Can art be found in rebellion? Is there a graphic iconography that can be put on a t-shirt, a jacket, a dress? At what point can rebellion be fashion or does it just trivialize real politics? These were the questions the Brooklyn Industries design team grappled with when its Creative Director, artist Vahap Avsar, presented them with the theme Art of Rebellion for the Fall 2014 collection.
A year ago, when the designers took their pens to paper, or Wacom tablets to their Apples, there was a real sense of urgency around political unrest. Avsar had just returned from the Gezi Park uprising in Istanbul. There, Avsar found friends, artists and writers taking to the streets to protest an increasingly oppressive and conservative government. The catalyst for the rebellion was to save a small park in downtown Istanbul from being bulldozed for an aggrandizing public building. But as documentaries about penguins played on mainstream television, the police brutality of the regime showed its face. The protestors came under assault from tear gas, water tanks and pepper spray. Facebook and Twitter became the only source of news and commentary, both personally for Avsar and for the movement’s organizers.
Here in Brooklyn, the closest event the team could relate to Avsar’s stories with was Occupy Wall Street. The government reactions had been so divergent, but with similar and negligible outcomes? How then to compare the two countries if at all, and further to build a fashion collection off of these themes?
Brooklyn Industries’ graphic icons of grenadaisies, grenade perfumes and arrows are light and almost playful in comparison. The team was wary of political manifestos on shirt sleeves. But the pops of red (if ever there was a rebellious color) and grey and ochre, mixed with fractured glass prints take the collection into a territory of grit and thoughtful determination. The almost cacaphonic mixing of media and print themes seen throughout the pieces jolt the clothing from their bland high street brethren to marching activism.
Designed a year in advance, the team grappled again with how to bring the themes to present day Fall 2014. Gezi Park briefly energized Avsar and his artist friends, but still the conservative politics of Turkey continue unabated. The book Capital hit Brooklyn bookshelves (the few that are left) to charts of growing income disparity. Did Occupy Wall Street change anything?
Without definitive answers, the BKI team took rebellion finally to a place of empowerment, not the teenage kind or the real sacrifices of people living under political dictatorship. BKI looked to the impact that new media forms have on enabling creators to change their lives from the mundane to the creative. The images and communcation from our fans on Instagram inspired us to reach out to the photo processing app, VSCO and we’ve since become one of the first companies on their Grid. The team continues to seek makers and creators who are changing their lives here in New York. It’s a long road from Istanbul, but it’s a chance to bridge the East with the West, to talk politics and to make the world a little less conservative, one garment at a time.
View the lookbook here.
Intern rock stars Tori and Roby – we’re going to miss you guys. We wish our two summer interns the best of luck in their promising careers. Working with them has made us all remember that first job or internship, or for those that moved here – the first summer we spent in Brooklyn. Before they left for the summer, they were able to share their experiences here with us…
Tori , age 21
Marketing, PR and E-Commerce Intern attending College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, MA. Hometown: Middlefield, CT.
“I started this summer a small town girl from Connecticut attempting to ‘take on Brooklyn,’ and though I am still that small town girl, I like to think that after spending my summer here, there is a little bit of Brooklyn girl in me too.
Now, I’m not saying I’m ready to jump into Catey Shaw’s next music video, but I definitely take some pride in saying “I lived in Brooklyn for the summer.” At first, Brooklyn intimidated me, the only things I knew for sure were that I would be interning at Brooklyn Industries in some place called DUMBO, living in Brooklyn Heights, and, if I was really feeling homesick, the commute from Brooklyn to New Haven was about three hours.
Luckily, interning at Brooklyn Industries not only helped me get acclimated to living in Brooklyn, but it also taught me a lot about the borough. As I spent time working with the marketing team at BKI and on the BKI blog, I learned more and more about Brooklyn and wanted to go exploring. I made it my goal to not make my summer in Brooklyn feel like an extended trip, but rather, feel like an important life experience. Thankfully, that is what I got.
Putting my intimidation aside and recognizing the rich foodie culture around me, I found searching for places to eat a great outlet into exploring and getting to know Brooklyn. Smorgasburg became my little slice of heaven every weekend, which not only took me into Williamsburg, but also introduced me to the flea market. I loved walking around Williamsburg and feeling all the creative energy — we don’t really have that back where I am from and it is truly inspiring. Everything about Brooklyn sparked my creativity be it a conversation I had with a stranger on the subway, the amazing view from the Promenade, the indescribable Mermaid Parade at Coney Island, or the amazing Danish pancakes I had at Tom’s. I had never been more inspired to write, take photographs, or draw this summer than I had in my life before. And it felt amazing. Brooklyn truly is the most creative place I have ever been and I loved being able to observe and participate in the creativity beating through the entire borough.
After working for Brooklyn Industries and living here for two months, Brooklyn does not intimidate me anymore; in fact, it feels somewhat like home. I now know for sure what trains will get me where, that DUMBO is not named after the Disney elephant, and if I am ever feeling Brooklyn-sick, the commute from New Haven is still only about three hours.”
