Meet Michael

San Jose Crossroads buyer Michael is a fashion stylist and papa to a “bear of a dog,” not to mention a European fashion enthusiast who thinks Courtney Love is the next celebrity to come out with a line. Meet Michael!

How long have you been working at Crossroads?

This December would make it 5 years now. It’s crazy that I’ve been with the company this long. I started working for Crossroads as a part-time job. Just to have a bit of cash flow from when I was in college. College is over now and I’m still here. I must really enjoy it. Haha. A lot of us at my store have been working there for many years. We’ve grown to be a family and we can’t get enough of each other…or It’s like a cult, so we can never leave (just kidding!).

What are 3 memorable moments in your life?

Graduating college, the day I came out to my friends and family *cue Diana Ross track*, and the day I met my dog, Kobey.

 If you could take a trip anywhere, where would it be?

Well since I have a thing for clothes coming from the Netherlands or surrounding countries, like Norway, Denmark, or Belgium, any one of those would be amazing. It definitely would be somewhere in Europe. I’d land in Paris first, because symbolically it’s like a French door threshold which you have to pass to gain entree to all the European countries. I absolutely must stop through Antwerp and Copenhagen, then probably end the entire trip in London. Oh my God! Let’s go right now! I think I just figured out my backpacking trip to Europe Summer 2012.

Good answer! What about your home…how would you describe San Jose to someone who hasn’t been there before?

The city is up-and-coming with all new attractions and places to check out. It’s the third largest city in the Bay Area and the tenth largest in the country. (Thank you Wikipedia, but who knew!?) The best way to describe San Jose to someone who hasn’t been here before is to experience it for themselves. I make a great tour guide! It’s funny, if you’d ask me this very same question 10 years ago, I’d say San Jose sucks, but I was going through the rebellious teenage phase living in suburban hell. I guess I grew up.

You have a Visual Communications degree from FIDM in SF. Tell us what that’s like? Why did you decide to do that?

Well I always knew I wanted to do something with fashion. I didn’t know at the time what that job would be, so I went to FIDM and they helped me figure that out. I knew I didn’t want to design garments. That required way too much work and everything I did would be overly criticized by the masses. I knew I wanted to work alongside the people in the industry, like the designers, editors, and photographers, in a field like marketing, styling, branding, and such. The Visual Communications degree was broad and open to different career choices in marketing, styling, or art direction.

Michael’s styling

You also do styling for photo-shoots. How did you get into that? Are there any cool projects you’d like to tell us about?

Well go back to the previous question – that’s pretty much how I got into styling. It’s like playing dress up as a kid. Instead of dressing Barbie and Ken dolls, you get to dress beautiful women and gorgeous men. You’re able to create and tell a story, visually through fashion. Potential photo shoot ideas in the near future would be doing a series of fairytales or nursery rhymes inspired photoshoots, retelling familiar stories with modern apparel and a different outlook. Perhaps a darker twist at the end.

How do you spend your days off?

I live the simple life on my days off. Most of the time it’s looking after my bear of a dog, Kobey. He’s a black Labrador and golden retriever mix, so he’s BIG and very playful. He sometimes has the mind of a Pomeranian, but he doesn’t quite get that he’s built like a bear. I love him though! When Kobey isn’t around, you can find me either hanging out with friends, working out, watching movies, wandering around a museum (which reminds me that I want to see the Ralph Eugene Meatyard: Dolls & Masks exhibit at the deYoung) and sometimes I just like to sleep in all day, haha.

Joanna, our San Jose District Manager, tells me you like baking? Whaa? What are you going to make next? Can I have some?!

I actually haven’t been baking as much lately, but since it’s nearing the holiday season I may start baking again. Pumpkin or apple something, I don’t really know yet. My parents have a persimmon tree in their yard and persimmons are in season now, so I’d like to try making something with persimmons. Once I figure it out, I’ll drop some by to you guys :)

Yes please! As a stylist, do you have any tips for anyone seeking to get into styling?

Network with friends or people who share the same interests, like other stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, and photographers. Collaborate with them and see what story you all can create. Most importantly if you choose to be a fashion stylist, educate yourself! Research up-and-coming designers, trends, and collections. Always be open to inspiration. Inspiration is all around us…it could be anything from bundles of fallen leaves to a broken street lamp. Take photos, write ideas down immediately, look through magazines and blogs, and save photos you like! They may become very useful for a photo shoot . I put them all on my blog so they’re easily accessible. If you ever wanted to know what I’m inspired by, just go to my blog!

