Haute Boutique: You Need to be Shopping at SF and Berkeley’s Convert

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The lineup of men's clothing at Convert in Hayes Valley
The lineup of men’s clothing at Convert in Hayes Valley

For 30 years, Randy Brewer has had his finger on the pulse of men’s fashion in the Bay Area. For the first 23 years of his career, he worked as a buyer at Rolo Clothing and Villians—two of San Francisco’s most influential menswear boutiques. Yet, as he grew older his interests matured. Instead of seeking out brands simply for the clothes, he started to look for sustainable labels that used organic materials to make their products in the United States. “I was burned out by clothing,” Brewer, a stylish silver fox with timeless style, recently said. “I had to figure out a way to make it relevant to me.” The time had come for Brewer to open his very own boutique and Convert was born.

Randy Brewer in his shop
Randy Brewer in his shop

With three locations—one in Hayes Valley in San Francisco and two on 4th Street in Berkeley—Convert is Brewer’s burgeoning fashion empire. Converting people and brands into more eco-conscious consumers and producers has become his life’s passion. Brewer is challenging many of the labels he’s spent a lifetime working with to convert their ways and take the necessary steps to produce more eco-friendly collections. He’s asking the consumer to wake up and pay attention by demanding that fashion houses offer sustainably made clothing. “People care about what they put into their bodies, so why not care about what you’re putting on it too?” Brewer wonders rhetorically. While being socially responsible is incredibly important to Brewer, he recognizes that style comes first. He wants his returning converts to discover great fashion at all of his shops.

Convert, which offers both men’s and women’s clothing, is stocked with Kato and Frame denim, Citizens of Humanity knits, Will Leather Goods, and Graf & Lantz. Everything in the aesthetically pleasing boutiques is carefully curated by Brewer. Local artisans are featured and fit is significant. Denim is a huge part of the collection and Brewer only stocks sustainable brands that will hold their shape and fit after many wears.

Clothes on display at Convert in Hayes Valley
Clothes on display at Convert in Hayes Valley

The customer experience is another thing that Brewer takes pride in. He warmly greets regulars and has a whiskey bar stocked with small-batch bottles of whiskey that men (and women!) can sip while browsing the shelves. Brewer considers Convert an ageless shop and encourages both young and old to buy eco-friendly fashion. “I buy things that are timeless and ageless,” he said while folding stacks of whimsical t-shirts. With so much knowledge and a viewpoint that more people in the Bay Area are backing, it’s only natural that the next step in Brewer’s career be toward creating his own line. “A Convert men’s shirts collection is in the works,” he confides with a smile.

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