A Q@A With Roby
Job at Brooklyn Industries: Merchandising Intern
Where are you from? Monaco
Where do you go to school? Parsons The New School for Design, New York
What did you like most about working at Brooklyn Industries?
I liked working in a relaxed and laid-back environment. When I started, my team was very welcoming, which immediately put me in a comfortable environment. I also liked the fact that Brooklyn Industries is a relatively small company, which enables you to work closely with all the different departments.
Best BKI memory that you will take back with you:
I really enjoyed going to a meeting with a market vendor. It’s interesting to see how vendors can sometimes be pushy and insistent in their attempts to close a deal with you. On the other hand, it showed me that merchandisers have to be really good negotiators and know how to immediately say no when they aren’t interested in something.
Favorite Pre-Fall Piece: The Juliet Pinafore Skirt (worn by Roby in the photo above)
How do you live by Brooklyn Industries’ motto: Live, Work, Create?
Since I started Parsons, I’ve been able to discover and explore my creative side, a part of myself that I wasn’t fully aware of before starting this school. I’ve never really considered myself a creative person until I was exposed to so much creativity and art in New York City, and especially at Parsons. Using more of my creativity has been very positive for me both in a personal and professional aspect. With this internship at Brooklyn Industries, I saw how important it is to work in a creative and positive environment.
Outside of the office, what did you do for fun in New York?
Summers in New York are really special; I feel there’s a special vibe going on around here in the summer. I really love walking around the city and discovering new neighborhoods and restaurants.
One touristy thing you did this summer:
Biking throughout the city and especially on the bridges.
Favorite food truck:
Calexico, a Mexican food truck that I discovered through my team at Brooklyn Industries.
Lexy Funk, co-founder and CEO of Brooklyn Industries shares the company’s origin story and the inspiration for starting and growing the Brooklyn-based company.
We loved seeing our clothes in the wild on The Marcy Stop’s takeover of our Instagram this past weekend. Everyone needs a city break now and then.
"The best welcome back to Brooklyn. Thanks for following along as I shared my camping adventure with you guys! Til next time xx. -The Marcy Stop via Instagram.
'Brooklyn Boys', a hilarious parody of Brooklyn Girls.
We were first intrigued by Lauren Gould’s blog The Marcy Stop because, well, it was called The Marcy Stop - the first stop in Brooklyn on the JMZ line in Williamsburg down the street from where Brooklyn Industries began. Rather than shooting on the overrun cobblestone streets of Soho like so many other fashion bloggers, we wanted to see what the blog was creating and what they were wearing, against the grittier landscape of overground trains and graffiti. We met up with Lauren by her apartment overlooking the Marcy train stop for some questions about the blog:
What inspired you to start a blog centered around a subway stop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn?
The idea behind The Marcy Stop was originally conceived with the help of my former blogging partner in crime Micol, who approached me a little over two years ago and asked if I’d be open to starting a blog with her. She was looking for more inspiration and an outlet for her photography, and since we hung out all the time (and swapped clothes) anyway, a blog about our lives and fashion sensibilities in and around our neighborhood just seemed to make sense. At the time we were just having fun: shooting photos, discovering new local haunts, collaborating with friends. It all developed really naturally. And since we were spending most of our time off Marcy Ave (where we both were living), after a night out together and a few too many martinis we decided to name it after that little hub.
Who are some of your favorite artists, photographers, or bloggers working in Brooklyn?
Wow…where to start? One of the best things about blogging has been the opportunity to meet and mingle with a community of young creatives that I really feel like I would not have had access to otherwise. I’ve met some amazing up-and-coming photographers (Scott Brasher, Melodie Jeng, Dylana Suarez, Atisha Paulson & Emma Jane Kepley to name a few), a ton of inspiring and unique bloggers (from such blogs as Natalie Off Duty, The Fashion Philosophy, Fruit Punch, Jaglever, Who Is Apneet… the list could go on and on), and a bunch of really amazing new brands and boutiques that are popping up all over this borough. I feel really lucky and grateful to be a part of it all and also just to sit back sometimes and watch it all go by and happen so organically.
What styles and trends are you excited by around the neighborhood?
In Brooklyn, it feels like fashion is less about the trends and more about how you reinterpret them yourself, and for that reason I love biking around and getting inspiration from the streets. It’s also always nice after a long, hard winter to see people break out their summer best, and being a California girl at heart (I was born in LA) I definitely have a soft spot for all the current hot weather trends: crop tops, cutoff shorts, breezy summer dresses, co-ords. Like any New Yorker though, I can’t wait to start layering again come Fall and Winter. It’s pretty much a vicious cycle that never ends.
See the style picks by The Marcy Stop for Brooklyn Industries here.
The inspiration for this season’s line channels the Art of Rebellion, juxtaposing militant iconography with creative interpretations of artists, designers, and rebels. You’ll notice military-inspired detailing and ironic custom prints throughout the line (grenades and daisies, shattered glass, foxes and daggers).
