The humming sound of my wife’s Bernina sowing machine has been a constant companion as long as I can remember. An accomplished seamstress, Jette has for years been replenishing my wardrobe with an array of classics. Not so long ago, she introduced me to her source of fabrics, Hvidberg Vintage hidden in Copenhagen’s inner city. Hvidberg Vintage has been a silk and cloth merchant since 1780 and for generations Hvidberg Vintage has been suppling exquisite fabrics to Copenhagen’s tailors, private customers and costume designers in the world of theatre, television and film. Since 2003, Jens Ulrich Hvidberg has been at the helm, navigating the company finding a new cliental and providing its own tailor-made services. Standing at the counter, I noticed those standing in the queue, where men, ranging from a sushi chef looking for a fabric to protect his precious knives to a costumer designer. Wandering around the rows of Hvidberg Vintage is a journey not unlike an adventure into a friendly book shop.
San Francisco too, has a fabric store, which may not have existed since the early days of American Independence, but the Britex Fabric Store in downtown San Francisco, is truly an icon. The store was highly recommended and its vibe, quality of service and selection of fabrics lived up to it’s reputation. Met by our store host, Douglas, impeccably dressed, invited us to take the elevator unto the 4th. floor and take the stairs down, and as Douglas elegantly put it, “Work with gravity.” Originally, the Britex Fabric Store was located in New York, but the owners, Martin and Lucy Spector moved the company to its present location in 1952. Tucked away on Geary Street, the store is also neighbors to the city’s only Frank Lloyd Wright building, the Xanadu Gallery on 140 Maiden Lane. We left the Britex Store charmed and with several meters of luscious batik fabric.