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Drawn From the City : Snezana

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DRAWN FROM THE CITY: Illustrations and Interviews of SF’s Best, first appeared in The Bold Italic in 2015 and ran through 2016. We at liked them so much we asked Crystal if we could put them out again as a time capsule of SF’s creative scene during the height of the most recent tech boom and demographic change.


Snezana is a Serbian Fashion Designer, Icon and artist living in SF’s Mission district.

When did you move to San Francisco?
I moved here from Serbia 7 years ago, San Francisco chose me; it was like a blind date. I came through a student interexchange program where you do not choose a city, basically you get chosen. I was hoping for New York because I had a lot of friends there. But I am happy I didn’t end up there because I hate New York. I like visiting my friends there but San Francisco made me spoiled. My first experience of San Francisco was in Haight Ashbury it was really authentic. But I love the Mission too even though it’s changing.

Why did you move here?
I was so done with my country and I wanted to move because there was nothing else that I could possibly do there. And recent stuff is going on in my country that has reminded me why I moved, so I’m pretty happy I’m here.

What is your occupation?
I’m in a grad program for fashion design. It’s something I have wanted to do all of my life. It is something that would have been really hard to do it back there.

Do you work on other things besides fashion?
I used to paint and draw. My old paintings and drawings were lost in a recent family/hometown/country tragedy so I’m a little pissed about that. Basically all of my still lifes and nudes that I really liked were lost in floods including my family home. Drawing and painting is what I have done and now I am just doing fashion illustration and making a little bit of clothes and I am learning to do that in a professional way.

What is your inspiration?
I’d like to walk the line between costume design and fashion design. That’s what interests me the most. I really appreciate the designers who were completely opposed to what was going on in mainstream fashion like the Japanese Avant Gardists like Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and the Antwerp 6; they were doing something really revolutionary.

But inspiration for myself, how I do this ad hoc “dressing up the doll” is always vintage inspired. Right now it’s primarily Hollywood 30’s glamour with big shoulders. San Francisco gave me the closest to urban style I’ve ever been; Urban combined with vintage glamour. I like that old fashion diva combined with working mom from the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. I like all those things together and clashing stuff. My own style changes because I always explore something new, because that’s fun! If you want to make your day feel good that’s what you’re gonna do.

What is your favorite neighborhood?
I really like riding my bike to the industrial part of the town to the old docks and old ships just beyond where the Dogpatch is along the seashore because it’s quiet and I like the old falling apart stuff there.

What are your favorite events in the city?
I like Indie Slash at Amnesia, Hard French at El Rio, my friend from Empty Cellar Records organizes shows, and his bands are awesome. I like things at little holes in the wall that are slowly disappearing. I heard that the restaurant on the corner by my house was a gay punk club, I’m really bummed to have missed that.

I look forward to Pride, I am a fan of it. Tonight I’m going to Roller Disco, I grew up on roller skates and later on roller blades but I have never experienced Roller Disco. They don’t have it back in my home country. And I’ll get to dress up for it; I’ll wear some sparkles and maybe my ugliest 80’s pants.

What has San Francisco done for you?
I feel like I find peace in San Francisco because everyone is from somewhere else and it’s so diverse. People are really expressive and they don’t really give a damn about what you are wearing and how you look which is really cool. I always like seeing different people on the street. Diversity makes me happy. I am from a small country, small society, small town, and small community, therefore conformity is really appreciated and everything that sticks out is put in the center of attention, commented on and trashed or whatever. But here it’s so chill and peaceful I love it. In that way San Francisco gave me peace, that’s a big thing.

How do you feel about the changes in the city?
I certainly don’t like it because in a way it gets more and more boring, I’m a little mad or sad about the lack of creativity in all these new things coming in and I hate these condos that keep popping up and all of these restaurants that look alike and are so overpriced. I have no problem spending money on food; I mean I am a foodie, a food and fashion fascist. Coming from a small place that has really good produce made me a food fascist here because I’m always searching for good taste. Although I don’t like the new businesses I am aware that it is more complex than that. It used to be that every little restaurant had its own story. Hopefully some of those little places will survive. I’m trying to accept the changes but at the same time I’m a little sad because I enjoy more freaks on the streets; that is something that makes San Francisco, San Francisco. But I am hoping that in a way that culture will survive here. If that is the indigenous culture of San Francisco it will survive, at least that is my optimistic point of view. The ironic thing is my husband is in the tech industry and that’s what makes me live in the place I’m in, because rents are crazy now.


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Crystal Vielula

Crystal Vielula

Crystal Hermann is an artist, fashion and costume designer living and working in San Francisco. She graduated with a BFA in Fashion Design from the California College of the Arts. She currently teaches fashion, sewing, painting and drawing to school age students in the Bay area.
She loves drawing and creating things and is constantly learning new exciting skills that she applies to her work. Besides creating things and teaching, she enjoys riding her bike and dancing. You can see more of her work at