After over three months under a mandated shelter-in-place order, San Franciscans are eager to get back to their normal lives. And it can’t happen quickly enough for Al Ribaya, who has operated North Beach’s Al’s Attire on Grant Avenue for more than 15 years. Al has been retooling his custom clothing shop for the reopening, and busily filling orders for regular customers in the meanwhile. “Remember, I’ve got my clients’ measurements,” he says. “So it’s easy for me to make something special on request.”

And special is the word. There’s nothing quite like having something made just for you—and there is no shop quite like this one. There are a lot of boutiques out there, but Al’s Attire is that rarest of things: an authentic designer’s workshop. Bolts of vivid fabric compete for space with professional tailor’s mannequins, and the tabletops are crowded with samples, bags of carefully labeled vintage buttons, and other trinkets of the trade. The whole vibe of the place is creation.

Al Ribaya’s ‘Fight The Virus’ line incorporates superheroes like Wonder Woman and The Flash into custom jackets and shirts. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

Then there are the clothes. And the shoes….oh, the shoes. Seriously, I’ve been inside the place a hundred times, and there is always something new to see. There are literally hundreds of designs on the shop floor, running the gamut from the retro to the modern. There truly is something for everyone, and it’s all great fodder for inspiration if you’re planning on having something unique made.

Al isn’t afraid to try something unconventional, and some of his most memorable creations are one-of-a-kind pieces he has made for local customers. A jacket he recently made for an old friend, for example, incorporated vintage fabric from the 1970’s depicting DC comic superheroes.

Al’s Attire is one of the most eclectic boutique spaces in San Francisco. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

It’s just the kind of weird idea that can make for a bold design, and in this case Al struck gold. The response has been so good, he has created a series using the superhero fabrics, and Wonder Woman has now taken her place among Superman, Green Lantern and The Incredible Hulk in the lineup. And who couldn’t use a superhero right about now?

Sure, the masks can be a pain....but we may as well have some fun with it. –Al Ribaya of Al's Attire Click to Tweet
Masks @ Al's Attire -

If it’s a mask you’re looking for, Al’s Attire has the best selection in SF. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

In these days of vanishing retail, Al’s Attire is a uniquely useful resource. Is there something that you’ve always wanted, a bucket-list item that you always put off? Or a beloved, but tattered piece of old clothing that you’d like to either refurbish, or recreate entirely? It doesn’t matter if it’s alterations, shoe repair or a classic, custom-tailored suit—Al Ribaya is the man to talk to.

Al also has the coolest masks in the neighborhood. “We’re working on new designs, so you can have something no one else has,” he says. “Sure, the masks can be a pain, but we may as well have some fun with it.”

At Al’s Attire in San Francisco, the choices seem to go on forever. | Photo: Joe Bonadio

As things ratchet back up, Al’s got a little extra time on his hands, so it’s a great time to reach out to him and his staff for that perfect item. And after the doldrums of this lockdown, I’m sure they could use the business. Let’s keep these guys around, shall we?

Stop in soon, and tell them I said hello. Meanwhile, stay safe everyone, and make sure to come back for more local developments. See you soon!


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Al’s Attire
1300 Grant Avenue
San Francisco, CA
(415) 693-9900