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SF Insiders on Most-Improved Shopping Neighborhoods of 2012

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As 2012 draws to a close, we're surveying our friends in the fashion industry about the year's biggest news stories and most exciting developments. We've looked at the best and worst trends of 2012; and we asked our local luminaries to describe it all in one word. We also asked for their favorite newcomers in Bay Area retail, and their favorite purchases of the year. Now they dish on which neighborhood won them over as the most-improved shopping haven. Just in time for your New Year's weekend shopping plans. Let us know what you think in the comments.

Jeanne Chan of Shop Sweet Things: Even though Fillmore has always been a pretty established shopping neighborhood, that area definitely went up a notch this year with new shops like Steven Alan, Scotch & Soda, Le Labo, Alice & Olivia, Black Fleece, Aesop.

Katie Hintz, Senior West Coast Editor, Refinery 29: The Outer Mission area, around Florida Street (between 18th and 20th streets), is really a growing micro-hood. The new Heath Ceramics store is over there, as well as the 2012 openings of foodie hotspots Salumeria and Central Kitchen (both part of the Flour + Water empire). And it's only going to become cooler, with the opening of Trick Dog bar and The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen in 2013. It's only natural that retail spaces would bubble up next to the culinary destinations and art galleries, as well.

Erin Hagstrom of CaliVintage: Can I say Oakland? We really saw a boom in new retail spots, which was a delightful surprise for this Oakland resident. I really hope this trend continues on into 2013!

Sarah Sung, San Francisco Editor, Urban Daddy: Fillmore Street, with the second Steven Alan, James Perse, Scotch and Soda joining the likes of Black Sheep, Ralph Lauren and Gimme Shoes. Though it probably doesn't really count as a neighborhood: Union Square attracted lots of amazing designer shops like Jimmy Choo and also global brands like Mulberry and Uniqlo that seem to imply that SF is getting on prominent peoples' style radar.

Jessica Mullens Engleman, founder of Mullens Public Relations: Dogpatch (Heath + MAC)

Joanna Riedl, publicist: The obvious answer is the Mission which is slowly but surely becoming more of a shopping destination but I have my eye on Divisadero. One of my favorite spots, The Perish Trust, is over there as well as Dina Louise, Prairie Collective and The Other Shop. With the addition of Four Barrel's The Mill, that hood is set to blow up in the coming year.

Erin Hiemstra of Apartment 34: I love Hayes Valley. It has a little bit of everything for everyone in a two block radius.

Melissa Davis, founder of Ruby Press: I love what's been happening with Oakland's Temescal Alley. It started with the barber shop (Temescal Alley Barber Shop) and every subsequent opening has been just as great. I adore Esquelito and Crimson Horticultural Rarities. I also love that Old Oakland's gorgeous historic buildings are filling up with charming pop-ups, with the project aptly named "Pop-Up Hood." It's a win-win, no?

Marilyn Cabak, philanthropist: Union Square has such great shopping, it just keeps improving!!

Claudia Ross, founder, Cross Marketing: I love all of the boutiques in Hayes Valley. I can make a whole day out of shopping there with their distinct shops covering all of my fashion needs from stores like Rand+Statler, Steven Alan for my husband & boys, as well as covering my home decor at Plantation. Afterwards, I'll head over to Samovar Tea Lounge for some zen time.

Adrienne Armstrong and Jamie Kidson, co-owners of Atomic Garden: We are biased of course to Rockridge... as there has been an influx of new stores popping up around us bringing in a new wonderful energy. We love the community aspect of shopping local here in our area.

Dr. Jordan Deschamps-Braly, plastic surgeon and menswear aficionado: I have not lived in San Francisco for too long, so I find myself still discovering new favorite shopping neighborhoods. While I tend to spend the majority of my time around Union Square for my fashion needs, I think Fillmore has improved in 2012 for being the best destination to find the less obvious trends.

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