Every other Thursday, The FADER asks employees and employers at our favorite shops around the world what their most cherished in-store item is for our column Staff Affections. This week, Elizabeth Raiss caught up with Ariana Serrano-Embree, one half of the husband and wife duo behind Oakland Surf Club to chat about BASE Range’s sleek 93 One Piece swimsuit.
What inspired you and your husband to open Oakland Surf Club? My husband, Max, is from Manhattan Beach and I’m from Oakland, so we wanted to open a shop that represented both of our backgrounds coming together. There’s a heavy surf influence in both our brand and in the stuff we carry in the shop, but it’s very wearable and geared towards the people that live in Oakland and city life. We’ve stuck to just buying stuff we love and that’s worked out really well for us. There’s nothing in the shop that Max or I wouldn’t wear.
Is it weird having a surf shop in Oakland? We recognize that we’re being ironic and it’s kind of a joke having a surf shop in the city. The men’s stock definitely has a distinctive surf influence while the women’s selection is a little more curated. I feel like in some surf shops the women’s clothes are just versions of the men’s surf stuff and we wanted to avoid that. We strive to be very specific and stock high quality dresses, jewelry, and accessories. There’s not a ton of shops in Oakland, so we’re filling a niche here. A lot of the things we stock are things that can’t be found at other stores in the Bay Area.
Tell me about the black and white BASE Range suit in your latest lookbook? BASE Range is from France, I found them two or three seasons ago and we’ve had them in our shop ever since. They don’t make very many pieces each season, but they make perfect basics—like exactly what you’d want in a t-shirt. They really nail that easy French cool girl vibe. We have two of their swimsuits this season, one of which is that black and white one piece. It’s kind of to die for, it’s very ’90s with the mesh insert and the super high cut but it’s also super flattering. It’s a swimsuit but it’s made out of cotton and it’s so comfortable, you could also just wear it with high-waist jeans.
Have people in your store been responding to the BASE Range line? Oh my god, yes! I feel like it’s so hard for women to find good basics. I’ve seen people buy multiples of the exact same shirt. It’s definitely such a tactile line. The shirts are so soft. They also make undergarments, really nice bras and underwear that are super soft and relaxed and that’s what a lot of people are looking for these days. Personally, I want it all.