Five & Diamond is a store in San Francisco’s Mission district that sells a wondrous mix of steampunk, circus, victorian and wild western clothing and accessories of all sorts. Part workshop in the back, showroom up front, this is the place for buttery-soft leather gloves and belts, striped ladies’ bloomers, gothic umbrellas, and everything in between.
From their website: “The Five and Diamond Design collective is a collaborative project created to promote local artists and designers while providing a resource to San Franciscans and beyond for unique, artistically designed apparel, jewelry and accessories. The collective encompasses seven local design houses originating with the triple threat of Wildcard, Bootleg and Tawapa, by Leighton Kelly & Phoebe Minona and aided and abetted by Steamtrunk, Shawna Hofmann, Heathen and Jan Hilmer.” Their website has improved recently and is actually quite shoppable these days (hard-to-browse websites seem to be the affliction of many feral fashion houses). Their blog quite is nice too, highlighting new arrivals and seasonal sales.
My infatuation with this store started one afternoon in 2008, my first year living in San Francisco. I was idly clicking around Yelp, trying to get to know my new city. Five and .. Diamond …? I thought, intrigued. 30 seconds later, I madly texted a friend: THERE IS A STEAMPUNK STORE. In THE MISSION. Meet you there at 6. And after paroxysm of delight and much trying on, we left $400 lighter. But richer in sexy, sexy clothing.
The main prize my friend left with that night was a dark green Skingraft canvas jacket, equisitely tooled and roughed, with black leather claw-mark appliqué over the shoulder and elbows (they don’t make it anymore, tragically). In the years since, this is what he told me: “I’ve gotten more compliments on it than anything else, ever… combined. My coworkers are jealous. People step out of my way on the sidewalk.” The true power of feral style. :)
A sad note: originally for this spotlight I wanted to talk about Shawn Hoffman designs, but her website is quite broken. Then I wanted to write about Skingraft – my original, dear, feral fashion love of leather, rivets and holsters – but their line of clothing has sadly shifted into bland haute couture and doubled in price. Both of these brands have been carried by Five and Diamond. In fact, as of this writing, they still have a cool Skingraft Bustle Skirt in stock.
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