photos courtesy of David Martinez
There’s something incredible happening on the 7th floor of the Macy’s in Union Square.
You wouldn’t know it from the nondescript side entrance, but after several flights of stairs and a couple elevators behind the scenes of the department store, you arrive at the home of Fashion Incubator San Francisco.
Every year, six up-and-coming designers are selected to participate in the Incubator’s program. It functions as a resource to help them test new concepts, fine-tune their ideas, meet professionals in the field, and learn about the legal, accounting, and marketing side of fashion. After a year, the designers have produced two collections and are fully equipped with a business plan for their label.
The space is tailored with that mission in mind: glass-walled offices, a merchandising/showroom for buyers, and a huge workroom are at the designers’ disposal. Fashionista San Francisco got a chance to stop by and talk to three of their designers in residence, and we’d like to introduce them and their work to you!
A few years ago, Sarah asked herself: If I could be doing anything in the world, what would it be? And the answer she landed upon was designing clothes. So she moved to New York to attended Parsons, then returned to California to start her own line. She began selling her clothes at Loft1513, a co-op in Noe Valley. Shortly after, she found her way to the incubator, where she’s crafting a contemporary women’s line for the modern-day San Francisco heroine.
Her clothing is impeccably crafted with an intense focus on versatility — her client is always on the go, dressing first for demanding workday, then going out for dinner and drinks, perhaps even a brunch the following morning. Sarah’s designs can translate to all these different aspects of a busy lifestyle, dressing up and down for all occasions. The two color schemes provide both edgy and lighter options depending on your personal style (not to mention an easy transition from day to evening!), and the silhouettes evoke a sense of professionalism while remaining fun. The versatility also extends to all body shapes: dresses can be belted high on the waist or worn loose, patterns and pleats can be overlaid to make you look your best.
It’s no surprise that the young Bay Area businesswomen are drawn to Sarah’s clothes. Back when she asked herself what she would do if it could be anything in the world, she was in graduate school for biochemistry. Sarah says that while her degree has been helpful in engaging both sides of her brain here at the incubator, the biochemistry doesn’t literally come through in the designs. Rather, it helps her to truly understand the type of woman she’s designing for; and in turn, like-minded women are drawn to her clothing.
When asked about fashion’s place in San Francisco and why she returned after studying in New York, Sarah said that here she’s been able to find her voice: “You can be whatever you want in San Francisco,” she explains, “people are just so open and so free, and it has offered me the freedom to really be myself as a designer.”
We couldn’t agree more with Sarah. For more information on Sarah and other designers at the incubator, click here.
Erica Fagin-Fashionista San Francisco Contributor