Erin Reinecke Balint's jewelry.

Maneater’s Goin’ Hungry: You know times are tough when overhead is killing even online-only retailers, although Maneater Threads proprietor Tanya Zilinskas is determined to squeeze some lemonade out of the big, sour economic lemon. The S.B. native (turned Bay Area babe) launched in 2005, and has amassed an incredible collection from hard-to-find labels like Nu Collective, Mike & Chris, Burning Torch, By Francine, and Project Runway alum Rami Kashou’s eponymous line; the draping dream-weaver even created an exclusive collection for Maneater. Alas, come late February, the site will be shuttered. But this fashion-loving maneater has no plans to starve: encouraged by the popularity of the site’s blog, she plans to launch another ( In the meantime, what remains of that boldface inventory is on crazy markdown; she’s even offering 40 percent off purchases of $100 or more, and 50 percent off $150 or more. Which is to say, put down The Indy and get shopping! (Just pick it up again once you’re done.)

Adieu to eMBe: How much does it suck when the only trend a fashion writer is writing about is the Going-Out-of-Business one? Granted, eMBe was a short-term endeavor from the beginning, yet it hurts mommy to write it: After an all-too-brief cameo in the Paseo Nuevo space formerly known as Mel’s, eMBe will be closing its doors in February-and offering mega-discounts (30-50 percent off) until then. (This makes mommy feel a little better 🙂 If you’ve not been by since last fall’s turbo-remodel, go, before it’s too late. The line, created by former Armani designer Mary Beth Larkin, is pure understated chic-an aesthetic that’s echoed by what she managed to do with the space, which now feels far more TriBeCa than Tijuana.

EcoZuzu's 100% organic cotton clothing.

The Exception that Proves the Rule: Amid all this doom and gloom, there are a couple (re)births to report. Jewelry designer Erin Reinecke Balint, whose bling has been available in shops like Kate and at private shows for years, has launched a Web site (, where ERB loyalists can shop her unique, sophisticated designs. Just because she’s gone online doesn’t mean she’s gone mass-market-the newsletter alerts devotees whenever new, one-of-a-kind pieces are added to the site, taking the “first dibs” fights virtual. : And, finally, Josephine Tournier Ingram’s Zuzu clothing line has been reinvented EcoZuzu; duds are now made of 100 percent organic cotton or recycled materials, and all packaging and promotional materials have gone green, too. Ingram’s added a fully functional Web site (, and recently scored a minor coup of the TMZ variety: Adrian Grenier, of Entourage fame, apparently is a fan, as he’s been snapped in one of Ingram’s first designs, the vintage biplane tee. Break out the cigars.

Cali Green founder Chris Scott in the store's newly opened location at 1 West Ortega Street.
Paul Wellman

Spotlight On: Cali Green

Legend has it that local apparel company Cali Green was born in 2002, when Miguel Rocha Jr. woke up one day and realized he didn’t have a cool shirt to wear. Not just cool-something that embodied California culture in all its skating, surfing, artistic, eco-minded glory. Managed by a brood of creative, enterprising guys, Cali was treated as a mellow side project until May of last year, when 25-year-old Rocha was tragically killed in a hit and run. “We all started taking it a lot more seriously,” said Erik Brown, one of Cali’s five current owners-and a drummer and music teacher-of the business. Case in point would be last month’s storefront opening, at 1 West Ortega Street, which they pulled off in record time. Inside, you’ll find Cali duds for men and women-casual, locally made tees and hoodies, as well as standouts like Kristin Clark’s awesome custom hats. Cali’s owners-Brown, Chris Scott, Matt Malloy, Chris Campbell, and Matt Trottno-each bring a little something extra to the table, and their common interest in music takes Cali Green beyond the realm of clothing: nighttime jam sessions combining deejays and live musicians have been known to spring up in the shop, and they’re currently planning a fashion show/benefit for February 9 at the Wildcat. Music, art, cool T-shirts. It’s all coming together-much like the way Rocha, whose shoes hang above the doorway, envisioned.

Wallace recycled tee

Check Out: Wallace Paints Art and Fashion Show

While he’s not exactly the type to find himself in danger of being voted Mr. Santa Barbara, Wallace is an inextricable piece of the stylish, subversive part of this town’s soul. From his reign as True Grit’s patriarch, to his solo turn at Particle, or his recent art shows at Eos or Roy, he’s always got his hands in something cool. And while his art is fabulous-edgy, contemporary, rock ‘n’ roll-as a stylephile, I have three clothing-related reasons you should check out Wallace at Roy tonight, January 22, from 6 p.m.-midnight.

1) Shredded goes sexy: When it’s coming from Wallace, even pious “recycled” wear gets a rock ‘n’ roll twist. Men’s tees are reincarnated as more stylish, sexy shirts for women-after being scissored, stitched, and spray-stenciled back to life.

2) Mohawk hoodies: For lads and lasses, also recycled, these sweatshirts are spray painted, silk-screened, and embroidered with designs as edgy as the ones hanging on the walls.

3) For the NWA-nostalgic: The “WOW” line boasts huge prints on bright-colored V-necks and crews for men and women, sporting sayings like “I’m not the model,” “I sell crack,” “I am not the DJ,” and “I get high on my own supply.” Clearly nothing is sacred, not even EZ-E’s best advice.


Wallace’s duds are sold in town at Bryan Lee. For info, visit


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