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Mid-Market clothing designer looks to bring positive energy to San Francisco neighborhood

San Francisco clothes designer works to make impact on Mid-Market's image
San Francisco clothes designer works to make impact on Mid-Market's image 02:57

The custom jeans company and sewing school Holy Stitch! celebrated the opening of its new location on Thursday as a part of the Market Street Arts initiative from the Mid-Market Foundation. 

The business hopes to attract more visitors and provide needed skills to young people in a neighborhood that has become a hub for streetwear and remains an important entertainment district for the city. 

"To see what's going on in San Francisco or the picture that's painted of San Francisco versus the reality of San Francisco, I know I'm actually putting the paint to the canvas and a testament to what's really going on," said Julian Prince Dash, the founder of Holy Stitch! LLC. 

Dash says the rich history of Mid-Market as a corridor for the arts motivates him to help bring back San Francisco to the city people know and love. The retail component and Factory Fellowship under one roof at th new location allows him to run his for-profit business and his nonprofit together. 

The combination of a store, production facility, and sewing school hopes to have a short-term and long-term impact on the corridor. Dash can design, tailor, embroider, and host photo shoots at the location, plus he has a print shop in this space. Dash was part of program that placed artists in storefronts along Market Street more than a decade ago. He also participated in the city's Vacant to Vibrant program. 

"I say nature is the best designer. Most of the things that we love and derive from come from nature," he told KPIX as he explained why he loves denim. "It's a common denominator for me to communicate my ideas art ethos and to get that to the people."

Dash started by sewing jeans and then added the educational component to Holy Stitch! as part of his greater goal to contrast with the large fast fashion industry he believes feeds into consumerism. Jeans are an essential item and all people can and choose to wear it regardless of class or ability. 

As a parent of three who works with young people regularly, his journey from being homeless to helping his students have a place to live speaks to his vision for the city and beyond. Dash sees a disappearing workforce in San Francisco since the pandemic, but a growing youth population that want jobs and need valuable skills that can translate into a variety of careers. He says the fellowship can help them have bright futures locally. 

"I think as Mid-Market goes, so goes San Francisco. This is the heart of this city," said Rob Ready, a project manager for the Mid-Market Foundation. "So this neighborhood is unique. It's beautiful and it's wonderful and as it continues to thrive and improve so will San Francisco."

Ready says the neighborhood has plenty to provide residents and visitors with restaurants, bars, hotels, retail stores, and performance venues. He says the opening of Holy Stitch! is another example of Mid-Market moving in the right direction. The support from the foundation's Market Street Arts program comes with funding from the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. 

Another motivator for Dash is the chance to feed a growing appetite for products in U.S. He takes pride in selling jeans made in San Francisco. His vision for Holy Stitch! is to one day be on the pier with a factory that is off the grid and solar powered. A model for the combination of innovation and technology supporting the arts that lives up to the reputation of the Bay Area. 

"We all know that sharing and helping others is fulfilling, so I just I live by that," Dash said. 

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