Despite the omnipresence and convenience of online shopping, the best way to get new clothes remains, unequivocally, to go to a store, touch some fabrics, chat with the staff, try some stuff on, and buy what moves you. I know how daunting that seems. How time consuming and troublesome. Which is why if you’re going to do it, you’ve got to be sure that it’s going to be worth it. The new Evan Kinori store in San Francisco, a rice paper-wrapped sanctuary of conscientious style on a low-key stretch of Valencia Street, is worth it. That’s an understatement. The new Evan Kinori store is worth flying across the country for, as I did in December when it opened to the public.
Kinori sells his clothes online, and through stockists around the world, but the earthy, high-quality, low-concept clothes he makes are best experienced in person, at the source. His design studio is located in the back of the shop, and most of the clothes are made in factories nearby in San Francisco or in Los Angeles. The cathedral-like shop with lime plaster walls and white washed floors houses the latest Evan Kinori collection—including some store exclusives, of course—as well as furniture by BCMT and Frama, and ceramics made by Mallorca-based Dora Good and New Mexico’s Shed Project. These are makers who Kinori has discovered along the way, traveling and making friends who share his slow, craft-forward approach to design.
Since launching his brand six years ago, Kinori has established a strong and committed customer base—obsessive Kinori fans gather on forums and on Discord to debate and share experiences about washing instructions and the occasional small pattern tweaks the designer makes. Kinori’s clothes—simple but unique, unfussy but meticulously considered—are worthy of the cult following they’ve garnered. But they’re still accessible and alluring enough to appeal to those who aren’t looking to join a pants-based community—to strike someone who happens to be walking around San Francisco and sees a compelling storefront.
With the new store, Kinori has expanded his world. Much like the gut renovation he did on the building he now occupies, he’s knocked down walls and created new spaces, literally and metaphorically, for us to occupy in his world. And, now he has a full-sized dressing room—scented with Santa Maria Novella potpourri, no less.