By Connie Bozant, Guest Blogger from Santa Clara, California Fashion design is the combination of design and beauty artistically expressed in the formation of clothing and accessories determined by cultural and social influences. Fashion design falls within three categories which are haute couture (made-to-measure), ready-to-wear, and mass market. Most fashion designs worn today are the trendy styles of the mass-market category. The ready-to-wear fashion design collections are in between the haute couture and mass market. Haute couture designs are custom made and of a higher fabric and close attention to detail. The ready-to-wear designs provide a descent fit but more cost economical than the haute couture designs.

Based on what I have observed, San Francisco has a fashion style of its own that is much more eclectic and laidback than many of the out fashion industry cities. In San Francisco, clothing is typically layered due to weather changes fromone geometric area to the next. However, while the fashion design or standard choice of the San Franciscan may be limited it does not eliminate San Francisco from the fashion industry. The Gap, Inc. and Levi Strauss are among several fashion companies headquartered in San Francisco, which have paved the way in the fashion industry. San Francisco has been moving up in the rank of cities to have a representation in the fashion design industry. San Francisco is one of 13 cities in North America to play a major role in the fashion industry. According to the Global Language Monitor’s 2012 ranking of the Top Fifty Fashion Capitals, San Francisco has fallen slightly in the rankings from last year but still holds the 41st rank in the fashion industry.

Fashion designers are generally artistic with an eye for color combinations, fabric, and textile use to create original fashion designs based on the market. San Francisco fashion institutes produce many creative fashion designers. During the 2012 Fashion Week in San Francisco, there were several fashion designers that were interesting. Among those designers were Jennifer Ly (La Bete) and Jake Wall (Artful Gentleman). Colleen Quen, Bacca DaSilva, Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer (gr. dano), Jan Warnock, and Christopher Collins were among the best local designers in San Francisco reported by KCBS SF Bay Area news in 2011. Colleen Quen is a contemporary designer that creates stunning one-of-a-kind gowns. Bacca DaSilva creates interesting urban or rural clothing with an artistic flair. Jill Giordano and Brian Scheyer the designers of gr.dano is a contemporary ready-to-wear clothing line for women that is gaining in national recognition. Jan Warnock creates high fashion ready-to-wear that is inspired by diversity of San Francisco. Christopher Collins is also gaining national recognition for his one-of-a-kind ensembles. One designer that I personally find interesting is Tommy Phamfor his jeanswear design, Grp.E Jeans, and his interest in giving back to the community by teaching at the Academy of Art University.