Mesmerized by crystals and semi-precious stones, every necklace on the table was like a shiny new object fighting for my attention. “Hi, how are you?” Dear Mina  designer Mina Caragay said with a welcoming smile. It wasn't one of those “hello-you-better-buy-something-or-leave” smirks, but the “hello-feel-free-to-look-around-no-pressure” kind of smile. I was at Thread , SF's annual one-day fashion and design fair, and I was jonesing for accessories.
Caragay's jewelery line is rife with attention-getting statement necklaces, rings, earrings, and bracelets. Rocks are incorporated into the designs that are effortless and wearable. On my wish list: a leather tassel necklace with a semi-precious metallic stone in the center. It just seemed like the perfect holiday present – ahem, for myself.
Dear Mina's objects of desire (the necklaces, c'mon now).
Dear Mina was one the hundreds of designers at the curated event at the Westfield Metreon shopping center on Sunday, Nov. 20. It showcased the best emerging and trend-setting fashion designers, jewelry makers, artists, and vintage hunters.
Thread was created eight years ago to fill the void between mainstream and high fashion “for fashion savvy men and women tired of current offerings at the mall,” as its website proclaims. Traveling around the West Coast from Seattle to San Diego to San Francisco, Thread now serves as a place to buy one-of-a-kind fashions from local up-and-coming designers while DJs and drinks lubricate your retail urges.
Friendly hellos echoed from every table as I browsed. Ample mirrors meant I didn’t feel shy checking myself out as I tried on a cropped red blouse, and a nearby vendor's compliments didn't hurt either. There was even a manicure station to really make the new ring you purchased pop.
Vendors were selling men's screenprinted T-shirts, plaid collared shirts, and military jackets, but the clear front-runner for the male sophisticate was Revel Industries, a wholesale merchandiser of ties. Flamboyant colored silk bow ties – no clip-ons, please – decorated the table. Pink, purple, and green striped skinny ties spilled out of a vintage suitcase. The ties, which are designed in San Francisco and produced overseas, are sold at local boutiques right in the Mission at discounted prices.
Other designers had traveled from Southern California, like the Killer Styling team from San Diego. Its busy corner had girls pushing through the racks of reworked vintage pieces from every era. Nycole Garza, the vintage seeker and seamstress, handpicks every piece and alters them to emulate current trends. Maybe you’d like a purple-and-green floral 1970s dress cut into a tunic? Or a vintage blue suede jacket whose drab black buttons had been swapped for ones with antique gold lion faces? It was all there – at affordable prices – in addition to vintage shoes, handbags and sunglasses.
Thread was a rare -- and inspiring for this budding fashionista -- opportunity to talk to vendors on a personal level. Sure the prices were reasonable, and the clothes exciting, but the personal interaction alone blew the typical Westfield Metreon shopping experience out of the water.