If you’ve never shopped in the Mission District it’s easy to think that the Valencia Street shopping hub cuts off at 16th Street at Clothes by the Pound.  But if you dare to venture just a couple blocks South to 14th you’ll find a skunk worth getting close to—it’s funky, but in the best way.  Skunkfunk on Valencia Street is a destination store with a following for a reason.

Even I’m  intimidated to go into a store if it looks like the owners all volunteered in the Peace Corps, or the clothes might be too hard to understand.  But with Skunkfunk I was pleasantly surprised.  Though made from organic cottons,  hemp and recycled polyester the style aesthetic works.  With lines for both men and women, including accessories, Skunkfunk joins the ranks with the sustainable, versatile skirts-that-are-also-shirts clothing crowd.

A Spain based company that began ten years ago in Bilbao, Skunkfunk joined the Mission shops about three years ago and since then has opened another in New York and a store on Haight-Ashbury.

The brand is also in about two hundred boutiques nationwide and has a really strong following in Spain and Germany—tourists from those areas tend to seek out the store, according to Katie Kovacich, one of the store managers.

With an atmosphere that screams L.L. Bean meets The Roots, think hunter-gatherer, the store is a beauty. It smells like cinnamon and new clothes.  There’s crown molding, chandeliers hanging from high ceilings, a chair rail, an old staircase, and even  skylight.  The old character of a 1900s home comes together nicely with the industrial accents like metal beams that hold clothes and the lost in the forest color scheme. 

The store stays at a neutral tone and so do the clothes, rarely deviating from chocolate browns, hunter greens and grain ambers.  A few pops of color materialize through ruby red shirts for men and blue handbags for women.  But most of the clothes have enough going on that basic colors fit the style.    And while I’m always big on throwing some color into your wardrobe I like that the colors remain basic while the funk comes out more in style.

“The designers are in Spain and they know the woman’s body so well,” said Katie.  “The way they design clothes it just hugs and moves with you and it just fits so well.

Don’t be intimidated by the Euro sizing though; you can either do your own conversion by cutting your number size in half  (if you wear a 8 you’d be about a 4 maybe a little smaller) or asking the helpful staff to do the fashion guesswork—of course try everything on. 

My favorite pieces are hands down a lazy sweater dress in deep olive with black circular design pattern for $85, and a pair of faux leather drop crotch shorts marked down from $95 to $66.50.    A dress might run  $88, a sweater about $100, which is amazing for something that you can keep until you say when.  I’m mums on what I scooped but I left with a shopping bag and I am afraid of the monster they have awakened.

But it won’t be too terrible because right now the store is having a huge sale, moving out inventory to prepare for their Spring collection.  On March 19 Skunkfunk will be having their Spring/Summer 2010 launch party and runway show right in the store.  Doors open at 7 p.m. free cocktails will be served (the fashion way) and 20 percent off the latest collection will be available.

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