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San Francisco’s Fashion Scene: Is Sixth Street Becoming The New Seventh Avenue?

San Francisco  is teeming with fresh design talent. Here it’s not just about what looks good that is pushing forward the city’s growing fashion industry, it’s also about what feels great, both consumers and for the industry itself. The Innovative Fashion Council of San Francisco is pushing for dedicated fashion district on Sixth Street in San Francisco that will promote sustainaibility and environmental consciousness in the fashion industry. The word is that when it comes to style, San Francisco has received a lot of calls from London and Paris lately to talk about sustainable fashion.

The size and recognition of the San Francisco fashion scene pales in comparison to its glamorous cousins in New York, London and Paris but you have to remember that some of America’s oldest national clothing brands were born here:  Levis, Espirit and the The Gap to name a few. Even with San Francisco’s hippie reputation, these brands have never been considered ‘crunchy-granola’ yet they have not been identified with sustainability either.  Things are changing rapidly as new players come on the scene.

Sixth Street is gearing up to become a thriving fashion district. Amid the workshops and manufacturing facilities that have recently returned to this neighborhood, emerging designers are presenting their own collections in smaller, off-venue fashion shows, where editors and buyers alike are vying to discover the next big name in sustainable style. While previously San Francisco designers like own Derek Lam, Alexander Wang,  and Erin Fetherston were compelled to relocate to New York because of the lack of a San Francisco fashion scene, things have definitely changed. Newer designers like Colleen Quen and Julie Chaiken are dedicated to building success right here by espousng sustainable fashion values.

“We’re at this tipping point,” says Yetunde Schumann, the founder and president of the Innovative Fashion Council of San Francisco. “If we don’t take that leap now as leaders in the green movement, someone else will do it.”

Can sustainable style really provide San Francisco its fashion niche? it certainly looks that way. According to a recent article in San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine, Tifani Wilt, women’s fashion director at Macy’s West, thinks so. “It’s good to keep San Francisco unique,” Wilt says. “We certainly have the talent here. I don’t think we’ll ever get to the level of fashion in New York and Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which is known worldwide. We have to come up with something else, like going green.”

Her opinion is echoed by the city’s fashion veterans. Eco-friendly and fair-trade-fashion boutiques as Wildlife Works in Cow Hollow, EcoLogiQue in Hayes Valley and Eco Citizen in Russian Hill have opened recently.  Everyday newer boutiques and fashion houses are following in their footsteps.

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Written by Reenita Malhotra

Reenita Malhotra Hora is an Ayurveda clinician, entrepreneur, writer and mom. Her experience has ranged from running Ayoma, an Ayurveda business to running a natural health practice at San Francisco's California Pacific Medical Center.

Reenita is a published author of two books books about health and wellness: ‘Ayurveda - the Natural Medicine of India’ and
‘Inner Beauty’. She is also the Editor for Green Options Media's business blogs and a freelance writer for a variety of print and web publications.

In quieter moments, she likes to spend her time hiking, swimming the warm seas, cooking with the family or writing fantasy fiction adventure stories for kids from from 2 to 92.

Check out her wisdom at

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