Michael’s styling

How do your styling skills come into play at work?

Since we work with clothing all day long, customers all the time seek us for our opinions and suggestions about what’s new, current and trendy. I’ve had many customers ask me to create an outfit for them for a particular occasion or just to help them make a fresh new wardrobe. Styling a customer and styling a model are two very different things. You work with customers in all different shapes and sizes, and you have plenty of different options of clothes and styles for them to keep trying until they find something they’re comfortable in and look great.

I’m our store’s window designer as well, so every time I put up a new window display I get to dress up our mannequins. Our store will also be doing the winter trend report, so that means I get to put together outfits based on this season winter trends.

How would you describe your own style?

Neoclassic industrial minimalist from the future!? Haha. I’m really into just the simplicity of the shape, classic styles, and crisp clean solid hues of color.

Do you have a style icon? If so who is it?

Raf Simon, Raf Simon, Raf Simon!!!! Marry me, Raf Simon!?

Who do you think is the next celebrity to come out with a line?

Courtney Love, enough said!

Do you have any selling tips for our readers?

Keep it current!

Thank you for your time, Michael!

Meet Emerson

Last month you had the opportunity to meet Sam, but this month I’d like to introduce you to Emerson. Beyond the racks of Market St Crossroads, the owner of Funkanometry SF likes karaoke and has a vintage yellow bike named Bonita Applebum. True story. When asked how he describes his style, Emerson narrows it down in two words, “grandpa chic.” Looking at his photos, this means a mix of dapper duds and urban flavor sprinkled with a bit of plaid…all things I like. Go Em!

How long have you been working at crossroads?

I’ve been working at Crossroads for about a year.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

My favorite part of the job is my co-workers. Also, the store is located in a pleasant and fashionable community.

 You have a vintage of yellow bike you ride around town. Where did you get it? Where do you usually head to after work?

The name of my vintage yellow bike is Bonita Applebum. She was my gift for my 30th birthday. I usually ride her to get groceries at the nearby Trader Joe’s.

If you weren’t working, how would you spend a Saturday?

I would be hanging out with friends and checking out trendy restaurants and going to karaoke.

If you had to recommend a few things to someone who has never been to San Francisco, what would they be?

A few things I would recommend are pastries and caffeine at Tartine, a fatty dinner at Mission Chinese Food and cold beers on a sunny day at Dolores Park.

You are the creative director and owner of Funkanometry SF dance company in addition to working at Crossroads. How did you get into dancing, and what’s it like being a part of it?

I started it with my best friend who also has the same passion for dance. It began just as a fun hobby then grew into a non-profit dance company. We have amazing dancers on the team that keeps me motivated and inspired to continuously do better. It can be a lot of work but, it is work that I enjoy doing. It also keeps me young.

What are some events your dance group participates in? Do you ever do performances?

We actually perform all over the world, but our big bay area shows are the hip-hop dance fest this November, Pride, Body Rock in San Diego and our very own show called Sock Hop, which is next summer.  Sometimes we get invited to perform at different parts of the US and participate in workshops.  Being non-profit means that we offer low rates for our dance services, reach out to the community by performing at school functions, and lead after school dance programs in the Bay Area plus more.

 Any videos or photos you can show our readers? 

What are a few of your favorite dance songs?

Like I Love You by Justin Timberlake

That’s The Way Love Goes by Janet Jackson

All Night Long by Mary Jane Girls

Hello by Martin Solveig

DANCE by Justice

If you could have got into just one show this past fashion week, which would it be?

Patrik Ervell. I like Patrik Ervell because of how good his clothes fit my body type.  I can barely afford the brand, but every time I wear his clothes, even a simple shirt, the fit is very flattering and the quality… so good. There’s also the tiny details that catch my eyes whenever I see a new a piece.  It’s always an exciting experience, that’s why I love Patrik.

You also have a fashion blog called Mangoes for Dessert. Why and when did you decide to start it, and what is your focus? 

I started it 3 months ago and the focus is look good, do good, feel good. I believe that fashion should be able to transform a man into his to be the best version of himself and the clothes should reflect that.

Where did the name of your blog originate? What inspired you to start it?

