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Behind The Scenes

Lauren Wolf Takes Us On a Tour of Oakland’s Coolest Neighborhood

In 2010, Lauren Wolf and her boyfriend moved from New York City to Oakland, California. And though the designer behind the gritty-but-elegant jewelry line loved her old neighborhood in Brooklyn, she immediately fell for Temescal—so hard that she decided to open a shop, Esqueleto, there. “It’s sort of hidden,” she says, “but it’s a real community.” Here, six of her favorite local haunts. —raquel laneri Crimson Horticulture Rarities“Our store’s in a unique space: It’s an alley of old horse stables that have been converted into commercial retail spaces. This horticulture store is just a stone’s throw away from us, and they do a lot of our plants.” (crimsonhort.com) Ali Golden“Ali Golden is an Oakland-based ready-to-wear designer, and she basically hand-makes all her clothing in her store here. She does really contemporary basics, and they’re awesome. She just started a handbag collection, so I bought a bag—black and white striped canvas with brown leather handles. She’s also making a black silk top for me now.” (aligolden.com) Pizzaiolo“Esqueleto’s alleyway connect back to this place called Pizzaiolo. It has been in the neighborhood for about eight years. It’s all local food. The chef who owns and runs the place used to work at Chez Panisse, so it’s really high-quality food and a really interesting menu. Get the pizza, obviously.” (pizzaiolooakland.com) Mind’s Eye Vintage“The owners are great girls. They stock the shop based on themes—last month was baseball, so they had a bunch of vintage Oakland A’s pieces. Now they have a ton of vintage bathing suits.“ (mindseyevintage.com) Doña Thomas“This is a sort of upscale Mexican restaurant, and the food is very traditional—I should know, I lived in Mexico! When you walk in you feel like you’re in old-world Mexico: high ceilings, bright colors, tables covered in that plastic floral print. We like to go there for margaritas.” (donatomas.com) Pacific Ring“I love the boxing gym. They offer Muay Thai boxing, an all-over strength conditioning boxing, and it’s really intense. Pacific Rim has been around for a really long time. Before work, I either do boxing here, or I go for a hike in the Oakland Hills, which is just 10 minutes from our house.” (pacificringsports.com) Now’s your chance to score Lauren’s equally cool edition: These druzy earrings could hang in Oakland or *anywhere*.
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Lauren Wolf’s Super-Talented Artist Friends

The space! Lauren Wolf’s Oakland boutique Esqueleto, which means skeleton in Spanish, sells jewelry—the work of a dozen designers, including herself, is up for grabs. But it also doubles as an art gallery. The ultra-rad shop, with its white walls, rams’ skulls, and Southwestern rugs, showcases a different on-the-verge artist every two months.  Here, Lauren shares some of Esqueleto’s illustrious alumni, including, adorably, her illustrator boyfriend. —raquel laneri Speaking of rad, wait ‘til you see the sparkly earrings Lauren made for us. No need to wait, actually: Click here. Afton Love“Afton is a native Oakland person, and I met her through one of our jewelry clients. She’s just really starting on her career, and she’s excellent. She does drawings with graphite on tracing paper and then dips them in beeswax, so they have this really ethereal sort-of look, which is awesome. And she has these custom redwood frames build for her work. They’re really stunning pieces.” Michele Quan“Right now we have Michele Quan’s work up. She’s a Brooklyn-based ceramicist. One of my friends had told me about her, and then Michele and I both happened to be at the same trade show in New York. A lot of her ceramics are skulls—bird skulls and that type of thing—which fit with our shop name. So it really made sense. And it’s been really well-received so far.” Patrick Dunaway“The first person we featured was my boyfriend. The gallery idea was originally something that we had together. He does pen-and-ink drawings, all original. We have known each other since first grade—we did not date the whole time, though! We were always friends and in touch, but we didn’t really end up reconnecting until he moved to New York when I lived there. When that happened, we decided to give it a shot, and now we’re here in Oakland. So, we obviously featured him first. And he’s come and gone with some shows since then.”
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