If you watched the most recent season of Project Runway, you're likely familiar with Emily Payne, the 80s/Space Oddity-influenced talent who was often the voice of compassionate reason on the show, even in the midst of reality-TV-chaos.
Payne's been in the fashion design biz since 1997, and has lived in SF (with a break in SoCal, for which we forgive her) since 1999. As a private-label designer, she worked for companies that sold goods at Hot Topic, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21, but in 2007, when Emily and her now-husband Isaac had a daughter, Emily moved into kid's clothes, launching cult-fave line DevonRose.
In 2011, she started her women's label, Leathertongue, which Emily described to SFist as "a high-end street wear label for fashion forward women who want to show their femininity, but with a sharp edge," (which basically sounds like how 9/10ths of the women I know describe their aspired-to personal style). And she's still chilling with the Runway pack: She's going to be teaching a draping class at Britex with Sacramento-based Season 11 designer Richard Hallmarq on February 7 (tickets are $25, available here), and will be doing a Valentine's Day fashion show with San Mateo-based Season 12 designer Alexandria von Bromssen at The Empire Room (555 Golden Gate), details here.
Name: Emily Payne
Introduce yourself in one sentence: Hi, I'm Emily and I'm a double Leo.
Age and occupation: 41 year old Designer
Home town: Temple, Texas
How long have you lived in SF?
I lived here from 1999 to 2004 (moved to SoCal for some strange reason) then moved back to SF in 2011.
Best deal in SF:
For food: El Gallo Giro Taco Truck in the Mission (23rd) for the best MEAT!!!
For clothing, Relove"on Polk Street. It's a vintage and modern resale shop. Great buyer there, friendly and attractive staff, and nice prices, too.
The best thing in/about your neighborhood (Chinatown) is: It's close to EVERYTHING:)
Your favorite Bay Area restaurant is: SouthPaw BBQ & Southern Cooking
Place you always tell visitors to the Bay Area to check out:
Britex Fabrics in Union Square. It's a 62 year old family-run luxury fabric store with four floors of inspiration and crazy creative types EVERYWHERE inside.
You have two hours and $25 bucks to kill in SF, what are you going to do?
Walk to Polk street, get a crumb donut from Donuts and Things. Then, cruise up Polk (towards Vallejo St) and get a imported fashion mag from Smoke Signals, and grab a dirty chai.
Favorite mode of transportation: Walking
Beer, wine, cocktails, or mocktails (please elaborate):
Red wine! I drink a glass (or two) almost every night.
Favorite Bay Area stereotype, and whether or not you buy into it:
That it's a "GAY" city...I don't buy into it...it's an "ASIAN" city.
Who's your favorite San Francisco character (living or dead, real or unreal): Juanita MORE
San Franciscans are the WORST about: Crossing the street
SF has the BEST: Weather for layering:)
You can tell someone is a local here IF:
They have three layers of clothing in their bag.
I have found/sold/bought the following on Craigslist:
Bought my Industrial Juki straight-stitch (almost brand new) for $400.00
What do you want all SFist readers out there to know about your city?
It can be incredibly beautiful and disgusting at the same time.... and it is ALWAYS changing.
Tell us a “only in San Francisco" story
When I lived in SF the first time (99-04) I had a studio space on Market & 6th for a tiny while. If you live in SF you know that's a really seedy area and DIRTY. Once (after FINALLY finding a parking spot for my enormous Explorer) I walked up the alley to the back entrance like I always do. That day was one of the only two hot days of the year and I was wearing my favorite MIU-MIU sandals. Suddenly I stepped on something that caused me to slide for a moment, nearly falling. "That better not be shit" I thought to myself as I looked down and realized to my horror that I had stepped on a dead bloated rat and rat gut had squirted onto my bare sandaled skin!! It was all I could do to hold it together as I ran into the building and stuck my foot in the sink.