Tourism for Locals: Storage Takes On New Meaning with Aether SF

Recycled and Re purposed

Although it appears the really, really cold days of winter are winding down, every San Franciscan needs to invest in a warm coat, when our beloved, worn-out SF State or 49er hoodies can't handle it anymore.

So it's time for a little bit of post-holiday retail therapy; and for this week's Tourism for Locals, we're sending you to do a little window shopping at a new building that is local, sleek, and constructed out of old, abandoned shipping containers.

The three re-purposed and welded freight containers house clothing retailer Aether's only stand-alone store on the west coast -- and located in our very own Hayes Valley. Aether specializes in outerwear for outdoor enthusiasts that lives in an urban environment -- requiring clothing to be stylish and tailored but without sacrificing the performance factor when in rural environments. And like its garments, the building reflects the brand's drive to streamline an object's purpose.

According to their website, Paris-based designer Thierry Gaugain, Berkeley design firm envelope A+D, and Aether founders Jonah Smith and Palmer West came up with the design concept of sourcing objects from the surrounding industrial neighborhood instead of importing new materials from elsewhere. The storefront was constructed out of three 8-feet-by-9.6-feet-by-40-feet shipping containers piled one on top of one another -- proving that these receptacles are for more than storing cargo and Meryl Streep's awards.

Window Shopping

The store also contains a custom glass encased cantilevered lounge (great for people watching), reclaimed oak floors and a massive conveyor system that lets employees on the third floor interact with customers on the first. The circular rotating conveyor belt resembles those found at a dry cleaning company with Aether's merchandise sorted into cages by categories like design and color.

The building, which celebrates its one-year anniversary this month, is part of A+D's Proxy SF, a semi-permanent, two-block project that fills a stretch of previously vacant lots with storage containers that are being utilized for various purposes -- ice cream shop, coffee shop, and more.

The store carries men's and women's apparel and prices range from about $50 to $500. Steep prices, but there's nothing wrong in browsing their collection and admiring the architectural wonder that is simple and user friendly. Not convinced? Then let's watch the following short film:

Aether SF is located at 489 Hayes; it's is open Tue.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m; Sun.,11 a.m.-6 p.m.; and is closed Monday.

Bundle up and shop on!

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My Voice Nation Help
Hiram Rodriguez
Hiram Rodriguez

It's only a matter of time before a monstrosity like that moves into the Mission, mark my words.

sfhrod topcommenter

I know that I'll offend someone with what I'm about to write, but that place blows. Pretentious as fuck, expensive as all hell, clothing is geared towards a specific "person" and the staff are not all that helpful unless you look like you fit in. So to those I offend I'll leave you with this, don't be so damn loyal unless Aether pays your all your bills, or once saved your life. 

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