Shopping & Style
The Ultimate Brooklyn Fashion Guide: Shows, Styles, Sales and Must-Wears
It's no secret that we're in the midst of Fashion Week, so what better way to show off how Brooklyn's fashion scene has really taken off? With new boutique openings and endless emerging designers, it's hard to keep track of what's hot and what's not. From metal necklaces for ladies to wool hats for men, starry party garb to classy under garments, how is one supposed to be in touch with the fashion scene? Well, we've wrapped everything up in one neat package for you. We've scoured the streets of Brooklyn, spoken to shop owners, sought out fashion designers and got the inside scoop on our own borough's Fashion Week(ends). We even went so far as to find out where the latest sales and deals are and where you - Brooklyn Exposed readers - can snag exclusive shopping discounts. Read on to induldge your fashionista's delight.
Brooklyn Street Style
What winter storm Nemo? Last weekend, we captured just how stylish Brooklynites are no matter what the weather outside. Photo Gallery: Brooklyn's Fashionistas
Must-See Fashion Shows
Williamsburg Fashion Weekend will take place February 15 - 16 at the Space, 50 N. 3rd Street. Featuring ten new and emerging fashion designers from New York and New Jersey, the doors will open at 8pm, with the runway show going on at 9pm. In its twelfth season, this year’s show will be hosted by founder Arthur Arbit, who will guide the audience through their seated tour of the local designer scene. WFW will feature a diverse assortment of styles, including salvaged “factory waste” material turned into beautiful items by IQ Test, as well as the blazingly poppy garments by Marco Santaniello.
Brooklyn Fashion Weekend is set to celebrate its 15th season from February 28 - March 3. Down at the Bush Terminal of Industry City in Sunset Park, each evening will kick off at 6:30pm with the Red Carpet Celebrity VIP Reception, followed by live runway shows that begin at 7:30pm. Eco-art designer Luis Valenzuela will host as headline designer and opening keynote speaker. This show will feature native New York and Brooklyn designers, as well as some international flavor with fashions from faraway lands like Nigeria and Poland.
Five Women's Shops We Like and Why
1. Jane’s Closet
Jane’s Closet (135 Grand Street, Williamsburg) is a straightforward women’s boutique that effectively provides anything one could expect in such a shop. Their lovely set-up of clothes, accessories and home goods looks finest when bathed in the natural light that shines through the glass front of the store. The illumination emphasizes the essence of everything from gracefully knit sweaters to cut-off shorts. In the array of black crushed velvet dresses, flower-print skinny jeans and oversized cardigans, any outfit you can put together from Jane’s Closet can be easily complemented by their floppy hats or decorative necklaces.
With a fine array of casual urban women’s wear, Cloth (138 Greene Place, Fort Greene) offers clothes that could accommodate both playful, youthful and more refined, mature looks. Most of the attire in this shop is simple, but holds a touch of panache, such as a collared dress with patterned white flamingos or a pair of black boots with bold metal zippers. Cloth also sells accessories like shiny solid tote bags and dangling metal feather necklaces, along with artisan bath and body products. Everything about Cloth is practical, from its name, location and display, to its apparel and accessories.
3. Mary Meyer
Mary Meyer (56 Bogart Street, Bushwick) is a store, brand and a person. Originally from the west coast, Mary Meyer relocated to Brooklyn, where she founded her company in 2005. Her own line is “designed and produced in Brooklyn, and in doing so, [she] supports a lot of Brooklyn based businesses.” In addition, many of the designers carried in the store are Brooklyn based, such as Lila Rice. Meyer’s inventory boasts accessories such as Baggu leather bags, Goldies natural beauty products, and attire like plaid A-line dresses, patterned T-shirts and Pendelton boots. A true Brooklyn resident, Mary Meyer also co-directs Step Right Up, which is a non-profit after-school program that provides free art and theater workshops around NYC.
Owner Jennifer Mankins is a veteran in the fashion world, from working at Steven Alan to co-founding a label. This hybrid experience is part of Bird’s fine tuned aesthetic. Dating back to 1999, Bird is Brooklyn’s first, and finest, designer boutique. It has succeeded up to today, with locations in Park Slope (316 Fifth Avenue), South Williamsburg (203 Grand Street) and Cobble Hill (220 Smith Street). The store offers accessible pieces from independent designers such as APC boots, Rachel Comey clogs, Zero + Maria Cornejo slacks, Alexander Wang T-shirts, Isabel Marant silk shirts, Mast Brothers chocolate and Hank Panky’s.