It originated from my childhood.  I was born in the Philippines where I lived in a province surrounded by mango trees.  Everyday there was always fresh and ripe mangoes in the middle of the dining table.  I remember my siblings and I always finishing the main course in order to just get a taste of some really sweet mangoes.  The name Mangoes for Dessert reminds of happy precious moments with my family.  The inspiration for the blog comes from my friends who love and adore fashion.  We always talk about how fashion and style are such key elements to a good lifestyle.  To appreciate fashion is to appreciate beauty, to appreciate beauty one needs to love life and all the good things that comes with it.  A bit cheesy.

 Not a lot of guys in the Bay Area are into fashion. Why do you think that is and why do you think they should be?

Men in San Francisco are a bit more relaxed but I have seen several guys who really show good fashion and style. I think more guys should get into fashion because it truly helps setting the standard in men’s fashion in the bay. It’s nice to see men who take the time to get ready in order to be presentable for whichever the occasion and whatever they do.

 How would you describe your personal style?

Grandpa chic with a little bit of fun.

 Do you have any selling or buying tips for our readers?

Make sure it’s clean and in good condition :)

Thank you for your time, Emerson!

Meet Samantha

When Bridget, our Pasadena store manager, suggested Samantha as the second installation of our Meet Our Staff feature, I was stoked beyond belief. Why? An enthusiastic vinyl record collector, Samantha listens to punk/hardcore but has a background in piano and ballet. Besides that, her style is as amazing as it is eclectic – one day she’s classic rock and roll, and the next day she’s wearing a soft bird print shirt and a delicate sheer skirt. The only question left? Samantha, when are you selling that top?

Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m originally from the Central Coast of California. I was born in Santa Maria but spent the majority of my life growing up in Nipomo.  San Luis Obispo County is made up of a lot of small beach towns so I’ve always felt like sort of a small town girl. I’m now currently living in East LA along with my younger brother, Samuel.

What do you do at Crossroads? How long have you been working at Crossroads?

I’m a full time buyer and floor supervisor at the Pasadena location. Besides that I am also in charge of supplies and operations. This September I will be celebrating my one year anniversary with Crossroads!

You’re an avid vinyl collector. How did you get into that? How many do you have? What was the first vinyl record you ever bought?

The first record I ever bought was a Set Your Goals record back in 2006. My boyfriend and I started getting really into collecting about two years ago and have a combined collection that we are pretty happy with. We don’t have anything too rare or expensive, we just sort of buy what bands we like and listen to. We however do have a pretty extensive collection of Algernon Cadwallader and Sabertooth Zombie records which are two of our favorite bands. So far we have roughly 120 records since haven’t really kept up with our hobby very much lately. Slowly but surely we’re adding more to it though!

What kind of music are you into? Five bands you’re currently feeling. Go!

Oh man, I listen to a lot of stuff! But I suppose the majority of what listen to the most is post-hardcore, punk/hardcore,  and ‘90s emo bands. I’m a big fan of the Kinsella brothers! Any bands they’ve been in I love. I got to see Cap’n Jazz play at the Echoplex last year and that was one of the highlights of that summer.

Lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Braid, Jawbreaker, Lucero, Sabertooth Zombie, and At the Drive-In.

You used to be into ballet and play piano. Tell me about it!

When I was little, my mom had me involved in all sorts of after school activities. Anything from karate to sewing lessons, it was a lot of fun. The two that I stuck with the longest were ballet and piano though.  I started taking piano lessons a little before I turned five and continued to do so weekly for thirteen years. I used to enter annual competitions which called for months of training. I would perform a duet piece and two solo pieces before an audience while an adjudicator took notes and dictated at the end whether or not I would pass onto the next level of competition. I remember it being very stressful but such a rewarding feeling.

As for ballet, I started taking lessons also around the time I was five and continued to do so 4-6 days a week for eleven years. Ballet is by far the thing I’ve been most passionate about up until this point in my life. I think it’s because I spent so much time working and training hard and I always took it very seriously. I never wanted to become a professional.  I think I always knew in the back of my mind that there was something else out there for me. Performing was the best part about dancing, getting to show off all the work you’ve put in during rehearsals and of course getting to wear the costumes!

Bridget thinks you look like Minnie Driver. Is that just Bridget being Bridget or does it have any truth to it?

Customers are always telling me I look like her! At least one person every week mentions it, it’s funny. I used to get it a lot when I was younger, but it wasn’t until more recently that new sellers come in and ask me if I’ve ever been told that I look like her. I don’t see it very much myself, but customers seem to think so.

I hear you like to DIY your clothes occasionally. What are some cool things you’ve made?

