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A Sports Boutique For People Who Don't Necessarily Like Sports

The Lower Haight is a hip shopping destination in the making -- in the last year, new stores have popped up on Haight Street turning this cheap eats and cheap drinks neighborhood into a serious retail area. The newest kid on the block is D-Structure, a clothing, ski/skate gear and accessories store that opened its doors in late 2006, taking over the space used by a futon furniture store.

Although D-Structure still uses the huge basement that once stored all the furniture -- they open it to the public for wherehouse sales from time to time -- you won't find much else that resembles the former store. The space got a total make-over: the walls received a much deserved coat of fresh white paint, the high ceilings have been painted brown, and wood has taken over as the décor and furniture of choice. This once dark and packed-with-futons room is now an airy and well-lit showroom.

Upstairs, Azikiwee Anderson plans events and art shows for the store. A former professional roller-blader, Anderson grew up in the Lower Haight, just a few blocks away. The neighborhood was a different place when he was a kid.

"My Mom wouldn't let me out of the house, it was so dangerous," he explained. Today, Anderson is happy to see that artists are given a chance to exhibit their work in neighborhood stores and he’s excited to be a part of that community.

Non-sports fans welcome
D-Structure isn't local but the Montreal-based company seems to have adapted very well in the short few months it’s been here -- and when half of your selection is skis and inline skates that could be a hard thing to pull off. So what’s their secret? Well it’s probably thanks to the friendly staff who never makes one feel like they shouldn’t be there because they don’t know a thing about skating or even have a clue what “freeskiing” means.

You don’t have to love the sport to like the clothes. If you’re looking for cool shirts, walk over to the single line of women’s and men’s clothes that stands in the middle of the room. Some favorite finds include a Heat light pink tee with puffy sleeves ($35), a Line woman's hoodie with a zipper ($32), and a blue Able tee with birds flying to the right shoulder, a brand started by Anderson ($24).

By the counter and along the walls around the store, you’ll find Tank Theory shirts for $26. This New York brand has created an artist society series for which they ask an artist to design a number of shirts and sell it in exclusive locations including here.

In the back, ski aficionados will find colorful skis by Armada among other brands, for adults and children running in the $300 range. Ski poles start at $28 and you can complete the outfit with a Line backpack ($29) and a Siver Cartel beanie with earflaps ($18).

The store is currently having a red tag sale. If you buy two shirts, you'll get a third one half off and if you buy three, you'll get one free. There's also 20 percent off on sweatshirts.

See art and party
Anderson loves the fact that there’s a “real appreciation for art, fashion, and style in the Lower Haight.” To allow emerging and seasoned artists to show off their work, he’s chosen a few to exhibit their work in the store.

“I really wanted to have Arlo Eisenberg for our first artist,” he explains, “ I love his art because when you first look at it you think ‘look at the cute little… wait it's flipping me off!’" he says laughing.

Eisenberg's art is hand-drawn, scanned into a computer, hand-traced and rebuilt in Adobe Illustrator. His work at D-Structure includes a mural painting (a behind-the-scenes video can be seen on the store’s website) a giclee print on paper of a butterfly that looks like an alien with a big heart and goggles called “Butterfly” ($750, 30x45); a turtle that says don't get it twisted ($700, 35x35); and a drawing of a blue guy with headphones who’s cutting an orange monkey's arm titled “Another Jesus” ($1,100, 40x47).

In April, the work of Pete Doolittle, who has been doing street art for more than seven years in the Lower Haight, will be featured. For a preview of that show, you can already check out some robots that Doolittle has painted on the store front. After that, the store is planning on showing local artist Andy Yang, whose work is inspired by Japanimation.

Anderson also organizes about six video screenings a year. The next one will be a skate documentary called "The Apple That Fell Far From The Tree". There will be a showing followed by a party on March 16th.