Cicely Hansen, the owner of Decades of Fashion in the Upper Haight, held a press conference in her store Friday and brought reporters into the back room where California Fish and Wildlife agents say they found furs made from endangered animals last year. SF District Attorney George Gascon has characterized this back area of the store as a purposefully clandestine location for selling her illegal wares, but Hansen is defiant, with an attorney now at her side, saying that she was the target of an unfair sting and that these clothing items were not illegal in the state when she purchased them, or when they were originally made decades ago.
"When these things were taken down, these poor animals that were made into these furs back in the 40s, they weren't considered endangered," Hansen said at the new conference, shown above via KRON 4. “I know that sounds a little indelicate but they were not. I don’t think had the consciousness to even think about that.”
Hansen's store was raided in February 2016, one month after a new law took effect making it illegal to sell the types of items that investigators found and seized previously, as is still the case in many other states, it was legal to sell furs and other items that were made prior to 1972 and considered vintage. Hansen claims to have been unaware of the change in the law.
For reasons that should seem obvious to anyone who has spent any time in the Haight, Hansen keeps many of her more expensive, old, and delicate items in this back area, which she showed off Friday, pointing to a dress from the Civil War era as an example.
As NBC Bay Area notes, Hansen invited reporters in because she says she has "nothing to hide," and that she is simply a "fashion historian" who does not deserve prosecution over this.
A Fish & Game warden entered Hansen's store working undercover in February 2016 and was shown items, including a jaguar coat priced at $4,500, that were made from endangered species. She potentially could face four and a half years of jail time if she's ultimately found guilty.