It's easy to see why San Francisco attracts surfers, skateboarders, snowboarders and skiers, since the Pacific Ocean is a quick drive from anywhere in the city, hills are everywhere and the Sierra Nevada slopes are a few hours away.
The urban action sports crowd has been a part of San Francisco's counterculture for decades and is now a part of the worldwide urban streetwear craze, which Bilbao, Spain-based Skunkfunk is riding into the U.S. Eight months ago, Skunkfunk opened its first store in North America in San Francisco's Mission district. A second lease this month was signed for a store on New York's Lower East Side and a location in Los Angeles is being scouted.
"It's edgy, but versatile," is how Sheri Calvert, a Skunkfunk U.S. sales representative and surfer, describes the women's and men's line, which is also wholesaled to 200 boutiques in the U.S. and Canada that caters to skateboarders, surfers and DJs, as well as indie fashion stores. "The skaters really dig Skunkfunk, but at the same time, we sell to Fred Segal in Los Angeles."
Among the women's fashions for spring are a soybean and cotton jersey jumper with a crisscross front bodice and built-in bloomers in olive for $60, and a khaki cap-sleeved dress with snap epaulets and a tab collar and deep side cargo pockets on the skirt for $80.
The Skunkfunk label expanded to specialty stores in Europe after starting in the Nineties selling graphic T-shirts at music festivals. Skunkfunk stores are run by licensees. There are five stores in Spain and one each in Dublin and Berlin.
As part of its creative underpinnings, Skunkfunk associates itself with artists and musicians — a marketing strategy that also will be pursued in North America. For example, in Europe, the brand is collaborating with avant-garde Swedish artist Jonas Liveröd to create installations in stores in Madrid and Berlin. "We're inspired by music and art," Calvert said when asked what makes Skunkfunk tick.
Edgy, often surrealistic art tie-ins, some with graffiti painters, are part of the streetwear culture in the U.S. and Canada as well, and are generously represented in San Francisco skateboard, surf and ski shops. In many cases, these stores are becoming as savvy about apparel and design as they are about defying gravity in their action sports."This year, we're going to branch out to do more cut-and- sew," said San Franciscan Tory Treseder, a champion skater who designs $22 silk-screened T-shirts and $65 hoodies for his label, Heat, which is now carrying some women's sizes. The merchandise is sold online, at skater stores and at D-Structure, which Treseder opened two years ago in the Lower Haight with two other top skater-designers of T-shirts and hoodies under the labels Able and Valo. (There are also two D-Structures in Montreal and Quebec City, run by Treseder's skiing and snowboarding friends.)
For sale on D-Structure's walls in San Francisco are abstract oil paintings and limited edition skis fancifully painted by champion ski jumper Eric Pollard. T-shirts neatly line a long shelf below the art in a spare presentation.
An urbanwear competitor down the block, Upper Playground, has extended its artist tie-in to operating a separate gallery and publishing limited edition art books that are also sold at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. One of Upper Playground's featured artists, with a T-shirt, hoodie and tote line, is graffiti-inspired painter Sam Flores.
Rvca (pronounced Roo-ka) in upper Haight-Ashbury opened in November and sells apparel, although about a third of its space is a gallery. The works shown are by artists who are internationally famous skateboarders and surfers competing on Rvca-sponsored teams. The corner store's display windows also feature art by athletes and not a thread of clothing.
Rvca, based in Costa Mesa, Calif., is sold in more than 500 specialty stores including Nordstrom. This season is the first time for Rvca women's apparel. There are artisan T-shirts for $31 — one has a brown wolf silk-screen print by surfer Ashley Macomber, and another, by skateboarder-artist Ed Templeton, is of a blue abstract women's head with two sets of lips and noses.
"It's all about inspiring our generation, providing something of substance and culture as a united family and close-knit community," said assistant manager Sara Pavao — who's also an artist.
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
This Just In: Industry sources have told WWD that Anastasia Soare is rumored to be considering selling her beauty business, @anastasiabeverlyhills. According to those sources, Soare has tapped investment bank Imperial Capital to explore sale options for her eponymous beauty brand –– and with at least $340 million in net sales, this would be a big deal. Put in context of other recent transactions for makeup companies, Soare’s price tag could be in the billions if she were to sell the whole thing. #wwdnews #wwdbeauty (📷: @clint_spaulding)
@assouline’s latest book, “The Spirit of Bentley: Be Extraordinary” captures the adventurous attitudes and opulent lifestyles of @bentleymotors’ most creative owners and enthusiasts throughout the U.K. The 292-page hardcover has a section dedicated to showing its team of skilled artisans and photos of its most colorful owners, from George Bamford to designer @alicetemperley, pictured here by Aline Coquelle. #wwdeye
@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)