Far too many of my interactions with the people who consider themselves “San Francisco style elite” are repulsive.

Most recently I was standing in a group of people backstage at a fashion show when a local designer sauntered into the room and singled out one person to say hello to, pointedly snubbing the rest of us. I have to wonder, does he think that’s good for business?

I’ve had the opportunity to get to know some of the most amazing creative people in the world, and all of the best are courteous and are genuinely interested in everybody. Elitism is one of the clearest indicators of mediocrity.

When I stopped by Christopher Collins‘ boutique on Sutter Street the other night to see his most recent collection, I didn’t see any of that elitism. Instead, I saw not only beautiful clothing, but a community of people brought together by a wonderful man.

Christopher’s clothes compliment so many different body types, from the tall and statuesque to the nine months pregnant, but even better than how they look is how they make women feel. Every time someone stepped out of the dressing room they had a huge smile across their face.

So often people step out of dressing rooms looking doubtful and disappointed by the clothes they try, but Christopher’s clothing is a compliment to the woman who puts them on.

Those who showed up to see and try his new collection felt more like family than customers. There were babies, mothers, fashionistas, clothes lovers of advanced age and an aspiring young fashion designer named Finn.

The boutique also carries a line of gorgeous scarfs, handbags and wraps by Ella Lou, a company focused on ethical business that imports hand-made, one-of-a-kind products from around the world.

Christopher and his creative director Erica Filanc Ttanamachi (who was nine months pregnant) drew all these different people together with great clothes and a way of doing business that is friendly, open and inclusive, all of which are marks of greatness.

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the author

Babe Scanlon is a writer living and working in San Francisco. She's worked as an archaeologist, computer game designer, agent at Agent Provocateur and hypnotherapist. She is controlling your mind at this very moment.

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