I met Mr Scott Holden quite soon after starting Hydrogen-1. He came to the photo shoot wearing one of the first sneakers I designed. I was gratified and proud to see that my sneakers were still in his roster of shoes and still looking great. Another delight on our photo shoot: his adorable and, I must say, very stylish daughter joined us. Such a good looking family! I think Scott epitomizes the current SF tech guy's sense of style. Long gone are the days of hoodies and Birkenstocks! Wearing the pre-requisite Japanese raw denim locally manufactured of course and a classic Bell & Ross, a perfect combination of tradition and urban edginess, guys like Scott are elevating the style sensibility of SF techies.
Give us a quick overview about your self, where you work, and what you do.
I’ve lived in San Francisco since 2000. I'm originally from Vermont and lived in NYC prior to moving here. I love this city. I never want to leave. I've lived in a bunch of neighborhoods, but my wife and our 1-year old daughter settled in the Mission a couple of years ago. We love the energy, creativity, diversity, food, weather, and that we can walk everywhere. I’m a marketer at a business intelligence software startup called ThoughtSpot - we’ve built a new breed of search engine for numbers. For 15 years, I swore I would never commute to Palo Alto, but this company was too cool to pass up and I’ve learned to love my personal time on the Caltrain.
Describe your personal style
I like wearing classic pieces with great cuts. I stick mainly with solid colors or clean patterns and mix things up with texture. I try to avoid big brands and enjoy buying from local artists. I like high quality pieces that last and have unique details that a lot of people tend to overlook. I take pride in discovering awesome companies like Hydrogen1 before they go mainstream.
What clothes are you wearing today? Why do you like them?
I love these high top brogues sneaker (Hydrogen). I have two pairs that are similar and they are by far my most comfortable shoes. The leather is amazing. They still look brand new and I've only shined them once. I’m wearing a pair of jeans by Matias that I bought this year from AB Fits in North Beach. They are designed and manufactured locally in LA. I love the cut and small attention to detail. The back pockets are sewed over on the corners and the front pocket liners are twice as thick as in most jeans I own. The pockets are always the first thing to go on my jeans. My shirt is from Ledbury - this polka dot pattern is called the Holden-Dot - fun coincidence. I’ve become a huge fan of this company over the past few years. Awesome fit, designed in Richmond, Virginia, and they are constantly launching new patterns. My sweater is from TSE. I raid their overstock sales at an outlet in Vermont when I’m home for the holidays. Lightweight merino works great year round in SF and TSE is surprisingly durable. Black leather zip briefcase from Frye.
How does your look change from work to leisure wear (if at all)?
One of the cool things about San Francisco is that most of us work and play in the same gear. My daytime work clothes double as night time wear most nights. I’m more casual on weekend days. I wear a lot of Aether tops, Tailor & Stitch pants, and Bonobos shorts. Every now and then I try to go more hipster, but my wife always laughs and says "not quite".
Can you name someone whose sense of style has influenced yours? How?
It wasn’t until my 30s that I realized that looking good is 90% fit. So I tend to pay more attention to that now. Hollywood's stylists do an amazing job fitting actors. Most of the time actors are wearing designers we all know, but they’ve been tailored perfectly. For example, Daniel Craig always looks great in the Bond films. His casual gear is really cool. Or you watch a show like Homeland and Damian Lewis looks good in very basic clothes. It’s all about the cut. No ex-military dudes I know wear casual shirts that fitted. But it makes a big difference.
How does design affect your daily life?
I love design. I think about it all the time. I’m in marketing so good design is critical in every aspect of what I do. Outside of work, SF architecture is my new passion. It’s been awesome to see all the new modern buildings going up - both commercial and residential. I always wanted to be an artist, but was too scared of struggling financially so I pursued business. I hope to pick up painting again when I have more free time. Quick shout out to Nick Foley - a local North Beach artist - whose landscapes of SF and Marin have really made me want to paint again.
What are you currently reading?
I'm reading two books right now: Essentialism by Greg McKeown and Zero to One by Peter Thiel. Both are excellent. One is about being strategically smart in business and one is about being smart at working less at business. I've never been much of a Fiction reader. I save those stories for the movies where I appreciate the design and visual storytelling more.
What is your favorite holiday destination? What is it that takes you there?
I love mixing it up and always want to go someplace new. Besides Tahoe and Napa, the only place I consistently visit is Palm Springs. It's a quick flight, it's still quaint, the weather is always perfect, the golf is amazing, and the gorgeous houses for rent make you feel rich and famous.
Can you name a website or online community where you have discovered new design ideas or inspirations?
My biggest community inspiration is from local shops. I make time to go in every cool new spot I come across. Two years ago I discovered Hydrogen1 in a little shop called La Boutique in North Beach. They had this awesome pair of two tone high top sneakers, but not in my size. I asked for the designer's number and that's how I met Hero. I love getting to know the real people behind my clothes.
Photography by Brian Flaherty
Word by Hero Nakatani