SF Life: Black Fashion Brands, Literary Adventures, Jazz, Tulips

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Cheers tomatoes! Hope you all felt the love this week celebrating with gals, pals or significant others!  Let’s not forget that Black History Month deserves our attention, and we have some fab Black women owned fashion brands you all will love.  Kepler’s books on the peninsula returns with in person literary seminars and the books they will discuss will have you reading until the wee hours. SF Jazz is a wonderful way to continue the celebration of Black History Month with some legendary performers including Mavis Staples and Resident Artistic Director Terri Lyne Carrington. Free tulips – that’s right – they are back in Union Square, 80,000 of them coming up in a few weeks. Here’s to spring – right around the corner.

Black Women Owned Fashion Brands

Here’s a salute to four fabulous fashion brands right here in SF and the Bay area, owned by Black women.

Sherri McMullen

In the 15 years since she opened her namesake Oakland flagship, Sherri McMullen has been a force for fashion good and a style star in her own right. The concept shop is loved and lauded from coast to coast for featuring global and local brands with a focus on emerging African and African-American fashion and home décor designers. shopmcmullen.com

Taylor Jay

Like so many founders, Oakland designer Taylor Jay was inspired to create her business to fill a need. What was she hunting for? Elevated, comfy and simple-chic silhouettes designed for a woman’s ever-changing body. She realized her dream five years ago with the launch of her anything-but-basic basics (dresses, skirts, jumpsuits, tops) collection, designed for women of all sizes and body types. Garments are made from certified eco-friendly fabrics and use environmentally safe dyes at an Oakland factory—where ethical sourcing and fair labor practices are the order of the day.  taylorjaycollection.com

Lauren Harwell Godfrey

To say that Marin-based jewelry designer Lauren Harwell Godfrey has a Midas touch is an understatement: She works 18-karat gold, precious gemstones, and vibrant enamel to brilliant effect. The handcrafted and eye-catching pieces (rings, earrings, medallions, and necklaces) take inspiration from ancient cultures, textiles, and motifs. Jewelry is made to order and often features delicate hand engraving on the back. Godfrey recently created the Black Onyx Heart—with 100 percent of the profits going to the NAACP. Envisioned as a healing talisman, the stunning black onyx, diamond, and 18-karat pendant ($2,500) features Godfrey’s signature triangle motif down the center…it looks like a broken heart that has been put back together.  Schedule an appointment to visit the Corte Madera atelier by emailing hello@harwellgodfrey.com;harwellgodfrey.com.

Aliya Wanek

Oakland designer Aliya Wanek has a simple mission: create sustainable and ethically sourced styles that allow a woman’s individuality to shine through. Everything in her eponymous label is handmade in the Bay Area from natural fibers. Both the Jorja dress, a mid-length number with pockets, puff sleeves and elasticized waist, and the Rumi jacket, a three-quarter-length quilted cover with hidden front pockets, are representative of her effortless aesthetic. And like most of the tightly edited line, they’re crafted of hemp and organic cotton. We’re huge fans of Wanek’s vibrant colors (fuchsia, marine blue, and pine), clean silhouettes, and cool detailing. aliyawanek.com

Kepler’s Literary Seminar Series Returns

Kepler’s is one of the few independently owned bookstores in the bay area. This Menlo Park icon has found ways to reinvent itself and is consistently bringing us amazing authors and events. Now they are excited to announce the long-awaited return of their beloved Literary Seminar Series in person on the Kepler’s stage. The dates for the seminars in 2023 are March 21, May 23, September 5, and November 7. What happens in a Literary Seminar?  It’s like attending the most thought-provoking lit class with the best professor on campus, but without any homework or stress. Each month Dr. Kimberly Ford leads an in-depth exploration of the featured book in a relaxed and entertaining presentation. Kepler’s Literary Seminars feature four books—one per quarter—that have been handpicked for their artistic achievement and cultural import.

  • March 21 – Cassandra at the Wedding, Dorothy Baker
  • May 23 – The Pursuit of Love, Nancy Mitford
  • September 5 – Slow Days, Fast Company: the World, the Flesh, and L.A., Eve Babitz
  • November 7 – Frankisstein, Jeanette Winterson (and Frankenstein, Mary Shelley)


SFJAZZZ Celebrates Black History Month

SF loves jazz and we are so fortunate to get top rated jazz vocalists and musicians come to SF Jazz. Celebrating Black History Month is nothing new for jazz aficionados. If SF Jazz is new to you, now is a wonderful time to take a listen. Stand up for musical legend and civil rights activist Mavis Staples’ three-night mini-residency at SFJAZZ. The three-time Grammy winning 83-year-old will perform her decades-spanning hits; Friday and Saturday at 7:30pm and Sunday at 7pm.

As part of her week-long SFJAZZ Resident Artistic Director residency, 2021 NEA Jazz Master and drummer Terri Lyne Carrington teams up with renowned visual artist Mickalene Thomas, conductor Edmar Colon, and a 12-piece all-star cast of musicians, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music Winds Ensemble and dancer Babatunji Johnson (LINES Ballet) to present ‘Seen/Unseen: Explorations, Interrogations and Resilience’. This four-part multimedia concert featuring live visuals from Thomas, addresses racial and social injustices that face Black women throughout their life.  sfjazz.org

Tulips In Honor of International Women’s Day

In honor of International Women’s Day, on March 4, 2023, a colorful display of more than 80,000 tulips (American grown from Dutch bulbs) will cover Union Square in San Francisco. Best of all, you’re invited to visit the site and pick your own bunch of tulips to take home or to give to a woman who inspires you. Access to the garden and the tulips are all free!

The” tulip garden” at Union Square will open to the public at 1:00 p.m. and it will be closed at 4:30 p.m. By that time, all 80,000 tulips will be picked and give many American households a wonderful feeling of early spring. https://flowerbulbday.com/information/



  • Kim Selby

    Kim Selby, the SF life editor of The Three Tomatoes, is your gal for info on what’s hot and happening in the beautiful bay area. Having lived on the Left Coast for 27 years, after almost a decade in NYC, she has explored and continues to have adventures all over the San Francisco area. Passionate about fashion, formerly with GLAMOUR magazine and Fashion Director at Saks Fifth Avenue , Palo Alto, Kim produced fashion shows in the bay area for over 20 years. She now creates events to empower, delight and inspire women, aka “Tomatoes”. Learn more about Kim at www.kim-selby.com

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