Tucked away in the corner of a hip Russian Hill townhouse is Atelier Gabriela Daher. A bright fuchsia wall and floor-to-ceiling cubbies full of carefully folded fabric delineate the creative space from the living room. Posi, (short for the Mariposa Street SFSPCA where she was adopted), sees no difference and cozies up at Gabi’s feet by the sewing machine, casually waiting to be recognized.
Gabriella began sewing when she was five, mentored by her grandmother on the fine details of creating a killer wardrobe for Barbie. Now 27, Gabi has created a brand of upcycled / recycled bespoke garments catering to the young, chic San Francisco club set; an environment Gabriella knows well, as her equally talented boyfriend Chris Clouse DJ’s and performs at the city’s trendiest venues.
Gabriella says Fabric is her biggest inspiration. “I’m not a big fan of sketching. I usually lay out all my materials on the ground and take a swim in them, touching, turning, twirling, layering, until one of them calls out for me to make something out of it, ‘MAKE ME INTO A SKIRT’!‚ ‘USE ME AS THE WAISTBAND!’ In the middle of sewing a garment something usually goes awesomely wrong and I end up incorporating it into the finished product. Sometimes it doesn’t turn out so hot, so I take it apart and change up the materials. I’ve never given up on a garment’!
She goes on with passion about fabric. “I don’t choose my fabrics, they choose me! I’ve been accepting donated materials since I started FIDM in 2007. When I do need to purchase materials (for linings or special requests) I look first in the dead-stock section or roam the streets of SF looking for piles of fabric on the corners (yes, I’ve had lots of luck finding fabric on the streets! And yes, I wash them before use!)”
Her fashion icon, Giambattista Valli, is visible in her designs. From the short, tailored cropping to the gathered, ruffled, organic frocks, her designs are very feminine, very sexy and very Gabi. A stunning Brazilian- American, Gabriella is her own model, and is living her brand: creative, vibrant, socially and environmentally aware, and trendsetting. “When it comes to my company, I hope to always maintain a truly San Franciscan state of mind and heart. The shops mantra is “striving for ecological sanity through recycled/upcycled garments“, says Daher.
Gabriela consults with her clients in the Russian Hill Studio, but also takes online orders at her website. Inspired by her online look book, one can pick a style, colors, trims and send Gabriella the needed measurements to receive a custom tailored, hand-made garment. Don’t see what you had in mind? Gabi will consult and create a unique look just for you.
One can find Gabriella’s designs at gabrielladaher.com and very soon, in Bay Area boutiques. She’s also “working on getting some pieces manufactured so they will be more readily available and affordable”. A one-of-a-kind dress made of vintage materials range from $250-$400. Garments made of recycled/donated materials start at $150 (She only charges labor). Garments made from newly purchased materials are priced according to time and materials, and can be discussed beforehand.
Don’t be dissuaded by the perky cupcake dresses and their petite wearers. Gabriela has “…made garments for 4 year-olds and for 70 year-olds and for everyone in between. I’ve made garments for shorties, tallies, skinnies and healthies! All of my clients are, however physically or biologically diverse, confident individuals who are looking for a unique look.” She’s one to watch. Get yours now and say you knew her when…