the spirit of 608 podcast | December 8, 2015


Silver Lining’s Winning Playbook
by Daniela Province
"It’s what’s inside that counts” is how founder and designer Rel Lavizzo-Mourey describes her luxury outerwear brand Silver Lining. With startup costs funded by a Kickstarter campaign, Lavizzo-Mourey’s goal of supporting arts education by way of fashion has been fully realized with this month’s e-commerce launch.

“I’ve always been interested in walking the line between doing something entrepreneurial and wanting some kind of creative outlet to give something back to the arts,” she says. “The way I like to describe it is that P.E. or recess was my second-favorite period in school. I’ve always loved art class, and on rainy days I’d stay inside and draw or paint, so that was my ‘silver lining.’”

Rainy days were the inspiration for a line of jackets that are appropriate for summer in San Francisco, and creativity flows throughout the business plan: Each season Lavizzo-Mourey will collaborate with fine artists to create unique inner linings for the jackets and donate 6 percent of retail profits to arts education. Oakland artist Kelly Ording collaborated on the inaugural collection, and Mission District nonprofit Root Division is the recipient of this season’s charitable contribution.

An organic cotton gabardine Fitzgerald Trench makes a statement with belt, epaulettes and cuff bands designed in reversible leather and cotton for a look that goes from classic to edgy. Men’s field coats in Japanese wool are a cool antidote to Patagonia fleece and Chrome hoodies. The jackets, and a collection of handbags with bespoke linings, are made in the United States with luxury price points to ensure no shortcuts are taken in materials and manufacturing.

Lavizzo-Mourey’s new venture couldn’t have materialized without years of observation and strategy. A Wharton MBA also helped, as did her background in fashion and performing arts.

“It’s really important not to lose focus on the arts in light of all the science because it does teach you how to think differently and creatively. If you like to do art it doesn’t mean you necessarily have to grow up to be a painter or fine artist. But maybe a person who takes art class is going to have outside-the-box thinking that’s going to help them in other ways.”

Silver Lining also offers customization for its linings and early orders have already provided a new way to display kids’ artwork as well as sacred messages. “Part of Silver Lining is the concept of inner beauty. If you can use that lining as a way of creating a story or conversation around what inner beauty means to the customer or to the individual, that is the reason why I wanted to focus on that. It’s the secret, and also a statement.”

Daniela Province is a San Francisco freelance writer. E-mail:

SFGATE.COM | October 19, 2015

Slideshow: Things I learned After I Moved to the Bay Area
by Jessica Mullins