Earlier this month, Freeborn Designs opened a pop-up designer trend retailer at 463 Castro Avenue, previously Flying Falafel and Socialhaus.
Proprietor James Freeborn tells Hoodline that the shop provides quite a lot of custom-tailored fits, blazers, and vests for each women and men. Jewellery, pens, holsters, and hats are additionally obtainable.
Based in 2016 in Hood River, Oregon, Freeborn says, “I used to be simply actually sick of males’s trend.” “I assumed it was actually boring.”
“I would all the time carrying loopy fits my entire life however they had been from Goodwill or Salvation Military,” stated Freeborn. “The concept simply type of clicked.”
James Freeborn, house owners of Freeborn Designs. | Photograph: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
In accordance with Freeborn, all the cloth is imported from a producer in India. “I used to be fortunate sufficient to search out this cloth once I was touring abroad,” he stated.
“They seem to be a household of fifth era tailors and they’re extremely good at what they do,” Freeborn defined. Yearly Freeborn travels to India for 2 months to work on new designs.
Customized fits vary in worth from $1,000 to $1,200, three-piece fits value $600, and jackets retail for $350. Gadgets may also be bought off the rack and might be altered. Freeborn says the fits will not be gender-specific and can be found in each a masculine and female reduce.
Jackets and vests at Freeborn Designs. | Photograph: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Prospects can choose from over 30 designs and 200 materials. “The probabilities are utterly countless,” stated Freeborn. “I attempt to inform folks nothing’s inconceivable.”
Initially Freeborn says he tried doing wholesale round Oregon, however that effort was unsuccessful. Issues actually began to take off when he started promoting his garments at music festivals in California. Freeborn traveled the pageant circuit all through California and nationwide to festivals in Colorado, together with music festivals like Bonnaroo (Tennessee) and Electrical Forest (Michigan).
Then in March of 2020, Freeborn opened a pop-up on the 5 and Diamond location at 510 Valencia (at sixteenth St.). “I opened March 6 and was open for six days earlier than COVID shut us all down,” stated Freeborn.
“Fortunately, 5 and Diamond let me keep till the tip of the yr,” stated Freeborn.
Show case at Freeborn Designs. | Photograph: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Throughout that point, Freeborn says he saved strolling by the vacant storefront at 463 Castro. He says he made a number of provides below the asking lease for the area that had been turned down. Nonetheless, the owner finally agreed to a six-month pop-up at a considerably cheaper price.
Earlier than opening, Freeborn says he cleaned up the area, because it had been uncared for in recent times.
“I view the Castro because the cultural middle of San Francisco,” stated Freeborn.
“If you happen to would have requested me 10 to fifteen years in the past, my dream would have been Haight-Ashbury,” stated Freeborn. “The Haight’s a tough spot and the Castro’s vigorous, it is so colourful and a lot tradition.”
Hats and ties choice. | Photograph: Steven Bracco/Hoodline
Within the two weeks because the retailer opened, Freeborn says enterprise and foot site visitors has been good. Proper now, Freeborn works within the retailer alone however he intends to rent one different individual if he can discover the proper match.
Ought to issues go nicely, Freeborn hopes to remain completely within the area, however that’s depending on gross sales and the price of the lease. “In the event that they triple what I am paying, there is no approach I might keep,” stated Freeborn. “In the event that they do proceed to work with me, I would like to be right here and part of the group.”
Freeborn says he instantly joined Castro Retailers Affiliation and plans to get entangled with group fundraisers.
“I am right here to carry this metropolis again to life,” stated Freeborn.
All American Boy (left) and Fuzio (proper) in 2004. | Photograph: Max Kirkeberg/SFSU
Castro residents could recall that 463 Castro was the house of All American Boy, which opened in 1972 and closed in 2008 after almost 40 years in enterprise. Clothes retailer Outfit moved into the area in 2010 and closed in 2019.
Freeborn says he posted one thing on the Fb Group SF Remembered about All American Boy and obtained over 50 responses with pictures and reminiscences of the shop.
To honor that legacy, Freeborn says he will get an outdated poster from All American Boy to place within the retailer.