation of past trends are paramount. A vintage piece, for example, cannot simply be reconstructed but must be reinvented in its execution: whether translated through a new print, altering of the silhouette, or augmenting the piece in some distinguishable way; it must represent a new signature.

Some facets of this progression become iconic… its presence within a collection or individual piece invokes a definitive approach that the designer utilizes for a greater effect. To illustrate this point, the use of the stud proves an interesting evaluation. By examining the literal elements of the creative process (i.e. the materials used to compose the work) it can often illuminate parts of the process critical to the overall success of a piece.

The following briefly examines the progression, appropriation and the most outstanding implementations of the stud within contemporary collections. Also,  how innovative executions of this design detail has found its niche in both high-end and mass culture aesthetics alike.

Hermes has integrated the stud in “The Cuff” and “Medor watch,” permanent collection pieces that are among the most popular and identifiable accessories of the design house. Burberry brought it home with their creation on the studded jacket from in their A/W 08 collection: The exaggerated proportion and liberal application created a bold and stunning interpretation. The stud also begs for its Punk presence, the iconic detail seen (everywhere) embellishing every possible surface area on belts and leather jackets. But if innovation remains the emphasis here, the custom tuxedo jacket  by Victor & Rolf (seen below) takes the cake.

The lapel is a literal, three dimensional representation of the stud, flawlessly constructed from bonded silk against wool. The collection as a whole beautifully maintained its direction: Pieces that deceptively allude to three-dimensional shapes, as well as sculptural pieces that define the designer’s inherent style and undeniable talent.

But the interesting evolution of this design principle, extends even further in the context of its successful execution in the realm of mass production. The stud, when done right, is timeless; and now thanks to the internet, exposure to high-end design and immediacy of online outlets, allows consumers to search for the pieces that excite their sensibilities and still maintain the integrity of great design. No longer can a store entice on low price-points alone, but now must hold themselves to a higher standard in what they represent, while simultaneously being as competitive with the high-end deals on Ebay or Zara’s lightening turn-around of this seasons dominant trends.

“When masses can consume [great designs] that are made well it’s a positive: Great design should not be limited to one socioeconomic status and most importantly, it doesn’t have to be. The positive effects go even further here as it keeps designers on their toes to create true works of art – that can’t be so easily replicated because they are such a unique representation of their individual talent.”

This “egalitarian” approach to fashion has become the mark of the true innovators and talent in the industry, those who embrace the contemporaneity of the industry in which they create understand this evolution. The mainstream of fashion is no longer exclusive, but is now accessible, thanks to production conscious (i.e. cost conscious production/infrastructures) and outlets whose reputation depends on the quality of the work they represent to maintain a sophisticated and design-savvy clientele.

Stunning results of which are seen in Annie Costello Brown’s Copper Charm Necklace (an exclusive design for Des Kohan, $235) or the Wide Leather Studded Belt (MobShop $65) that take inspired and stunning execution of covet-worthy pieces to budget-conscious shoppers.

There is really no end to this tangential perspective on a very small cog in the fashion wheel –

Hopefully the montage of these great pieces, seen above, are good eye-candy and the knowledge that brilliant, innovative design has been appropriated for the fashion-obsessed, “champagne taste on a beer budget” demographic (I occupy) serves as a refreshing reality.

[collages by Mirren Gordon-Crozier]

urban birding

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By Lauren Bingham

[from left to right: navy hoodie, bird paintings, bag, black sweater, bird graffiti, wooden birds, wellingtons]

It is always entertaining explaining the concept of ‘birdwatching’ or ‘birding’ to a non-birder.  People unfamiliar with the practice often have one of three responses: utter confusion, delight in the novelty, or suppression of laughter.

Bird watching is a hobby/sport/obsession practiced the world over.  Patrons of the hobby vary in level of dedication, ranging from casual enthusiasts to hardcore extremists.  Hardcore birders are referred to as ‘twitchers’ (particularly in the UK); I like to think of twichers as ‘extreme birders.’  Twitchers keep extensive lists of birds observed over time, and will travel great distances to see a rare bird.  Twitchers can be highly secretive about rare bird sightings, but once the location is leaked to the twitching community a mad rush will often result.  For instance, a group of twitchers 5,000 strong once flocked to Kent, England to see a rare golden-winged warbler; if you don’t believe me, check out this article from Daily Mail.

During early birding expeditions with my ornithologist (= bird professional) friend, I was surprised to learn that expert birders often get all hot and bothered by little brown jobs (LBJ’s).  While I was excitedly spotting big badass hawks and owls, my friend would shout things like, ‘look in the thicket, it’s a golden-crowned kinglet!’  FYI: golden-crowned kinglets are small and mostly brown.  My friend explained that little birds are harder to identify and differentiate (i.e., they all look the same); this means that for true bird enthusiasts, the best stuff comes in little, nondescript, brownish packages.

As California’s statewide migratory waterfowl (a.k.a. DUCK) hunting season opened in October, I realized it was necessary to dust off the old binacs, grab my field guide, and find the nearest marsh or wetland.  My reward: an opportunity to observe the plethora of winter migratory birds cruzing through San Francisco right now.  Though odd bedfellows, birders and hunters both hit the marshes armed with guns and binoculars to celebrate the annual arrival of ducks and geese from northern latitudes.

When I moved to San Francisco two years ago I worried that my birding days were over.  I figured the term urban birdwatching was an oxymoron.  Fortunately, I was wrong.  Many species of birds (even those you would least expect) actually seem to thrive in urban environments. Golden Gate Park is full of nesting red-tailed hawks and red-shouldered hawks, Cooper’s hawks hunt amongst apartment buildings, and ocean/marsh areas ringing the city are a constant source of shorebirds and waterfowl.  Like Manhattan’s Pale Male red-tailed hawk saga, San Francisco has had Peregrine Falcons nesting in the Bay Bridge and other buildings in the city for years.  The PG&E building in downtown SF is the location of a Peregrine nesting box used annually.

Urban birdwatcher that I am, I have a favorite spot in the city to practice my craft.  With views of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, and Marin, the Crissy Field salt marsh is the Cadillac of urban birdwatching locations.  Armed with my binoculars and field guide on foggy winter mornings, I’ve seen countless migrating waterfowl and native birds in this urban bird sanctuary.  Exciting finds like hooded mergansers, goldeneyes, scaups, great blue herons, long-billed curlews… my list could go on forever.

1) Make the birds come to you by putting feeders in your yard or window!  Check out the bungee bird feeder or the modern Perch feeder, Disc feeder21L bird shelter.  Also, Martha Stewart has several fun DIY birdfeeder projects.

2) Beautiful and accurate bird calls.

3) Zeiss Victory FL binoculars; these are the binoculars of my dreams

4) Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America (a must have for any urban bird watcher)!  How else will you know what in the hell you are looking at?

5) Amazing hand care cream from the Portland General Store, wood scented!

6) For indoor inspiration Chris Elsasser’s lightbox

7) And this pin: From the Urban Bird Watcher’s Society!