We Wanna Be Friends With: Designer Erica Tanov

We Wanna Be Friends With: Designer Erica Tanov


Our city is chock-full of interesting people and wild personalities. Overwhelmed by the coolness? Every week we'll pick one standout local we'd love to be friends with to answer seven essential questions about their life in San Francisco.

Bay Area local Erica Tanovstarted her career in NYC designing silky slips and chemises in 1990, and moved back to Berkeley to open her first shop in 1994. What started as personal "rediscovering" of herself as a designer has turned into a budding lifestyle brand, and today Erica has a women's, kid's, and bedding line that you can find in her four Bay Area shops (Berkeley, SF, Marin and NYC) and sold in boutiques around the country.

The clothing she makes is whimsical and fun, and crafted with stunning, colorful fabric (much of which she designs herself). Described as "bohemian-in-the-big-city," Erica's pieces have a certain well-traveled vibrancy thats very Berkeley-cool. Along with her own pieces, Erica stocks handmade jewelry, scents, and accessories, all of which fit so seamlessly into her overall cool-kid vibe. 

We love how Erica constructs her clothing with interesting and well-made materials, instead of banking fads or flashy labels to attract a loyal clientele, and we're so excited she took the time to answer the Bay Area edition of our We Wanna Be Friends With Q&A!

1. What neighborhood do you currently call home? Would you ever move or are you happy in your 'hood?

North Berkeley and I love my neighborhood. I walk out my door and smell trees and earth, yet I can walk to a nearby market or cafe. Although I do dream of one day moving to a crumbling farmhouse in the middle of nowhere with plenty of dogs and goats to "live off the land."

2. What's your hands-down, absolute favorite thing to eat in the East Bay

That's a hard one. I have so many favorites--not just one. Here are a few: the kale sandwich at Bartavelle, the Brussels sprouts & the paper thin fried potatoes w/ herbs and aioli at Cesar, the 1001 Arabian nights pizza at Nizza la Bella (served only when pomegranates are in season). 

3. What's your perfect night out?

Going to hear my husband Steven Emerson perform at Jupiter in Berkeley. I bring the kids and we sit outside and have pizza and wine (for me!) and enjoy the music.

4. When you need a low-key afternoon, where do you go for down time?

UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens. Or meet a friend for a glass of wine at Bartavelle.

5. What's your favorite place to go on a day trip from Berkeley?

Stinson Beach!

Quick-fire round:

Burrito or burger?

Burrito (But sometimes I gotta have a burger!).

Fenton's or Ici Ice Cream?


Lake Merritt or Lake Temescal?

Lake Temescal.

The Paramount or The Fox Theater?

Depends on who's performing, but I'll say The Fox.

Bakesale Betty's or Brown Sugar Kitchen?

Bakesale Betty's.

First Fridays or the Oakland Museum?

The Oakland Museum.

Shopping on Telegraph or in Temescal?


7. Three words that describe your life in Berkeley?

Relaxed. Diverse. Beautiful. 

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