Ever walked by Aline’s Closet at Pierce and Waller, and wondered how such a tiny shop manages to move enough inventory to stay open?
Here’s the secret: Every piece of clothing the shop sells is designed by owner Aline Dazogbo, who bought the small store five years ago. The only clothes Dazogbo keeps on hand are essentially prototypes of her designs, so customers can try them on and work with her to choose the color, size and material they want.
“My clients and I design together,” Dazogbo tells Hoodline. Each piece is handmade to order by a local seamstress.The unusual concept keeps overhead low and the environmental footprint of Aline’s Closet small. Dazogbo tells Hoodline the latter factor is especially important to her in running her business.
This Saturday, June 20th is the perfect time to stop by Aline’s Closet, as Dazogbo will be celebrating the store’s fifth anniversary with music, dancing, wine, sweets and a 25 percent discount on all clothing and jewelry (she sources the latter from outside designers).
Dazogbo's path to opening up her eponymous closet was a circuitous one. The daughter of a UN diplomat, she's lived in 12 different countries, but resided the longest in the south of France and West Africa. Six years ago, she made the move to San Francisco. “Something about San Francisco just keeps bringing me back here,” she says.
In June 2010, Dazogbo was living in North Beach when she found out the little store on Pierce, then called Callou Designs, was for sale. Callou Designs stocked her designs, but she was attracted to their space for other reasons: the friendly atmosphere, nearby cafes and high degree of walkability in the Lower Haight and Hayes Valley reminded her of her favorite parts of Paris, where she studied fashion design. “Hayes Valley and the Lower Haight were my crush,” Dazogbo admits, saying she couldn't resist having a shop in the area.
Speaking of Paris, Dazogbo has planned a Seine theme for her anniversary party, which goes down on Saturday from 6pm-9pm. At the event, she plans to elaborate on how the famous waterway that runs through Paris inspires her and her designs; she hints that it involves bridges, of which the Seine has its fair share.
The metaphor is fitting: if all goes according to plan over the next few years, Dazogbo hopes to open an Aline’s Closet in Paris, part of her mission to build a bridge between San Francisco and one of her other favorite cities on Earth.
Aline's Closet is open Wednesday-Saturday, 12-6pm.
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