Born from the influence of west coast surf and skate culture, street wear is a distinctive genre of fashion that has grown to represent a spectrum of subcultures ranging from hip hop styles to Japanese street fashion. Just as Southern California’s influence to Shawn Stussy in the 1980’s, The Bay Area holds it’s own multi-faceted and sub culturally diverse lifestyles contributing to the conversation of street wear. Below are the Bay Area’s top street wear brands:
Benny Gold | San Francisco, CA
Formally the original designer behind notable skate influenced streetwear brand HUF, Benny Gold has crafted his own personal brand focusing on an anti-corporate “works for jerks” message alongside well designed high quality clothing. As founder, owner, and designer of the Benny Gold brand, the San Francisco native is a strong representation of the do-it-yourself independent lifestyle. Notable designs include their glider plane logo and San Francisco inspired fog camouflage print.
Visit their website at https://bennygold.com/
Black Scale | San Francisco, CA
Representing a darker genre in street wear, HUF alums Mega and Alfred created Black Scale, focusing on monochromatic color palettes and themes of esoteric imagery such as the illuminati. In sharp contrast to the common streetwear brand’s bubbly cartoonish imagery, the geometric designs create a strong and minimal undertone in the brand’s style garnering a cult following of their own.
Visit their website at https://black-scale.com/
Breezy Excursion | San Jose, CA
Growing up with knowledge of Microsoft paint and a copy of Illustrator for Dummies, San Diego State college graduates Ryan Mante and Christian Lilleland, began selling t-shirts out of their cars. Their success comes from their brand’s distinct style elements centered on drawing nostalgia without being cheesy. These clever and humorous graphics with themes of early 90’s pop culture have grown their business accounts across the United States, Japan, and Europe. This streetwear collection has gained lots of attention for its creative designs and style ideas.
Visit their website at http://breezyexcursion.com/
Hella Original | Oakland, CA
After rupturing an achilles tendon in a street basketball game, then Vice Principal of Hayward’s Leadership Public School, Omar Wandera came to his creative senses to create a clothing line that inspired their customers to bravely brand themselves and advertise their own individualism and originality. The brand takes elements of Bay Area hip hop music and puts them into streetwear clothing. The clothing has been worn by notable celebrities such as hip hop rapper Snoop Dogg and professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Visit their website at http://www.hellaoriginal.com/
HUF | San Francisco, CA
Keith Hufnagel is an icon of 1990s era of skate and street culture. Although a New York native, his influence changed the face of San Francisco skateboarding and inspired him to launch his namesake brand and boutique on Sutter Street. The boutique became a destination for world-class streetwear, footwear, and skating accessories. Today the brand is globally recognized for skate culture.
Visit their website at https://www.hufworldwide.com/
Imaginary Zebra | Davis, CA
Founded by UC Davis graduates, Imaginary Zebra is an independent lifestyle brand and design lab. Alongside their own clothing brand, they have expanded to collaborating with passionate people to create brand identities that reflect the values and essence of multiple companies and help kick start other independent clothing brands. Imaginary Zebra has been successful in their pursuit of streetwear and branding, and has partnered with Intel, Ted X, and Yale University on branding projects
Visit their website at http://www.imaginaryzebra.com/
Petals and Peacocks | San Jose, CA
Founded by couple,Victoria Velasquez and Ryan Mante in 2011, their brand represents the confident independent individual. They draw their design inspiration from vulgar humor, witty comebacks, and boundary pushing sass. Their passion is evident as they continue to create from life experiences and gain publications in the likes of Nylon Magazine.
Visit their website at https://petalsandpeacocks.com/
True SF | San Francisco, CA
Another Haight Street veteran, True SF opened their doors in 1996, displaying a range of streetwear brands and rare shoe releases. The brick and mortar store is still open today expanding its goods to women’s apparel, kids apparel, and accessories. Their logo is distinct and often has background imagery paying homage to California culture.
Visit their website at https://www.trueclothing.net/
Upper Playground | San Francisco, CA
Started by Matt Revelli in 1998, Upper Playground began it’s journey as an art and fashion company in a small record store in lower Haights San Francisco. The brand has now propelled into a multi-platform international lifestyle brand integrating the work of local and international artist and designer featured clothing and housewares occupying half a block of Fillmore Street. The brand now has over 300 stores running globally and also collaborates with San Francisco art gallery FIFTY24SF.
Visit their website at http://www.upperplayground.com/
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