Two fun facts: 1. The Williamsburg location hosts art and photography exhibitions. 2. Bird is the very first LEED-certified retail store, of note to us eco-friendly shoppers.
5. Alter Woman
Though there are three locations in Brooklyn, the Alter on the eastern side of Franklin Street (140 Franklin Street) in Greenpoint is specific to the ladies. Co-owners Tommy Cole and Roy Caires created their own brand six years ago, focusing on reclaimed and reworked vintage fabrics and designs. Their aesthetic principle translates into the items offered at the store. The inventory ranges from global styles such as Preloved to easy-to-wear Cheap Mondays to high-end Jeffrey Campbell, and, of course, local designers such as UZI. The biggest draws are the affordable prices and the consistently new inventory.
Five Men's Shops We Like and Why
Conveniently located on the Western side of Franklin Street right across from Alter Women’s is the male outpost of this store (109 Franklin Street, Greenpoint). In this boutique, guys can browse through racks of fitted plaid shirts, dress slacks and local pride T-shirts that spell “Greenpoint.” If men happen to venture to Alter on a mission to accent their style, this shop provides solutions like bold purple belts, sleek biker gloves and thick leather suspenders.
2. The Gentlemen’s Shop
Appropriately named, the Gentlemen’s Shop (458 Bergen Street, Park Slope) is a spacious place full of urban wear like jeans, studded leather backpacks and chain bracelets and necklaces. There are also gentleman-like accessories, like silk handkerchiefs, snakeskin wallets and bowties in light and dark shades. Collared shirts, denim jackets and vests are available, as are an abundance of “Brooklyn” T-shirts.
The left side of this Fifth-Avenue shop holds the menswear, which ranges from clunky, Western-looking leather belts to an arrangement of solid and striped ties. This store emphasizes its selection of high-quality denim, offering brands like Agave, Sling & Stone, Joes and Naked & Famous. Topping it off with their assortment of button-down shirts, Razor (329 Fifth Avenue, Park Slope) makes a fine one-stop shop for a polished look.
4. Modern Anthology
Modern Anthology (68 Jay Street, DUMBO) describes itself as, “Where Wes Anderson meets Stanley Kubrick.” Whether it’s a Conrad leather couch or a Badger hair shave brush, the detailed curating of inventory is impeccable. The store offers a wide array of home furniture both new and vintage, a refined selection of grooming goods, classy and easy-to-wear clothing, durable bags, shoes, wallets and notebooks. Modern Anthology carries brands such as luxury bedding by Matteo, colorful and comfy socks by OW socks, industrial watches by Tsovet, New York City based accessories by Nikolai Rose, and Ernest Alexander classic button downs. Couch or shaving brush, Modern Anthology is a one-stop shop.
5. Hollander & Lexer
Whether a Mediterranean pumice stone or a Rag & Bone button-down, you are bound, even obligated, to leave this men’s fashion boutique with a worthy new addition to your life. Hollander & Lexer (385 Atlantic Avenue, Boerum Hill) is filled with artifacts repurposed for contemporary living, with shirts, shoes, bags, wallets, belts, cufflinks, skulls, bones… the list goes on! The store feels like a smoking lounge crossed with a rediscovered Roman Bath - conveniently located in Brooklyn.
Five Brooklyn Designers We Like and Why
1. Ilana Kohn
Ilana Kohn was born in Arlington, Virginia, and spent 10 years working as a commercial illustrator. She has lived in the borough for the last thirteen years, and states, “my world pretty much entirely revolves around Brooklyn. It's where I live and work, I love it. It's where most of my fellow designers and friends live as well.” Ilana Kohn’s designs bring the trendy pattern to the wearable level: “My aesthetic [is] all about bold, graphic prints on relatively simple, no-fuss garments. All with a definite tomboy edge.” Her popular pajama pants are perfect when paired with a loose white T-shirt and glammed up with a black blazer. All of the textiles are designed by Ilana herself, such as the individually hand marbled washed silk crepe de chine pants. Williamsburg Fashion week 2013 will be Ilana Kohn’s debut in knitwear, so keep an eye out!
