New York: Exploring Brooklyn Through its Fashionable Shops
Brooklyn, right on the other side of the water, it’s not far from Manhattan at all, yet I never get to cross over the river often — I blame it on the busy schedule and laziness…. But whenever I have the chance, there really is no reason not to go, it has so much character and charms and is full of wonderfulness. Recently I have been spending quite some time in Brooklyn for some research — If I didn’t already think Brooklyn is fantastic, now I am totally in love with everything Brooklyn, and I wish I could soak up every bit of that Brooklyn style and make them mine.
Brooklyn is best known for its hipster style, but actually there are a lot more (duh!) than just the hipster-ness it has to offer – as there are more independent boutiques than big-box retailers in the neighborhood (and we hope that it will maintain like this), the fashion styles in Brooklyn are usually focused more on the individuals instead of the brands or the cookie-cutting styles we see in the city– it could be a little grungy, or a little street, but they are all just hip, unique and impeccably stylish but also so laid-back and approachable.
After compiling all the recommendations I got from my Brooklyn friends that are way cooler than me, I went on a store visit learn more about Brooklyn fashion! Here is the list of some of my favorite stores, I think they are a good representation of Brooklyn, and definitely fulfilled my craving for some cool trends I don’t always see in Manhattan:
1. Loran Cronk Denim
80 Nassau Avenue
Don’t judge this store by its size, this little denim store is full of style! Loren specializes in hand-crafted premium denim that is truly one-of-a-kind, from fabric to finish. The front of the stores offers a full range of ready-to-wear denims in all assortments, and the backside is a mini factory studio that does everything from repairing your favorite pairs of denim to making a brand new piece from scratch! A visit to this Brooklyn-based workshop store offers a rare look into the craftsmanship behind the small-batch, handmade jeans production – reflected in every stitch.
2. Kinfolk 94
90 Wythe Avenue
Kinfolk was formed in 2008 by a group of friends from New York, Los Angeles and Tokyo, Japan. The concept of a “Kinfolk life” evolved from their desire to create products and experiences they’d imagine but couldn’t find to purchase. This men’s store carries everything from fashion apparel to grooming product, books and everything that makes you cool. What’s even cooler is the geodesic dome-like space in the back, it’s almost like a secret bar that offers cocktails daily and can be booked out for special performances and private events.
3. In God We Trust
129 Bedford Ave
This store’s collections embody the owner Shana Tabor’s traditional New England upbringing, along with her obsession with collections, everything vintage, and her irreverent and often dark-witted humor. Since the shop opened in 2005, In God We Trust has evolved into a multifaceted brand including clothing, jewelry, and accessories for both men and women; private label collections; and a foray into custom-made commitment and wedding bands.
4. Fellow Barber
101 North 8th Street
Fellow Barber makes me wish I could grow beard and get it groomed here, too! With the relaxing sunny space lines with retro barber chairs, Fellow Barber is committed to offering a hassle-free, yet high quality experience, without the pretensions of a salon. Often credited for the revival of time-honored barbershop traditions, Fellow Barber’s expertly trained barbers provide classic men’s cuts and straight-razor shaves to a discerning clientele. The store also carries a wide range of men’s grooming, hair care, shaving and home goods. It’s a cool place to even just pop in and check it out.
5. Gant Rugger’s Concept Store
115 North 6th Street
If you think this is just a chain store, think again. The menswear label opened a “Tasting Table” concept store where shoppers can refresh their look and their palate. The brand’s Brooklyn Luxe Collection is featured in a campaign that showcases local food and spirit collaboration with the Brooklyn-based Kings County Distillery, Brooklyn Salsa Company and The Sussman Brothers. The store will be about not just shopping, but also exploring the local flavors for the shoppers.
6. Cat Bird
219 Bedford Ave
Cat Bird is a girly, white-walled Bedford brand offering a carefully curated selection of jewelry, accessories, home goods and some in-house line of designs. In the ten years in business, Catbird has become an icon and an ultimate destination in Brooklyn. I always enjoy shopping on their website, but visiting the store in person is definitely way more fun!
7. Blue Bottle Coffee Company
160 Berry Street
Not a bad place to stop for a break during the store visit! Blue Bottle Coffee is a coffee roaster and retailer headquartered in Oakland, California. The company focuses on Single-origin beans. They are notable for their dedication to coffee preparation, as expressed in the Japanese word “Kodawari” – “a sincere, unwavering focus on what you’re doing, with a goal of making it perfect, while simultaneously knowing that perfection is impossible and that work itself is most crucial.”
8. The Sketch Book Project Brooklyn Art Library
103A North 3rd Street
Brooklyn Art Library is home to The Sketchbook Project collection in its physical form. The walls are lined with shelves that hold the tens of thousands of books currently in the collection. The library serves as a reading room where you can get cozy and spend an afternoon enjoying artwork in a hands-on experience with the help of our librarians.
9. Mast Brothers Chocolate Maker
111 North 3rd Street
This artisanal chocolate factory creates bean-to-bar handmade candy in small batches and sophisticated flavors. Each flavor of chocolate is wrapped in a different graphic-focused packaging, which makes these chocolates not just tasty in the mouth, they are quite a treat for the fashion loving eyes, too! The industrial-chic store also offers tasting and tours for you to see the behind-the-scene of chocolate making process.
203 Grand Street
Bird is Brooklyn’s first fashion destination, leading the fashion-pack across the river since 1999. The original Bird store opened on 7th Avenue in Park Slope. The second location opened in Cobble Hill in 2006. The third and largest location, designed by Norwegian architect Ole Sondresen, opened in Williamsburg in 2009 and is the first LEED-certified retail store in New York. Bird maintained strict sustainability and green-building standards throughout construction and was consequently awarded the coveted LEED-CI Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. The Williamsburg store also features rotating exhibits by emerging artists.
Of course, there are more than 10 cool stores in Brooklyn, but these are the ones that I ended up spending most of my time in… I didn’t buy things from every store, but I definitely feel a little more hip and stylish just visiting the stores. This is also just a small portion of Brooklyn (mostly Williamsburg), because I simply ran out of time to move on to the next neighborhood in the same day! I’m pretty convinced that Brooklyn is one of the coolest neighborhood I’ve been to, if I don’t get to move there soon, I’m for sure going to visit it again very soon!