25C: Oakland’s Conscious Fashion Collective

Upcycled earrings by Scorpion Sisters

By Bianca Alexander

If you’ve spent any time lately hanging in the San Francisco Bay area, you’ve likely discovered that Oakland is quickly becoming the place to be for all things artistic, edgy and chic.

For years, neighborhoods like Pacific Heights, Chinatown and SoMa held the fixation of fashionistas and art aficionados on the prowl for one-of-a-kind statement pieces that would never have one spotting double at a cocktail party.

But with the dot com explosion of the early 2000s and inevitable gentrification of some of the city’s most colorful barrios, Oakland has quickly become one of NoCal’s fastest growing pockets of urban cool. Long ago, Oakland had a reputation of being a place you didn’t want to get stuck in after dark. Today, it has some of the best jazz in the Bay Area and a growing crop of artists, revolutionaries, and healthy eateries that make the short trip across the Bridge well worth the effort.

One of the brighter stars amidst this growing constellation of hipster pioneers lies the 25th Street Collective. Nestled in a spacious, brightly lit warehouse just off of bustling Broadway, the Collective combines a few of the things people love most about San Francisco –food, style and sustainability–all under one roof.

With a vision of promoting “slow food and slow fashion,” founder and textile designer Hiroko Kurihara hand-selected 6 other artisans to join her eco-enclave. The warehouse space is laid out beautifully: high ceilings, a funky lounge/performance area, and mini-boutiques conjoined with low walls that encourage easy shopping and a free exchange of ideas.

Just inside the main entrance sits 2 Mile Wines, an organic wine bar, tasting room and somewhat surprisingly, mini-distillery replete with neatly-stacked oak barrels filled with wine made from locally picked grapes. In the back sits a large cutting table where artisans like Moxie Shoes and O’Lover Hats create handmade wares. The entire space hums with creativity.

Style-hunters will enjoy treasure troving at the 25 C. From Hiroko ‘s plush boiled wool sweaters, gloves and blankets inset with razor cut motifs to Platinum Dirt’s edgy leather jackets, bags and cuffs made from repurposed car seats and Ghetto Goldilocks Steampunk-couture from reclaimed fabrics, there’s something for every style personality. Finish with a statement piece from Scorpion Sisters, who craft theatrical necklaces, earrings and bracelets from geological stones and upcycled estate jewelry.

With all these wardrobe options at your fingertips, styling this season is sure to be a snap.


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