2. Alexander Campaz
Bed-Stuy veteran Alexander Campaz designs his sweatshirts and T-shirts with geometrical and simple lines: “I am inspired by symmetry and colors.” As a child, he was drawn to soccer uniforms from companies such as Diadora and Umbro. As an adult, he became interested in color blocking, along with Russian constructivism from artists like Rodchenko and Malevich. Alexander says his designs range from a more formal aesthetic to urban wear. With experience in printing and stitch work, he “found a balance in creating very minimal pieces that do not have a lot of construction in them. It allows me to use fabric more freely and like a canvas.” Alexander is influenced by Brooklyn, saying, “there is a lot of creativity and energy here.” His designs give a fresh feel through their clean lines and blending of bold colors.
3. Suzanne Rae
Suzanne Rae by Suzanne Rae Paleaz focuses on locally made, edgy womenswear. Her clothing is designed in Brooklyn and manufactured in New York City’s Garment District. This designer also collaborates with local artists and industries to include sustainable material. She experiments with oversized looks derived from menswear and monks paired with feminine touches such as drop waists and dainty collars. Her clothing feels beautiful and calm with the simple craftsmanship of patterned suits, minimalist black-and-white dresses and high-waisted midi skirts. With a neutral palette and flattering silhouettes, her line offers a piece for everyone.
4. Daisy and Elizabeth
Daisy and Elizabeth began their lingerie line one and a half years ago, when they were completing their studies at FIT. Things have been going well for this pair, who just finished a long weekend of V-Day pop-up shops. Manufactured in Bushwick, every item of this intimate apparel line is fun and feminine, with touches like cinched centers “for a little extra oomph!” The pair’s current inventory consists of lacey, floral and leopard bralettes and bottoms, and they plan on creating some new swimwear pieces for when it’s warm. Daisy and Elizabeth are also proud members of the Brooklyn Fashion League, a community comprised of different Brooklyn based designers. You can order Daisy and Elizabeth lingerie through their website.
5. Devo Wevo
If you have a desire to contrast your bland, utilitarian wardrobe with something more funky and spunky, consider Devo Wevo. Every item in this line is imaginative and energetic, from the frilly, pink Little Pony Glitter Dress to the Vintage Playboy High Waist Skirt (phot right) to the Silver Holographic Crop Top. This eclectic mix of bold prints can be seen sported at places like music festivals, parties, raves and other special events; musicians and singers also rock these zany garments onstage. Devani, the creator of this wonder, recently designed a dress for Jade Jolie for the premiere episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 5. Even if you’re not a rock star, drag queen or party celebrity, you could still wear certain parts of this line as active wear, such as a bodysuit for swimming or leggings for yoga. Devani is also gearing up to show with Raw Brooklyn on April 18th, and will soon be selling on NastyGal. As for the future of Devo Wevo, Devani plans on creating more men’s pieces, along with collaborating with other local artists.
Essential Men & Women Clothing Items
Brooklyn Exposed chatted with some local shop owners and asked them what is the one article of clothing every woman and every man needs, and why?
Brooklyn Industries - PR Rep, Julie Thompson
"We at Brooklyn Industries definitely consider a quality jacket to be a must have for anyone. Whether you live in a cold or warm climate, you'll need to stay either warm, dry or out of the wind at some point. A good quality one can last for years to come."
Women: The Woodland Cotton Parka is a fully lined cotton/poly with lots of pockets, hood and drawstring waist.
Men: Since it's nearly spring in Brooklyn, we recommend our New Borderland Jacket, which is a cotton twill with lots of pockets, a hood and zip + snap closure.
1 of a Find Vintage - Boutique Manager, Maylis Atkins
Women: I think the perfect leather jacket makes any outfit. A leather jacket adds a little edge to a sweet, girlie dress or adds instant style to jeans and a tee for Sunday brunch. I scored an amazing white leather moto jacket by Versus at the Manhattan Vintage Clothing Show that will be in heavy rotation come spring.
Men: Definitely a well fitting pair of jeans. Preferably Levis. Nothing is more attractive than when a guy knows how to frame his assets.
1 of a Find, 633 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
Thistle & Clover - Camilla Gale, Co-owner
For women and men: A great pair of jeans. They look good anytime, day or night. You can dress them up or down, and they are quintessentially American!