I don’t so much anymore, but I have in the past. My mom studied fashion design and has always been into fashion so I’ve just grown up around that creative atmosphere. I think I have to give her credit for getting me into fashion and design. I used to mostly alter pieces that I would find while thrift store shopping but I have made a few things as well.

How would you describe your personal style?

I wear what I like! I definitely embrace whatever trends I’m into and try to make them my own. I can be a bit eclectic and mix it up with colors and loud prints, but mostly I wear a lot of monochromatic looks, like playing with silhouettes, and wear a lot of black. I think I’ve become a bit predictable however, so I’m thinking of switching up my style a bit for fall.

Do you shop where you work?

I think I shop at Crossroads at least once a week. I’m trying to save money, but it’s difficult when you’re constantly surrounded by great new things coming in every day!

What are some of your favorite Crossroads finds?

I’m a big Alexander Wang buff. Since working here, I’ve collected quite a bit of Alexander Wang pieces and T by Alexander Wang basics. The quality is always great, and I love how I’m able to use each piece as a clean slate to build various different outfits from.

What are three items in your closet you will never, ever trade?

My Tory Burch flats! I got a pair of brown ballet flats with the black patent toe and gold emblem. I wear these guys to death. Another great Crossroads find that I’ll never give up are my All Saints military boots. They’re the perfect color to pair with lots of different looks and have just the right amount of masculinity to them. Last but not least, my Comme des Garcons holographic snake skin wallet.

Eventually, it’s going to have to get at least a little cold out in Pasadena. What are you stoked about wearing for the Fall?

I’m looking forward to incorporating more nudes and pastels into my wardrobe and also experimenting with some tomboyish/menswear for women looks. Also, I’m itching for a new pair of Jeffrey Campbell shoes. I’ve my eye on the Ad Long Brogue in the natural color.

Shoes or bags? Skirts or jeans? Necklaces or rings?

Shoes, skirts, and necklaces!

Do you have any selling or buying tips for our readers?

If it’s your first time visiting our store, browse around and get a feel for the type of merchandise we’re buying. This helps give you an idea of some things you might have at home that we’re looking to bring into the store. Get to know us! We’ll tell you what we’re about and we’ll let you know what we can do for you.  We’re a friendly bunch here at the Pasadena location and we can always find the time to answer any questions or concerns you might have. We love educating our customers!

Thank you for your time, Samantha!

Meet Sam

Meet Sam! In addition to being one of our corporate buyers, Sam is also our in-house fashionista and an avid Crossroads shopper and seller. We’re always oohing and ahhing at what Sam decides to wear to work each day – and yes, she looks this good at work, everyday. So it was only natural that I’d ask her if we could do a brief blog feature on her to introduce her incredible style (and personality!) to our blog readers.

What do you do at Crossroads? How long have you worked at Crossroads?

I am the associate corporate buyer and I have been working at crossroads for almost five years now.

Do you plan your outfits or get dressed on a whim?

I definitely get dressed on a whim for work. On my days off I feel like I plan it a little more because I’ve been waiting to wear things I wouldn’t necessarily wear to work. I do however always go outside to check the weather first.

Do you follow trends or do you set your own? What are some things you’re excited about wearing this summer?

Of course I feel like I set my own. I’m one of those people who is convinced that I had the idea first for almost all trends, but who doesn’t? I’m really into maxi dresses right now but when it comes to summer fashion it is all about color for me. I love bright colors.

Three items in your closet you can’t live without. Go!

It changes almost every time I get something new, but right now BDG black skinny jeans, brown leather moto jacket and a top knot. I definitely consider hairdos to be a part of my outfit I can’t live without.

What would you call your “style?”

When it comes to fashion I defiantly have multiple personalities. I like to dress up as people and as stereotypes. Like I will go full rock and roll one day and the next it will be 50’s housewife. All in black one day and a psychedelic paisley jumpsuit the next. 

Where do you like to shop, and what your favorite brands?

I’m a pretty obsessive Crossroads Shopper. I don’t shop much elsewhere. I like to go to Jeremy’s and vintage shopping on occasion, but I especially love shopping at Crossroads in other parts of the country! I don’t pay much attention to brands, I shop mostly by style.

Cats or puppies?

Cats. But I’m starting to reconsider now that the stray kitten I took in almost a year ago (General Mao Mao “Mushu” Numpkins) is absolutely insane. She won’t stop biting me…she might as well be a dog.

Thanks, Sam!