Search form

ShopLocalSD: San Diego's "Fashion Hurricane"


Molly Goforth and her handmade bikinis.
Photo by Rebekah Sager

San Diego was hit by a fashion hurricane when the THREAD event recently swept through downtown’s Horton Plaza mall. Women lined up for half a mile patiently waiting for doors to open and wholesale shopping to begin. These are not your average shoppers and THREAD is not your average shopping event. Vendors went through a juried show to qualify for inclusion; only after proving that they’re cutting edge and fashion forward are they allowed to showcase their wares.

THREAD was founded by British-born Lara Matthews. She was working as the director of new business development for The British Journal of Photography when she left the U.K. to move to San Diego. Within a few years, she found herself surrounded by artists—including her ex-husband, the painter Andy Howell, well- known mixed-media artist Shepard Fairey, and many emerging San Diego clothing designers. It occurred to Matthews that a venue to bring together consumers who live for finding the most creative and interesting styles with young artists and designers who needed to display their work could revolutionize the fashion industry. THREAD was born as a trunk show in Matthews’ backyard and has grown to attract more than 2,000 visitors from San Diego to Seattle.

The San Diego event featured more than 100 vendors from Southern California. Those representing San Diego were few in number, but strong in concept and artistry. Jeans 4 Justice is the fusion of creativity and a good cause. Founder Jessica Johnson began this nonprofit project by bringing together local artists and designers to create one-of-a-kind wearable works of art in the form of jeans. One hundred percent of sales go to Jeans 4 Justice’s sexual assault and prevention education programs.

Nonprofit clothing line Jeans
4 Justice.
Photo by Rebekah Sager

Local Molly B. Goforth designs the Molly B Bikini line. An avid surfer, Goforth says she designs bikinis because she loves them and they’re her favorite piece of fashion. Her grandmother was a seamstress, making dresses for the dancers on the Lawrence Welk Show. All of the suits are made and manufactured by Goforth in her Point Loma home. The fabric is double lined. Goforth also makes custom suits. Have an old favorite that fits like a glove but has worn out? She can design an exact copy.

Mansewn is a line of general stuff holders-- wallets, clutches, iPod cases and the like. Designed by architect RT Lonsdale, Mansewn was one of the more unique concepts at THREAD. Hand-made from materials retrieved at his work sites, these little gems in leather, sailcloth, cowhide and felt were among the most fun things available at THREAD. For the man who has everything, these pieces stood out as the most interesting, albeit nonessential accessories at the show.

“I’m a one-man sweatshop,” says Lonsdale, looking tired.

There were jewelry designers aplenty, ranging from the well-known San Diego based Micha Designs and Double Happiness-- both of whom have gone global-- to several smaller concerns headed by hugely talented youngsters on their way up.

THREAD is a win-win situation for everyone involved, bringing fresh faces in design to shoppers who are in search of unique fashion. Mathews and THREAD are committed to building the careers of young designers by offering ongoing education in marketing and branding.

Details »
  • City: San Diego, CA 92104
  • Name: THREAD
  • Address: www.threadshow.com