A Designers’ Guide to San Francisco with Levi's Nick Rendic and Nicolle Arbour
14 September, 2017
One of the coolest, most laid-back pairs on the planet, Levi's Global Design Directors Nick Rendic and Nicolle Arbour know their stuff when it comes to hip new spots in the iconic denim company's home base of San Francisco. We chatted to them about everything from the best oyster bar in town to their favourite places to snag vintage threads, and also got their take on what's going on with the global fashion scene from Seoul to Moscow.
Favourite places to shop in San Francisco?
NR: My favourite shop is the Perish Trust. They always have really interesting books and knick knacks. It's also nearby to some great cafés and coffee shops.
NA: Since I travel quite often, when I'm home in SF I am looking for ways to treat myself. My favorite place to do this is at International Orange and indulging in natural skincare products from brands like In Fiore. When I'm in need for some vintage Levi's® or jewelry, I stop by Reliquary in Hayes Valley.
What are your must-do activities in SF when you have free time?
NR: For me a must do is to check out Ocean Beach and the Sunset District. The ocean there has a raw energy that is truly unique. There are cool shops and great food on Judah as well as Noriega streets.
NA: Getting outside and chasing the sunshine. SF microclimates are real and it took me some time to learn the nuances of this city's weather. The first thing I do when I get back from traveling is take a walk along the bay and Chrissy Field beach with my dog.
What are your top outdoorsy recommendations for SF?
NR: The Marin Headlands are a must see. They are literally just on the other side of the golden gate bridge and offer amazing hiking trails with incredible views of the city.
NA: When I first moved to SF I lived in the Outer Sunset on Ocean Beach. This is still my favorite place to really connect with nature within the city. The ocean here has such a strength and the beauty undeniable. It is by far my favorite place to watch the day end with a sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Favourite places to eat in SF?
NR: I must admit I eat out a lot and love many places. San Francisco is a great food city. If I have to pick I would say my favourite place to eat has to be pizzeria Delfina off of Fillmore street. I'm literally there every week.
NA: One of my favorite things about this city is its food and the diversity of options, so trying them is a must. My favourite for a sleepy Saturday morning is Trouble Coffee and their cinnamon toast. Favourite neighbourhood Italian is A16. But my absolute favourite meal is at State Bird Provisions… that is if I can get myself to wait in line.
Best places for a drink?
NR: Specs in the north beach is my favorite dive and Leo's Oyster Bar for when I want to splurge.
NA: Heading over the Golden Gate for some spa healing and a drink on the porch at Cavallo Point. Best views of the city and some fresh eucalyptus air.
What is SF's best-kept secret?
NR: Its proximity to so many fun things to do. Wine Country, beaches, mountains, you name it. So much to do.
NA: The treasures that you can find within nature in the middle of the city. You can stumble upon art installations by Goldsworthy such as the spire sculpture and wood line in the Presidio or even bison by the beach in Golden Gate Park.
On global fashion:
What are the top three places on each of your travel bucket lists, especially in terms of design inspiration?
NR: Oslo, Moscow and Tel-Aviv are really capturing my attention right now.
NA: Finland, Mongolia, and Marrakech are intriguing to me - for the architecture, the people and the craftsmanship.
Favourite place in the world to return to for inspiration?
NR: Tokyo, Japan
NA: Paris and Tokyo always have my heart. Each has an incredible attention to detail and devotion to beauty, but with unique perspectives.
What are some up-and-coming fashion cities in your opinion?
NR: Seoul is doing some really great things as well as Moscow. There seems to be an irreverent energy that's happening.
NA: Seoul is taking risks and being playful with fashion in a way that's refreshing and exciting.
Have you noticed any brands, designers or places doing really interesting things with denim lately?
NR: I really like the adventurous approach Vetements is incorporating in denim.
NA: Demna at Vetements and Virgil Abloh at Off-White are redefining denim and having the opportunity to work with them through Levi's® has influenced me greatly. Korean brands such as Ader Error are also pushing us all forward.