Urban uniforms: Ali Golden

Urban uniforms: Ali Golden

Ali Golden. Photo courtesy Ali Golden.

All sewed up: Ali Golden’s Temescal Alley shop features her versatile wardrobe staples in colors that range from neutral to sunset-hued pinks and oranges. Photos by Ali Golden.

In 2011, Ali Golden set up shop in Temescal Alley, a sunny row of stores selling vintage wear, furniture, jewelry, and succulents, tucked just behind some of the best eateries in the East Bay, including Doña Tomas and Bakesale Betty’s. Now, the 29-year-old designer, who calls her line “very classic, utilitarian,” has fans across the country—some in very upscale places.

STYLE: “A modern uniform,” says one customer of Golden’s layerable collection. Everything is one size and aims to take the wearer from day to night, with a contrast of big and small, feminine and masculine. Golden makes cuffed shorts, jackets, cropped blouses, tops, maxidresses, and trousers in silk mixes, as well as wool coats in a range of colors (including pink and orange). Some pieces are partially see-through and most are draped, loose, or pleated; they’re meant to be worn with, or layered over, more fitted pieces already in a woman’s wardrobe. The style is distinctive, yet, says Golden, women can easily make the look their own with accessories.

SALES: Golden’s line has received rave reviews from top fashion blogs DailyCandy and Refinery29. The clothing is sold by 30 stores in the United States, including the prestigious Steven Alan in San Francisco and Oakland boutiques McMullen and Hawthorn.

RESUME: A former graphic designer for accounts such as Disney and the 49ers, Golden realized she didn’t want to spend all day on a computer. A subsequent stint at the ecowear design company Mr. Larkin (it was headed by a woman named Casey Larkin, and produced its own wool courtesy of a house llama) was followed by a day job at Whole Foods in San Francisco. Meanwhile, Larkin stitched her own fashions in every spare minute, taught sewing at a craft school, and began running her business out of a garage in Hayes Valley.

LOCAL ANGLE: Golden says she loves living and working in Oakland because it’s isolated from the major fashion industry in Los Angeles and New York, so she is not distracted by the latest trends. “It’s a unique perspective,” she says.

Designer: Ali Golden
Ali Golden, 470e 49th St., Oakland, (805) 340-7086; aligolden.com.
Hawthorn, 5854 College Ave., Oakland, (510) 594-8380; hawthornboutique.com.
McMullen, 1235 Grand Ave., Piedmont, (510) 658-6906; 831 Broadway, Oakland, (510) 272-9838; shopmcmullen.com.
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