by Nicole Rinn
I silently berated myself for my choice of apparel as I stumbled down Mission Street in San Francisco on an unusually warm September afternoon. My long black skirt seemed to suck in the oppressive heat. Lola Gallery, where up-and-coming fashion designer Jude Gabbard y Muñoz is an Artist in Residence, was a welcome refuge from the high temperatures.
Gabbard recently held a show in his studio at 2517 Mission Street on to present his innovative new clothing line, modnik, to the public. The name comes from the designer’s nickname, modnika (“little fashion friend”), which was given to him by classmates during his studies as the first American student accepted at Kirov Textile Institute in St. Petersburg.
While Gabbard grew up in Portland, Oregon (a city he calls “the arts and crafts center of the United States”), he chose to study in Russia because he feels that fashion design is taken far more seriously in Europe than it is in the U.S. In Russia, he was able to “explore a lot of conceptual ideas in fashion,” and “merge beauty with science or with technology.” Upon returning to the States, Jude opened up shop in Reno, and later left to study textiles in Mexico, where he also derives many of his influences.
While modnik is Gabbard’s main label and Jude Gabbard is his couture label, Rain Shawl is his line of ready-made coats and accessories. The eponymous rain shawl is practical yet chic, a wrap made of waterproof silk with a leather trim. Rain Shawl is great for travel, especially for someone who may be coming in and out of cars in drizzly weather.
Rain Shawl, Jude explains, is for someone who wants a light coat that is stylish and unique without being over the top. The woman who inspired Jude to create the shawls frequently traveled to Tokyo and needed something lightweight and fashionable, but also functional.
Gabbard’s fall color palette includes orange, green, red, as well as metallic fabrics. The clothes are made mostly from luxury fabrics such as wools, silks, and wool silk blends. He’s also incorporating antique and vintage lace into his line.
There are currently six shawl designs; matching hats and knitting bags are also available. Rain Shawl can now be acquired through Jude’s studio (t 775.233.6829), and may soon be purchased at Neiman Marcus (Jude is in the process working out a deal). Prices range from $120 to $395.
Gabbard’s new collection of clothing also includes matching accessories (including hats, gloves, bags, and shoes), an old-fashioned touch that makes his outfits feel complete. Gabbard does a lot of made-to-order work, and his clients are traditionally very well traveled women who want clothes that will serve a number of purposes-outfits that, while comfortable on the plane, will also look stylish upon arrival in Paris.
Jude Gabbard is a designer who truly understands the needs of women on the go. Whether you are in Paris, Tokyo, or Chicago, Gabbard’s designs will fill your need for fashion that is both classy and stylish yet comfortable and functional as well.
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2517 Mission St.
San Francisco, CA 94110