Can’t stop fashion: Style, as always, at Oakland’s First Friday

Pub date March 28, 2013
SectionPixel Vision

We’re stoked on next week’s Oakland First Fridays, where the style is weird, wild, and exactly what you would expect to see any time Bay Area folks, art, and mingling collide. In March, despite the previous month’s tragedy, looks were lively as ever. Attendees and vendors alike seemed to have all received the same memo: throw on some sort of headwear and layer up in as many different patterns as possible.

The fair usually takes over Telegraph Avenue from 17th Street to 27th Street. During last months’ edition, the shooting that occured at the street fair in February had wrought a few changes — the event was considerably smaller, still running along Telegraph Avenue, but only from West Grand Avenue to 27th Street, and about half the usual size. The evening came to a close an hour earlier at 9pm, and public drinking was prohibited. The community paid their respect the shooting victim with altars and peace vigils. 

But fashion pressed on. In a more conventional environment, the excessive use of prints at First Fridays would likely have appeared overdone, but amid street musicians jamming on homemade instruments, ambient street lamp lighting, and a general creative atmosphere, the spirited look fit in just right.

The vendors selling mostly handmade and thrifted goods made an obvious effort to dress in the style of their products. Tua-Lisa Runsten sported a pair of leopard leggings, a tweed jacket, and naturally some gigantic, neutral-toned earrings from her Etsy line. 

We saw blue hair, pink trench coats, and even a dangerously daggery necklace, but the steampunk-inspired style of the “Window Lady”, otherwise known as Janay Rose, topped them all. Rose wore a patchwork skirt, a furry collar, and a festive fascinator while her partner looked equally as dashing in a pair of worn-in overalls and a black bowler hat. 

The bundled up merchants adorned in polka dots, animal prints, and floral anorak jackets proved to us that busier is better. So what sartorial lesson did we take away from this bustling street fair? Go ahead, throw on two pieces that don’t match whatsoever. Mix blue and black. Sport a festive mini skirt with a pair of sequined Ugg boots with for a comfortable nighttime look. Wait no …don’t do that. Please never do that. But this for sure: even in trouble times, fashion braves on. 

Oakland First Fridays

First Fridays, 5-10pm, free

Telegraph between 19th and 27th Sts., Oakl.