As its name implies, Upper Playground likes to have fun, specifically with design. Located next door to the Fifty24SF Gallery, the boutique empowers progressive artists by emblazoning their works on everything from urban-chic apparel including men's and women's hoodies, to housewares such as shower curtains and throw pillows.
At Nest Maternity, helpful staffers happily assist expecting moms, guiding them through what can often be a confusing, albeit exciting period in their lives. With the goal of making mothers-to-be comfortable, they adorned their shop with tranquil fountains, a lounge, and a kids' play area—all thoughtful details that helped earn them the Red Tricycle Award in 2011 for Best Maternity Store and in 2012 for Plushest Baby & Maternity Shops. Shelves teem with haute threads from Olian and Lilac, which celebrate and enhance the beauty of a woman's body during pregnancy, as well as accessories including musical CDs, nursing covers, diaper bags, and carriers. In addition to dresses, skirts, and jeans designed to fit over baby bumps, they also carry organic baby clothes that accommodate infants who are slowly transforming into larger infants or small children.
Right in the heart of the Valencia Street corridor, the San Francisco location of killer denim purveyors Self Edge could not be more ideally located for sidewalk eye candy. A play on the word selvage – which often denotes high-quality denim – this clean and surprisingly modern storefront is the foremost destination for fabulous jeans that will look good and last forever. Expect a wide selection of unisex denim accessories, too; some are so fashion-forward you might not know what to do with them yet. While garden-variety Levi’s are fine for everyday wear, these are connoisseurs of hand-stitched twill and indigo dye, carrying durable yet comfortable brands such as Dry Bones, 3sixteen and Sugar Cane. And if you’re tearing at the seams, Self Edge can rehabilitate anything while hemming and chain-stitching your latest find.
From copper mokume wedding bands to sterling silver bubble necklaces to cufflinks hewn from bone, RedStart Design fabricates incredible, one-of-a-kind jewelry from its workshop in the Mission. Named for a striking species of warbling bird, this women-owned jewelry manufacturer keeps six separate lines in constant production, while collaborating with clients to produce brilliant, unique pieces as finely crafted as they are rich with symbolism. As all three founders studied engineering, their scientific approach guarantees a different angle from a more mainstream jewelry company – such that New York's Museum of Modern Art possesses a RedStart Subtle Safety Ring, which unfolds into brass knuckles as a reminder for women to stay out of harm's way. Whether re-imagining family heirlooms in a contemporary setting to capping off a theme wedding with ingenious rings for the bride and groom, RedStart's mastery of materials borders on alchemy.
Launched by apparel industry entrepreneurs who were kidnapped by a yeti, GAMA-GO purveys a mad menage of brain-teasing and grin-inducing clothes, accessories, and decorative supplies—many of which feature GAMA-GO's stable of home-grown cartoon characters, such as the angry-looking Deathbot, deadly cute Ninja Kitty, and ubiquitous Yeti. Wear your love for early Nintendo games on your sleeve with the Duck Hunter tee ($28)—a shirt that features Deathbot clutching a presumably lifeless 8-bit duck—and your love of moustaches on your finger with a fingerstache temporary tattoo ($5). The flipper guitar spatula ($12) allows for a finely tuned flapjack flipping, a shredding scrambled egg solo, or a virtually painless tortilla beating. Office supplies like the Yeti Kong floati pen ($5) will keep office drones entertained during dull performance reviews. And an illegal-leaf-shaped pot holder ($8) will keep your home's hot pot from burning your thumb until you’ve cashed its cooking. Celebrate your GAMA-GO purchases with a gulp from a squid wreck pint glass ($12).