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The Mission Statement
Local Flavor that’s Anything But Stodgy
by Jialin Luh on Jun 20, 2008
The phrase “Mission Statement” is probably not the first to pop into your head when you’re trying to come up with a place to shop for unique items from local designers, and certainly is not often synonymous with “fun”. But don’t let that deter you from The Mission Statement, a charming four-month-old co-op featuring the works of local designers. Unlike some of the other great locally-oriented establishments, The Mission Statement carries not only a tasty variety of clothing and accessories, but swoon-worthy lighting and other home accents as well.
Longtime friends Estrella Tadeo and Yugala Priti sold their designs in different studios in the Mission over the years and had their hearts set on opening their own place in the neighborhood. When applying for their current space on 18th at Lexington, Estrella found herself frantically racking her brain for naming inspirations. After staring at business plans prompting for a mission statement, Estrella and Yugala encountered a nearly simultaneous light bulb moment of clarity and dubbed their shop The Mission Statement.
Permanent bars on the storefront put a little dampener on the appealing window display, but The Mission Statement actually has refreshingly consistent and convenient hours: noon til eight in the evening every day of the week, which means a little extra time to squeeze some shopping in after your nine-to-five if you have one. Despite having a barred front window, the interior of the store is open and invites you to stay for a spell. Everything is artfully arranged in the quaint space to accommodate a diverse array of merchandise in many styles without inducing claustrophobia.
Since its opening Estrella and Yugala have maintained a co-op of eleven members including themselves (all locals), all of whom actively participate in running and marketing The Mission Statement, including working in the store. There’s something so satisfying about being able to walk in and have a conversation with someone about a particular item they designed and hear the story behind it. Estrella and Yugula are picky about which designers get to participate and what they sell, selecting only goods they consider unique and of high quality, which translates to a rewarding experience for all who set foot in the shop. And though everything you’ll find in the store is high quality, pricing covers a wide spectrum to accommodate your budget.
First to catch my eye upon entering The Mission Statement were two adorable plush characters: “Monkeystuffie” and “Raincloud stuffie”, both handmade in SF from environmentally friendly materials (bamboo and recycled fleece) as part of the oda collection. The cheerful monkey and grey cloud harboring affable-looking raindrops (both $28) beg to adorn a nursery, cubicle or any wall in a happy home. oda’s clothing line, however, consists of complex and meticulously embellished couture pieces drawing from “Edwardian tradition and… Tokyo-pop flavor”. The mint-hued embellished cotton voile bubble dress rings in at $470.
Don’t have that kind of money to throw around? Not to worry; a pale yellow dotted empire shirt dress reminiscent of lemon poppy seed goodness with black satin ribbon at the waist ($88) from Moon Collection and flirty skirt with tasteful cutouts for a sexy peek-a-boo effect by Monteau ($52) will take you from day to evening at an affordable price. A blue jersey dress with crocheted and flower appliquéd back won’t break the bank and is much more original than what you’d find at Urban Outfitters.
Gals seeking something in the casual vein won’t be disappointed with the delightful selection of Oakland’s Culture Consumer tops. A cutesy puff-sleeved black tee sprinkled with strawberries (not hyphy all-over print, thankfully) has a terrifically worn in vintage feel, and the long sleeve tees and babydoll camis feature artsy non-played-out prints with interesting placement on comfortable cottons. Culture Consumer also has a collection of men’s hand screened tees.
One of my favorites in the men’s department is a pair of aptly named “Davis-engineer stripe” flat-front trousers reminiscent of the blue-and-white striped Osh overalls but finely tailored with slash pockets ($158) by Estrella. A fully-stocked wall of men’s clothing provides no excuse for male friends to linger impatiently outside while the girls browse all the goodies inside.
Accessory-wise, San Francisco design duo Joshu+Vela comes in fine form with mouth-watering belts and bags naturally dyed from indigo, mango bark and mahogany leaf. Distinctively stylish and durable laptop bags ($144) and leather pyramid stud belts ($150) are only a sampling of what they offer. Before you start groaning about Hot Topic and punk posers, the belts feature not the ubiquitous and overdone metal pyramid studs; the pyramids are constructed through the inside of the belt so the exterior (and the pyramids) are all leather -- very successfully and uniquely rendered. You’ll find three classy jewelry collections at the rear of the store by three designers with unique looks.
For the stylish baby, it doesn’t get better than Lali clothing . This popular line of children’s clothing includes brightly colored onesies with fun sewn-on graphics -- think owls, raccoons, whales, bumble bees and the like. Most fall in the $30-40 price range with all items being handmade.
For the home you’ll find dazzling lighting and wastebaskets by world-renowned Venezuelan designer Pablo Pardo, who established his design studio in San Francisco. If you’re looking for some artwork to jazz up your space pick up a print or two from Lower Haight artist Ursula Young.
For your beauty regimen, The Mission Statement stocks Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics, as well as the fascinating TanTowel -- a box of 10 self-tanning towlettes to achieve the bronzed look without sun damage and tanning beds -- and Yu●Be, a Japanese moisturizing cream that was tested by explorer Sumiyo Tsuzuki on her ascent to the summit of Mt. Everest.
By offering a wide selection of goods beyond clothing and accessories, Estrella and Yugula envision The Mission Statement as a lifestyle store and the result is an appealing destination you may find yourself frequenting with pleasure. This Sunday June 22nd The Mission Statement is hosting their first annual block party and fashion show on Lexington. The runway will feature designs not only from the co-op but also from minnie wilde and Zoë Bikini. Music by Anthem and Kentura with other local DJs and routines by Double Dutch promise a lively afternoon, with live art by Tribus-Vivas. Grand prize for the raffle is a style/wardrobe makeover by The Mission Statement, valued at $500 and other prizes will include goodies from the co-op and gift certificates to local restaurants and bars. Check it out!
by Jialin Luh on Jun 20, 2008