SF's Hidden Gems
We’re all fashion enthusiasts here at Garb. We discuss and breathe fashion--but sometimes, taking a short visit down Telegraph to Bows & Arrows and Buffalo Exchange isn’t enough to quench our thirst for more. Luckily, San Francisco carries a wide variety of unique streetwear boutiques that are worth making the trip!
Established in Dogpatch in 2017, Stashed is the up-and-coming urban streetwear boutique for everything and anything trendy. The store’s interior consists of three main areas with contrasting architectures and stockists. The front of the store is met by a clean selection of higher-quality shoes. Stashed contains a diverse range of stockists when it comes to streetwear; there’s something for everybody, whether you’re into shoes like New Balance and Adidas, the latest trends like Off-White and Pleasures, or quality designs and fabrics from the likes of APC, Porter, and Levi’s Made & Crafted. The price range varies from mid-range ($70-150) to high-end ($200+) as well!
Aside from their diverse collection, what keeps me coming back to this store every so often is their staff; they know exactly what article of clothing fits your style! If you’re interested in what’s up and coming in streetwear today, make your way down to Dogpatch whenever you’re in SF--you won’t regret it.
MAAS & Stacks
Sometimes you want a comfortable environment where you can talk fashion, learn fashion, and buy fashion. MAAS & Stacks fits the bill. As you walk inside the small, low-profile shop at Church & Market (near the Castro), you are greeted by a clean, black-and-white interior that sports suspended wooden beams from the ceiling carrying high-end designers like Nonnative, Craig Green, Robert Geller, and Acne Studios. As evident in their stockists, MAAS & Stacks preaches subtlety in unique, quality garments meant for everyday wear. In fact, the back room carries entirely only visvim, a brand renowned for its Americana influences and exceptional construction. The small interior along with the friendly and knowledgeable staff creates for a more close-knit and personable experience. MAAS & Stacks is a definite must if you’re into clean everyday wear.
Hayes Valley is filled with plenty of amazing clothing stores, and Cotton Sheep is no stranger. Since its inception in 2004, Cotton Sheep is a local family business which specializes in Japanese imported goods. The owner Elko personally handpicks select timeless pieces with an emphasis on unique fabrics and stitching akin to patchwork, sashiko, boro, and the brand Kapital. As you walk in the store, you might question whether or not you really are in San Francisco; the mainly-brown interior is carefully constructed to give you a little slice of Japan. The center of the store encompasses a locked collection of rare articles of clothing and jewelry from the likes of visvim and Goro’s, only to be surrounded by a variety of interesting garments (and cute socks)! Cotton Sheep also carries certain magazines that have direct influences and ties to Japanese Americana.
Although the price tag may be excruciatingly high, it is always a great time making conversation with the staff and reading these magazines. I often come out of the store having learned something valuable with regards to fabrics, Americana, and specific brands—and I’m sure you would as well.
Located in North Beach and Valencia, Darkside Initiative is considered the streetwear boutique in the Bay Area. What differentiates Darkside from the rest of the streetwear boutiques is their emphasis on timeless pieces and certain styles. Their range of exclusive labels scream quality fabrics—specifically techwear and higher-end streetwear—and cater towards a more niche audience.
If you’re ever interested in unleashing your Blade Runner cosplay sometime in the future and flexing your Gore-Tex shell and immunity to rain, you should definitely check out what Darkside Initiative has to offer; not only do they carry Acronym (and are the only stockists in the area), but they also carry Arcter’yx Veilance, NikeLab ACG, and Stone Island Shadow Project. These brands all epitomize fully functional gear; while it is obvious that fashion and cyberpunk influences are on the back of these designers’ minds, these clothes are fully meant to be worn in any weather conditions.
Aside from Darkside’s heavy techwear influence, they also carry Japanese staples like Cav Empt, WTAPS, and Neighbourhood, as well as a vast collection of shoes from Adidas, Nike, Converse, and Vans Vault. These Japanese brands all carry a similar ethos such that quality construction and identity are the main focus. For example, WTAPS and Neighbourhood have heavy military influences, while Cav Empt has heavy cyberpunk and dystopian influences in their graphic designs.
Ultimately, Darkside is the shop to be if you’re looking into diving deeper into streetwear and curating a more “edgier” look into your outfits.
Whatever style you’re into, whatever your budget is, all of these stores offer something unique and valuable for those interested in purchasing something, or even just diving deeper into the world of streetwear.
Words by Alan Nguyen