STREET SEEN What's in a lookbook? When you're a styling collective that works with one-of-a-kind vintage items, the question is somewhat challenging. Only one person can buy each outfit in Retrofit Republic's newest "Tastemakers" style book, after all.
But co-founder Julia Rhee explains to me in an email that her brand is about way more than call-and-response trend manufacturing. "We could've exclusively sourced from the big box stores when we started our business," she writes. "But we wanted to show clients that we don't have to live in a throwaway culture that constantly churns out fast fashion with no regard to the environment."
Rhee and co-founder Jenny Ton counsel clients who make appointments at their private showroom for styling tips that unique pieces that don't quite fit can be adjusted. "When in doubt, roll it, cuff it, belt it," she says.
"Tastemakers" lookbook: Brown Boi Project founder B. Cole
Angie Chang, founder of Women 2.0 and Bay Area Geek Girl dinners
Given the preponderance of grown-and-sexy types at the release party for their newest lookbook on April 13 at the SoMa-sleek Tank18 tasting room, it would seem that SF (a town whose picked-over thrift stores should tip you off on our luv for secondhand) is down for the Retrofit message.
Or maybe there's another message the party people were responding to. Because instead of populating their campaigns with traditional models, Retrofit is known for making mannequins out of the Bay's social changers. "Tastemakers" features food justice activist-sustainable chef Bryant Terry, feminist tech networker Angie Chang, founder of genderqueer youth leadership advocates Brown Boi Project B. Cole. Past books have included Supervisors Jane Kim and David Chiu.
Founder of Four Barrell Coffee Jeremy Tooker
"As people of color, we're not often given the space to be positively highlighted and affirmed that we are beautiful," Ton writes. "So instead of waiting for that space and change to happen, we decided to take it into own hands, on our terms, to be the change we want to see in fashion and in this world."
CAN YOU SAY Мишка?
Мишка lookbook photos by Chris Brennan