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Brand to Know: First Rite

 Local fashionista Nikki Garcia introduces her menswear-inspired fall collection.

Established: March 2011. Founder: Nikki Garcia. The Goods: Sharply tailored but easy-to-wear womenswear ($120-$300).

Rather than undergoing a typical indoctrination in New York or London, designer Nikki Garcia took a circuitous route to launching her womenswear label, First Rite. The Bayview-based 28-year-old honed her chops at business school in Montana—doubling down on accounting and marketing courses—before refining her technical skills here, at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. She introduced her first collection last year, embracing her adopted hometown’s understated sensibility.

“I wouldn’t call myself a fashion enthusiast in any way; it’s more about design,” she says. “I like my clothes to feel laid-back, not overdone.”

In this case, “wearable” doesn’t translate to sloppy. Her menswear-inspired fall 2012 collection hits the racks at Rand + Statler and at Revolver this month, pairing sharp tailoring—wool blazers, louche pleated trousers—with subtle sex appeal in crepe shirtdresses and cropped silk blouses.

Find it: Rand + Statler, 425 Hayes St., near Gough St., 415-634-0881