As if fashion writers didn't have enough people to snipe at, now two of them are going after one another's respective cities. When the New York Times' Guy Trebay wrote his fashion travelogue "The Tribes of San Francisco," he probably didn't think he was being especially hard on the California town. But it's also pretty clear that he condescends a tiny bit to his subject, like a 19th-century anthropologist writing about the charming savages of a distant and backwards culture. San Francisco's "local style ... seems to be generated by some loopy organic collective impulse rather than an editorial cabal," Trebay reports.
There is no shoe of the season here. There is no It bag. Except perhaps for the pulp-novel heiresses Vanessa and Victoria Traina (who anyway are almost New Yorkers), there are no Vogue-anointed darlings-du-jour. "People will wear vintage with some D.I.Y. thing they made themselves with some piece that they couldn’t resist in a boutique," Ms. Grim said. "They’re not afraid to mash things up."
... It is not that locals have never heard of Tom Ford, said Miguel Lopez, whose Sui Generis on Market Street is the default outfitter to the Castro tribe. ... "It’s that people here don’t want to show what they have in their closets," said Mr. Lopez, a native of Guadalajara, Mexico, who opened Sui Generis three years ago with a partner to offer a style alternative to a population whose last important contribution to fashion amounted to the sanded crotch jeans and white T-shirt uniform of so-called gay clones.
San Francisco Appeal's Ramona Emerson gets offended. "There's almost nothing New Yorkers like more than writing about San Francisco in a patronizing tone that suggests our city is their city's half-brother who decided to go to art school for glass-blowing," she writes. Emerson concludes that the reason for Trebay's passive-aggresive tone is that, deep down, he knows that San Francisco fashion is way better than New York fashion.
While the Times author dances around the issue, talking about San Franciscans' distaste for hype, inability to wear things that are difficult to put on (thus the popularity of the onesie), and the fact that we spend most of our lives in our cars (?), I think what he was trying to say, and what Anna Wintour has literally been hinting at for decades, is that from our "velvet equestrian hunting caps" to Nicholas Ghesquiere-esquiere kite-surfing ensembles, San Francisco is the most fashionable place on Earth.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.