In the city with Aunt Betsy and Asiatica

Posted: August 20, 2010 in Uncategorized
Had some work meetings in the city this week that lined up with one of my Aunt Betsy’s Trunk Shows.  She is on a West Coast tour, selling her clothing at shows that she sets up in hotel suites in LA and SFO.  We saw her in March, at her shop in KCKC, but I have never actually been to one of her traveling shows.  I got to spend an evening and morning with Betsy between work meetings.  She is fearless, and is a good guide.  She grew up in the Bay Area and knows the city well.

On my way to my meeting in Berkeley I walked past the house that we lived in until I was 5.  It is still the funkiest neighborhood I passed thru, this is in front of our old house.


Had fun field-testing the utility belts in the city and enjoyed looking at what other people were carrying.  They work pretty much just like good cargo pockets, but you don’t have stuff banging on your knees.  I need one that is just a touch larger, and need to make some with snaps or other closures, they felt pretty pickpocketable.


Betsy with her jackets.  They are a mix of vintage silk from recycled kimono, and modern Japanese and Italian fabrics.  Clients try them on, and then can pick different fabrics and order a custom one, or have them custom tailored to fit.  Betsy was traveling with her patternmaker Angela, who measures, pins, tailors, takes notes for the girls in the shop back in KC.


Parallel-stitching on a collage of vintage kimono fabrics.


They use every scrap.




This is a modern fabric from a Japanese textile house called Nuno. 

I love this one.


Collage of Nuno fabric and Indian silk.



Aunt Betsy 

We had pisco sours and then walked to the end of the pier by the Ferry building.  She told me a story about riding on a Matson Lines freighter back from Taiwan in 1969 with a bunch of her antiques.  13 days reading on the deck, she arrived with the best tan of her life.


I slept on a rollaway in the ‘shop’ room of the suite, and woke up looking at antique silks.


I love the frayed edges, and the idea that people will pay a lot of money for something that looks like it was made by hand.  She has given us some ideas to play with like this.

We stopped to look at my Grandma’s old house and got a flat tire there, so had some time to look around – met a neighbor that remembered my Oma, who moved away 30 years ago. 

Betsy and Angela (patternmaker) near my Grandma’s old house above Haight Ashbury.   

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