Thistle & Clover, 221 DeKalb Avenue, Fort Greene
Scosha - Stacie Lucas, Marketing Director
Women: A well-tailored black blazer. You wear that over pretty much anything and suddenly you look sharp, well put-together and professional.
Men: A pocketsquare. Pocketsquares are awesome; nothing like a dapper man with a perfectly patterned pocketsquare. Suits can get bleh and this is a way to show some pizazz. Or your serious side.
Scosha, 64 Grand Street, Williamsburg
TRUNK - Aimee Grubel, Owner
Women: A "guilty pleasure" garment. Something that you know you have that you either wear all the time or only on special occasions. But you know you have it and it makes you happy. For example, cashmere socks, something you spent "way too much on," or something that is just that special. It's the special pieces that stand out!
Men: A great jacket. The jacket sets a tone for his entire look.
Trunk, 68 Jay Street, DUMBO
Neda Boutique - Neda Z., Owner
For women: As far as an essential piece of clothing every woman should have in her wardrobe, I would say a vest. A vest is a clothing item that can really change the look of an outfit. Right now an open, flowing vest looks great over a fitted ruched dress. This creates a casual look for a dress that you may normally wear to a cocktail party.
Neda Boutique, 302 Court Street, Cobble Hill
Kill Devil Hill - Mary Brockman/Owner & Designer
Women: Beautiful panties (we do not sell those here). When I have on a pair of beautiful panties I feel great no matter what I'm wearing! Ladies should do themselves a favor and throw away all the worn out, out of shape, falling apart underwear. You’ll never miss them!
Men: Handkerchief (and we do sell ones we hand stitch here at KDH). Every time a man has pulled out a handkerchief for me to use, it has made me fall in love, and they are incredibly useful!
Kill Devil Hill, 170 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
Antoinette - Lexi Oliveri, Owner
Women: Of course, a great fitting pair of jeans! Because every gal needs a pair of denim in her closet that fits like a glove.
Anttoniette, 119 Grand Street, Williamsburg
Sales & Deals + Exclusive Brooklyn Exposed Reader Discounts
Brooklyn Exposed Reader Discount
"BKEXPOSED" code is valid both in stores and online for 20% off any one full-priced item. Valid in stores and online from February 14 - 17, 2013. Cannot be combined with any other offer or discount, and does not apply to gift cards.
Brooklyn Industries has various locations, including 328 7th Avenue, 162 Bedford Avenue and 184 Broadway.
// 1 OF A FIND //
1 of a Find Vintage celebrates Valentine's Day with every customer on the 14th receiving a Valentine and a free gift. Hint, hint... everyone loves a good piece of jewelry...
Brooklyn Exposed Reader Discount
Mention you saw us on "Brooklyn Exposed" and receive 20% off any one item. One per customer, per visit. Can be used with in-store or online purchases.
1 of a Find Vintage, 633 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights
// KILL DEVIL HILL //
Brooklyn Exposed Reader Discount
We will offer a 10% off exclusive to Brooklyn Exposed readers on any KDH made item. This includes candles, reed diffusers, handkerchiefs, bags, aprons and mustache wax. In-store only. Must mention “Brooklyn Exposed.” Offer good for month of February only.
// ANTOINETTE //
Brooklyn Exposed Reader Discount
Brooklyn Exposed readers receive an additional 5% off. If they mention “BK Exposed,” we'll give them a total of 15% off their purchase.
// JUMELLE //
Jumelle will be holding a Sample Sale February 14 - 18. Shoppers can look forward to discounts of up to 50% on collections from Alexander Wang, No 6, Electric Feathers, Mayle and more!
Jumelle, 148 Bedford Ave, Williamsburg
// JULIA JAMES BOUTIQUE //
Sales & Deals
Julia James is saying bye to Greenpoint. Their Store Closing Sale is going on now through February 24, and everything will be up to 80% off.
Julia James, 200 Franklin Street, Greenpoint
// FRENCH GARMENT CLEANERS //
Sales & Deals
French Garment Cleaners is holding its Winter Sample Sale from now through February 17. There will be reductions of up to 50% off.
French Garment Cleaners, 85 Lafayette Ave, Fort Greene
(Additional Reporting: Rebecca Ney)