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Break out the Pee-Chee folders and start the long goodbye to summer by with this guide to Sacramento fashion, accessories and more
Time for some tough news, Sacramento: It’s late August. Meaning summer will be over in a few weeks. Meaning you need to start thinking about wearing actual shoes again. Rompers will need to be packed away quite soon, as will your microbrewery tank-top collection. But the upside is this: It’s also almost back-to-school season, and even for those no longer living the life of JanSport backpacks and Trapper Keepers, it’s a good time to stock up on new gear. And, though Sacramento may not be an international shopping destination just yet, the community of local vendors appearing at the various craft fairs, farmers markets and boutiques around town is primed to take off. The following are five local companies whose keen eye for design and attention to craftsmanship and environmental issues are well-deserving of patronage by those getting ready to restock this fall.Feisty duds
It may be that Sacramento is not ready for designer Noelle Tavares. Born and raised in the area, she’s been an active presence in the local fashion scene since 2004 with her clothing line Faedrah and has been producing her line FineTuned Threads since 2009. But Tavares’ work—bold, custom-made pieces intended to be a trophy in one’s closet—has usually flourished elsewhere: the Bay Area, down south, back east. Even the United Kingdom and Africa. “It’s a different ball game [in Sacramento], stylewise. You’ve got your Capitol crowd, and then—I hate to use this word, but you’ve got the hipsters. I feel like I fall somewhere in between.”
That area in between manifests itself as embellished cutoff jean shorts; crop tops created out of old T-shirts featuring the logos of baseball teams; a screen-printed T-shirt that reads, in a sophisticated typeface, “classy mother fucker,” and one printed with that ever-NorCal word, “hella.” The vivacious 33-year-old spent time in San Diego, Los Angeles and New York before coming back to the capital city, where she’s worked continuously on her own clothing lines in addition to working as a stylist and visual merchandiser and at various retail spots.
SN&R got an exclusive first look at the forthcoming fall collection consisting of crew-neck sweatshirts with jeweled collars, and elbow patches (“grandma swag,” Tavares calls it), tunics created out of oversized T-shirts, and camouflage spliced with plaid. Prices range from $18 to $150. Select pieces are available at Heart Clothing Boutique (1903 Capitol Avenue) and through Tavares’ Etsy shop online at www.etsy.com/shop/finetunedthreads.Tasteful suds
In 2011, Denise Sergent and her husband decided to sell the home they built in Sonoma—a gorgeous, light-filled place in the woods straight out of Sunset magazine—and move to Wilton, where they established a five-year plan to become self-sufficient homesteaders. Two years in, the couple is raising chickens, drawing water from a well, growing their own food and creating products for the Old Homestead Hideaway shop—mainly soap and rustic crates, along with the organic produce they sell at area farmers markets. The bars of soap, made from all-natural ingredients with either an olive-oil or shea-butter base, look and smell good enough to eat—Sergent said she has actually seen people take a bite out of it. But what, aside from giving off a false impression of edibility, makes the soap so special? “The glycerin is still in it,” Sergent explained. “The big manufacturers have ’beauty bars’ because they can’t legally call it soap. They remove the glycerin, which is a key ingredient, perhaps for a longer shelf life.” This fall, keep an eye out for the lemongrass-goat’s-milk soap Sergent is bringing back by popular demand. Prices start at $5. Available at the Good: Street Food + Design Market (1409 Del Paso Boulevard) on the first Sunday of every month through December 8, and online at http://ohhshop.com.A green, good Samaritan
Origin Recycled Goods founder Scott Westbrook was in college when the idea of waste really started to bother him—so much so that he and his younger brother started “upcycling” other peoples’ trash into usable items. Eventually, the Sacramento-born-and-raised Westbrook, an avid bicycler, translated this into repurposing discarded bike inner tubes—along with trimmings from old dress shirts, seatbelts and repurposed zippers—into the bags, watches and accessories that now make up the ORG line. And Westbrook doesn’t stop his eco-friendly mission at just the product itself. Aside from collecting materials by bike, he makes all local deliveries on two wheels, too. Shipping is done in recycled packaging, and even his business cards and product tags are made out of seed paper that Westbrook makes himself. “There are many points where I can cut corners,” he said, “but I am committed to doing what is environmentally responsible. Even if it is harder.” Prices range from $25 to $130. Available at Flywheel (545 Downtown Plaza, Suite 1047), Article Consignment Boutique (5704 Elvas Avenue), and online at www.originrecycledgoods.com.Wearing whimsy
Formerly designing under the separate brands of Archradish and Sensible Apparel, the now-affianced artist couple Dan Aguilar and Rita Okusako are currently in the process of merging their clothing and art lines into one brand, ThoughtLion. Okusako’s designs tend toward the more ethereal and intricate. Her latest, a depiction of a theme park in Uruguay, is simultaneously whimsical and eerie: “There’s a big mechanical hand yanking a constrained skeleton in the front of the building, and instantly, it conjured up feelings of a lack of control,” she said.
Aguilar, who got his start designing shirts for bands he’d previously played in, shows a slightly more playful (though still fantastical) side. His latest design is of a crab whose shell is a castle, something he attributes to his longtime fascination with crustaceans.
The shirts themselves are printed on American Apparel T-shirts, and some of them are organic cotton—a choice Aguilar knew would raise the price point, but quality and comfort were a top priority. Eventually, the couple hopes to expand the line into prints and paper goods. Available at Cuffs (2523 J Street, Suite 101), and Bows & Arrows (1815 19th Street) and online at http://thoughtlion.com.Green apple
Spend a few minutes browsing Ana Apple merchandise, and the urge to buy one of the baby bibs that reads “nom nom” or a onesie sporting a turntable made out of recycled-bottle felt is almost irrepressible—even if there are no little bitties in your life. In addition to producing hip, eco-conscious kids’ wear, the line also offers some pretty nifty nerd-chic stuff for adults: women’s tanks that have a bow tie and buttons cut out from limited-edition fabrics, and men’s T-shirts that get a similar treatment with a cutout tie and shirt pocket.
The handcrafted pieces are pretty rad in and of themselves, but the sprinkles on the icing on the cake? Founder Ana Manzano is sincerely invested in her brand not just as a company, but as a part of the community. Last year, through sales of her Cali Love series, she generated several hundred dollars for the rebuilding efforts of the McKinley Park playground after it burned down, and two years ago, she began the Sharing is Caring program in which a portion of all proceeds go to area organizations, like the Getty Owl Foundation (which promotes spinal muscular-atrophy awareness) and The Mustard Seed School. Next on the docket? Manzano recently launched an Indiegogo campaign for the Little Eco-Hearts series: green-themed superhero-costume sets aimed at promoting Earth-friendly awareness in our youngest citizens (www.indiegogo.com/projects/litte-eco-hero-sets). Available at Exhibit S and Flywheel at Downtown Plaza (545 Downtown Plaza), the Good: Street Food + Design Market, the This Midtown street fair (1050 20th Street) on Saturday, September 14, and online at www.anaapple.com.