Everything you find here is dreamed about, designed and handmade in California, meant to be cherished for years to come and one day become the type of vintage we love to find. In a world of fast fashion and mass produced goods, we strive to keep a small operation, creating handmade goods with integrity and attention to detail, treating each design like a piece of art.
Opal Pineapple is an outgrowth of our first collaboration: Mint Mall. We met in 2003, as waitresses in San Francisco’s Castro district and quickly bonded. We became obsessed with sewing after taking a workshop together, so we rented a small, basement studio in the Mint Mall building downtown, selling stuff from our closets on eBay to cover rent. It was an immediate success. We’d have epic, wine-fueled sewing sessions, and hem upwards of 80 dresses in a single night - we were very happy when the maxi skirt came back in style.
Our work is informed by over ten years of experience, customizing and selling vintage clothing and accessories. We styled and photographed all our own photo shoots, spent countless hours in thrift stores, sifting through millions of items over the years and gained a loyal following, learning the styles and silhouettes our customers coveted most. This was our classroom and is what ultimately brought us where we are today.
Even though we work in different mediums, we share an intuitive creative process that benefits from the unexpected. Our designs start from a loose idea and transform into something wholly new, which allows space for them to take on their own shape in the moment, without any restrictions. We often come up with the same ideas at the same time even though we no longer live in the same city. We are forever linked, and even though we inhabit two worlds there is still a cohesiveness in our designs that comes through effortlessly.
As a kid, my Mom made all of our clothing by hand and taught me to sew at a young age, and my Father, a painter, used to take my sister and I into Manhattan on weekends to wander around museums and galleries. I’ve been thrifting since high school and vintage movies, music and style are my biggest sources of inspiration. All of this combines with a deep knowledge of fashion that comes from over twelve years as a vintage dealer.
I create pieces that are unique and special, preferring new designs rather than making the same pattern over and over. My ideas for pieces come first from finding fabrics that I love. I prefer to use vintage, antique and found fabric to create my pieces, essentially transforming already existing materials into something else. I want my clothing to feel soft to the touch and have a nice drape, so you’ll never find any synthetic materials. Just natural fibers like cotton, silk and wool. For me, color and fiber content are equally important. I favor a monochromatic palette, using colors that complement each other across the collection, including interesting shapes and silhouettes whenever I can. I describe my style as avant-garde, minimalism with an effortless California vibe.
Growing up in rural San Diego, I was always outside, surrounded by orange and avocado groves, riding horses, building forts, playing tennis, hanging out at the beach and catching lizards. From there, I settled in San Francisco, where I spent my twenties and thirties exploring the city’s fashion and culture with a community of artists, musicians and poets who inspired me daily. This is my physical and personal geography, the driving force behind my work.
I gravitate towards colors and textures found in nature, and try to capture that essence in form. I’ll stick to a single color palette for a few pieces then move on to another for the next series, varying how I work and what I create so each one-of-a-kind piece is truly special. If the form is simple, I go heavy on pattern and texture. If it’s complex, then I'll tone it down, so it’s not too much to take in. The painter-printmaker in me enjoys the surface decoration most. I love layering with slips, carving patterns, using wax as a resist and then glazing all or parts of the piece, treating the surface like I would a painting. The resulting statement pieces are primitive and bold, but also functional and refined.