Last Saturday January 28, fashionistas flocked to the “Infinity Club Lounge” for the second Geek Style Lounge event presented by Fashion+TechSF. This event showcased emerging local designers, products and technologies and provided a forum for fashion bloggers to mingle and promote themselves.
Here are some of the more interesting up-and-coming companies we talked to.
Founded by Berkeley grad Dan Soha (also Principal and President of Five Mill Ventures), SoMa-based Argoz is all about argyle socks. They brought but a tiny trunk stuffed with colorful socks. The inaugural collection takes cues from runway trends including color blocking and pastels.
Argoz socks are currently available in 16 colorways and three sizes — regular (calf-length, $15), large ($15) and knee-high ($18). Each colorway has its own name, some of which include the Undergrad, Graduate, FiDi, SoMa and Road Trip. Argoz officially launched in January and currently the socks can only be purchased at www.argoz.com.
LA-based leather goods company Mbarqgo makes sexy, stealthy accessories for holding important things like cash, passports, mobile phones and tablets. A far cry from traditional, painfully geeky holsters, this company designs bags, wallets, holsters and high-end leather accessories for jet setters and fashionistas who want to tote their valuables in style.
The Toast ($279), while classified as a “holster bag”, is a sexy holster modeled after cross-backed numbers sported by badass detectives. Sized to accommodate cell phones, passports, business cards and other small personal effects, the attached bag sits comfortably under arm on one side for easy access.
As its name implies, The Backup ($110) is strapped to the ankle (or arm) for stealthy concealment of valuables. The Vendetta ($275) is a hip/thigh strap piece for ladies, that keeps valuables at hip level; way more sizzling than the old-school pocket holster.
Director of Creations Justin Hudson was particularly excited to show off a prototype of a not-yet-available folio style case that holds an iPad, cell phone, business cards, memory sticks and anything else an international man or woman of mystery might need.
Started by UC Berkeley grads, San Francisco-based Boom Tho is a streetwear company with a funky retro beach vibe punctuated by pops of bright color. All the clothing is designed by founder Rod Benson, a former Cal basketball player/prominent blogger who now balances Boom Tho with his pro ball career in South Korea.
Boom Tho’s line consists of tees, tanks, crewneck slim-fit sweatshirts, snap-back hats and beanies. Their signature puzzle-camo print is popular, the latest star sighting on Juelz Santana sporting a Boom Tho beanie from the current Winter collection.
The company name comes from a “catch phrase” Benson and his pals coined in college, meaning “the occurrence of an uncommonly good thing,” according to cofounder Jason Gant, who also oversees the company’s Sales and Operations.
Launched just last week, startup Getwear invites designers, professional or amateur, to design denim. The site features many styles of jeans with endless customization options. Or, users can design custom jeans down to their own measurements.
Ladies can customize skinny, slim, straight-leg, boot cut, flare, trouser or boyfriend-style jeans. Men’s styles include straight-leg, tapered, flare, baggy, slim, vintage straight, skinny, boot cut, bell-bottom or loose. All start at a base price of $99. Customization options include color, wash, embroidery, denim weight, pocket styles, zip or button flies, waist rises and a plethora of options for distressing.
Once the jeans are designed, users can either purchase, or sell the jeans through www.getwear.com. Each pair of jeans is made to order in India with a two-week turnaround time, and if purchased by other site visitors, the jeans designer can ear $10. In just one week, the company boasted 551 jeans styles by 78 users.
The ladies behind Abrot discovered an unexpected market upon returning to San Francisco from their native Poland with handbags that couldn’t be found locally. A few months ago they launched Abrot, working with skilled European purse makers to bring handmade Italian leather bags from Poland.
Many of the bags utilize scrap leathers, so there are no more than thirty bags in each style and no material is wasted. It also means each Abrot bag is slightly different from the next. “Abrot” comes from the Polish word “Torba” (meaning handbag) spelled backwards. Currently Abrot bags can be purchased at www.abrot.com.
San Jose-based company mypressi demoed the first handheld espresso-making machine on the market. Named Twist, the contraption puts espresso-making capabilities in the hands of those with the tiniest kitchens (no room for a clunky machine). Event attendees sampled shots of espresso with vodka and Bailey’s Irish Cream — a tasty concoction with nary a taste of alcohol — a deliciously convincing demo.
The Urban Class Boutique
The Urban Class Boutique owner Tamisha Monet (another Cal alum) crafts all of the jewelry from her Ami line by hand. Utilizing 100% leathers and interesting metallic findings and beads, her pieces have a decidedly urban flavor.
The Urban Class Boutique’s web store will relaunch in March, and Monet also has plans to open a brick-and-mortar shop in Berkeley.
SF stylist Bianca Starr showed off her styling prowess with three glamorous models. The first look was a drapey buttonless cream-colored blouse (with peekaboo flirty ivory brassiere) tucked into a curve-hugging slinky tan pencil skirt. Black chiffon wide-leg pants, sleek black jacket with a flesh-colored mesh bodysuit underneath completed the look on the second model. Third was a flowy off-the-shoulder sequined tunic paired with what looked to be canvas-coated jeans. Unfortunately without a mic, it was virtually impossible to hear Starr explain the ensembles.
The Fashion Bloggers Connect Panel also suffered the effects of no sound system or microphones amidst the excited chatter of attendees who were browsing goods and talking amongst themselves. Jes Ryzenberg (Ryzenberg On), Jennie Lodge (Going West), Zavan Quezada (Boyish.TV), Jacyn Siebert (Sugar Lips Lifestyle Tips) and Mai Le (Fashioni.st) shared their thoughts, triumphs and tribulations in fashion blogging and musings on the local fashion scene.