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vintage runway show july

(Photo credit: Liz Vogt)

Vintage lovers, you missed out big time and should be filled with regret! I’m sorry to be harsh, but maybe you’ll learn from this experience and not make the same mistakes again. You know what they say: learning, history, doom, repetition…and so on. That mistake you won’t make again? Missing out on a vintage runway show at Urban Stitch, with free booze, funky tastemakers, and wild 80s frocks.

vintage runway fashion

All photographs except where noted: credit to David Meza

This isn’t the first runway show at Urban Stitch (formerly Runway Style House) and it won’t be the last. But it IS the first one in collaboration with a shop-within-a-shop, and the first to focus on vintage. That shop? It’s called 31 Rax, curated by Stephanie Madrinan, and it’s partnering with Urban Stitch for STYLE SYNERGY. More on that later, but first: let’s look at some sensual womyn and fabulous clothes. 

urban stitch vintage 31 rax

31 rax wyv oakland fashion


wear your voice urban stitch
I asked Alanna (owner of Urban Stitch) who masterminded this show. Turns out it was largely a team effort between her and friend/vintage maven Stephanie. After Stephanie closed her shop in San Francisco, she found a new home at Urban Stitch. “This store isn’t just for emerging designers,” Alanna said, “but for all kinds of entrepreneurs. So, most stuff here is handmade or sewn, but this is also a place where people can love and appreciate vintage.” 

urban stitch wear your voice oakland

Stephanie on the left, Alanna on the right. Style aaaaallll around.

31 Rax used to be known as Steph’s Closet, but as it grew from a pop-up in her apartment into an actual store in Bernal Heights, she decided it needed a new name to fit its new stage of evolution. So where’d the name come from? Glad you asked! Her birthday is December 31st, and racks is, of course, a play on racks (of clothing.)

Before making the change, she happened to Google rax (I think this is very wise and everyone thinking of starting a business or naming a baby should do it first. The name may already be associated with a serial frotteur or unusual intimate position) and found that it can mean “to stretch, or to extend the hand.”

I’m an etymology enthusiast so I delved a little further and if you go back far enough, it can be traced to the Proto-Indo-European root reg, or, “to make straight.” No messing around here, dillweeds, this is ancient business. We’re talking pre-Bronze Age. From a muddy, skygod-fearing people who smelled of cattle and desperation, to a runway fashion show gazing with rose-colored vision at the garb of a mere generation previous: we’ve come a long way, baby. 

runway vintage show july 25th

I managed to corner Stephanie to ask her a few questions, starting with what she’s looking for when she’s picking clothes to add to the collection. 

“I’m a performer- a dancer and singer- so if I’m on stage, I want to wear something that’s going to pop;” she explained. “Same goes for the clothes I pick for 31 Rax! Plus, when I go to LA to find new stuff, I’m going to a friend’s warehouse and I have to handpick everything in a short amount of time. So I’m looking for what’s bright, what pops out, what calls out to the eye.” (The dance studio Stephanie performs with is New Style Motherlode.) 

31 Rax has now undergone one final metamorphosis: it’s moved from its brick and mortar in SF to sharing space inside Urban Stitch, and now has another moniker: 31 Raxclusive. Stephanie doesn’t just sell clothes, though: she’s also a personal shopper and style consultant. If you’ve ever found yourself wearing a T-shirt you got for free at some charity run and yoga pants in public, you may want to head in and plead for her assistance. She’ll be at Urban Stitch every day along with a curated selection of her vintage pieces!

Intrepid photographers (including our own David) capturing fashion in its natural habitat.

Intrepid photographers (including our own David) capturing fashion in its natural habitat. (Photo: Liz Vogt)

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