“I think it’s harder to explain fashion by city now because of the internet.” -Kimmy Nguyen
Fashion is continuously changing. It’s sometimes overwhelming to try to keep up with the latest trends. Although a lot of how people dress is determined by what is trendy. As we explore fashion here in the Silicon Valley more, let’s try to focus on what the South Bay has going on. I started this journey by speaking with Kimmy at Black and Brown on San Carlos street in San Jose and Araceli from Thrill of the Luxe, who you may remember from a previous post. If you haven’t visited them, definitely go and check them out. The vibe and aesthetic will for sure get you excited about South Bay style.
“When I think of true San Jose fashion, that true timeless fashion is going to be Dickies, Ben Davis, Pro Club Bigger T, and Penalton. As well as work wear which is really popular. This type of style is definitely ingrained in San Jose” says Kimmy Nguyen who has been working at Black and Brown Vintage shop for over eleven years. Streetwear and hypebeast are the core of what San Jose attire is all about. The wide leg and more relaxed fit and baggy denim are key characteristics of what San Jose Citizens are wearing. Chunky platform, high boot, and a mid century retro look are all making a comeback in San Jose as well.
One of the South Bay’s fashion characteristics is the mixing of garment styles. “In the vintage community it’s still hip/hop and rap influenced with oversized jackets and baggy jeans. Along with a lot of oversized comfortable clothing which can be mixed with vintage stuff, newer stuff and designer clothes,” says Araceli who likes to carry timeless pieces in her vintage shop. Something I’ve seen here in San Jose more and more is the mixing of a hypebeast t-shirt, some vintage denim jeans with a designer shoe and a new jacket from a H&M like retail store. Which I think is an interesting take on the baggy comfortable garments with a South Bay flare.
As I was researching online what South Bay style is a term came to my attention from a reddit article which I found really interesting. They called it “MFA Uniform”. This isn’t exclusive to the South Bay, but has a profound influence on the people who reside here. MFA Uniform, if you haven’t heard of it, could be considered a more “hipster look”. With its jeans, button up and some type of leather shoe. It’s mostly something you could wear daily if you work in the tech industry. Or something you could wear to meet with friends. We have seen this fashion style at our Pick up Parties as well. Typically it’s guys wearing a plaid shirt and denim pants with a dressy shoe.
Hypebeast/Streetwear, thrifted vintage clothes, and MFA Uniform are what San Jose’s fashion consists of. Through the integration of many cultural backgrounds that reside here in the South Bay we get a lot of different influences. Resulting in a look that intermixes. Within these intermixes is where we will truly discover our distinctive style. “Keep having an open mind with fashion. Everyday I get customers that have never been here and everyday I hope that fashion keeps moving forward. Clothes are a great way to express yourself. You can buy and wear nice used pieces of clothes and that could work for everybody,” says Kimmy. Whenever you feel like wearing that shirt that you may have felt unsure about wearing, just wear it. Express how you want the world to know you. Wear the clothes that speak to you and make you feel good about yourself. Try new looks out and you will love how it makes you feel.
On my own personal journey I like to break the gender barriers when it comes to my own fashion sense. I like to wear baggy clothes and I give off a street wear vibe. But I also mix it with vintage garments and “Mad Max” like clothing giving it a post apocalyptic touch. The more experimental and expressive people are with their fashion the more they are exploring themselves. Expanding the style of the South Bay because it enables others to feel as though they can express themselves more. I think this influences others to become more aware of what they’re wearing. “To see a really masc male be okay putting on a more femme item is good. If you like it, you like it. We should not be categorized,” adds Kimmy.