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Highlights from The Bay Area Independent Fashion Festival

We were definitely a little sad a few months ago when we discovered (quietly) that SF Fashion Week was no longer. It was a valiant effort, which began in 2005, on the part of local events producer Erika Gessin to create a cohesive fashion event for Bay Area designers held every August. But with its rumored organizational problems and, now, the depressed state of the economy, we weren’t terribly surprised the local fashion shows eventually tapped out. It’s still yet to be seen whether the relatively new Innovative Fashion Council of San Francisco will be able to eventually get the support and funding needed to launch The Fashion Event the city so craves. But in the meantime, there have still been plenty of smaller scale festivals, trunk shows and catwalk moments around town to showcase local talent and keep the indie scene afloat.

Case in point: The Bay Area Independent Fashion Festival hosted at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts over the weekend. Sponsored by the Fashion Council, Ban 5 and California College of the Arts, the low-key event gathered about 50 local designers for a cozy vendor fair, fashion and politics panel and a craft and couture runway show. Similar to the Hayes Valley Capsule Festival, the event had that familiar homespun feel and ended up being a great place to discover some little known designers. Our favorite discovery? Christine Uemura, a jewelry designer from San Jose, who crafts beautiful, one-of-a-kind cuffs out of metal overlaid with Japanese rice paper and coated in resin. Check out her work and a few other highlights from the festival.


Christine Uemura jewelry


Fashion and Politics Do Mix Forum: panelists Erica Varize (Berkeley designer),
Irene Hernandez-Feiks (founder of Chillin Productions), Leslie Rabine and Susan Kaiser
(both of U.C. Davis' Department of Textiles and Clothing Department)


Clothing vendors set up shop at the Locally Bazaar vendor fair