We took this concept one step closer to our brand and you by channeling the rebellion taking place in peoples’ lives today, a rebellion that is completely overhauling how we’ve interacted with the world in the past, and changing the way we think about how we maneuver through it in the future. From designers working from home and setting their own hours and workplace rules, to developers dropping out of school to create the next social change app, to demonstrators with a molotov in one hand and phone with 140 characters typed out in the other, we’re proud to be a part of this great community of rule breakers and revolutionaries.
One of the things we’re most excited about within this shift is the potential for new technology to disrupt conventional behavior patterns, and to also inspire and facilitate creativity. We’ve enjoyed seeing the world through the eyes of our fans and friends, empowered to share it beautifully through Instagram, and photo processing apps like VSCO. The Pixel Trade, the photographer of the Change of View campaign (read more about him here), originally introduced us to VSCO two years ago, and we’ve not only been thrilled with the quality of imagery it helps produce, but the community of photographers and artists it has created. This photo campaign was entirely processed by the Pixel Trade using different VSCO filters (you’ll see the name of the filter used in the bottom right hand corner of each photo), and we’re proud to announce that we’ve joined the VSCO community on their Grid. Find Brooklyn Industries at http://brooklynindustries.vsco.co/
We’re stoked over here at BKI to be carrying some of our favorite vinyls from Brooklyn and NYC bands, including Sharon Van Etten, Beach Fossils, Vampire Weekend, Blood Orange, A Place To Bury Strangers, a few national acts,and more! Available online, and at our Park Slope, Williamsburg, and Union Square stores. Happy listening!
We found Bed-Stuy artist Maggie Bard at a group show earlier this year, and invited her to illustrate a shirt for us in her unique style and voice. We loved her custom illustration so much, that we asked if she would be interested in drawing it all over the walls of our store on Bedford Avenue… to which she replied, “Of course!” The more we learned about her, the more we were able to relate with her journey as a working artist trying to pursue her life and dreams in Brooklyn, so we decided to follow her around her neighborhood with a camera one day.
Meet Maggie Bard at her Art Party at Brooklyn Industries Williamsburg on July 16th from 6:30pm-9:00pm. RSVP here.
Today only, you can pick up Maggie’s Artist Series tee for 20% off.
Who doesn’t like beer gardens? Join the BKI gang at Brooklyn Historical Society for the launch of two new collaborative tees with photographer Lucille Gold. RSVP to the event here.
Brooklyn Industries is happy to announce its participation in Stonewall 45: Windows into LGBT History, an exhibition that will be displayed in the shop windows of Christopher Street from June 16-29.
We all know the word Stonewall, but you may be unfamiliar with the larger story: the context of anti-homosexual discrimination in which the Stonewall Riots took place; the actual events of June, 1969, where a routine bar raid went awry; and most importantly, the political reaction that followed and which earned Stonewall its place in history.
It’s an inspiring story, and not just for the population that was liberated by it. The ability to take a moment of fury and turn it into real political organization, with clear objectives and fierce commitment, is an important lesson for all of us. It hasn’t been without setbacks, and it doesn’t proceed without challenges, but the LGBT civil rights movement has accomplished unimaginable feats in 45 years.
The poster above will be in the window of Brooklyn Industries West Village until June 29th
To share this important history with a broad public, Brooklyn Industries has joined forces with twenty-five other merchants along Christopher Street. For two weeks, our shop window will be part of this pop-up open-air gallery. We hope you’ll have the chance to visit us and our neighbors along the stretch of Greenwich Avenue to Greenwich Street. Exhibition guides will be available in all the participating shops. Check out the website here.
Have you ever dreamed of swimming in the East River? The design firm Playlab and Family NY have, which is why they are currently working on building + POOL, a giant plus sign-shaped pool that filters the water from the river into clean water for everyone to swim in, uniting the boroughs. The project started four years ago when Dong Ping Wong of the architecture company Family approached Jeffrey Franklin and Archie Lee Coates IV and their design studio, Playlab with the idea of actually getting into the water, rather than looking at it as a boundary between Brooklyn and Manhattan or Manhattan and New Jersey. The aim is to change people’s relationship with the water by actually getting them into the water.
Coates, who came from a graphic design background, and Franklin, an architect, chose the plus shape because of its iconic and inclusive nature. Practically, the pool will be comprised of four separate pools stuck together that can be sectioned off for either lounging, kids, a lap pool, sports, etc.… or they can be combined to form an Olympic-length pool.
In order to raise money for construction of the pool, Playlab and Family NY approached Kickstarter back in 2011. At that point, Kickstarter had not taken on a civic project, and so a $25,000 campaign was launched to fund the first round of filtration testing. In just six days, they had raised $41,000, and the first filtration test was a success. Two years later in 2013, a second Kickstarter was needed to build a floating lab, but that time around, the campaign was built around giving people a part of the pool they could own – tiles on the walls and floors of the pool that anyone could purchase engraved with a donor’s name on it, along with a gift tile, because as Franklin declared, “+ POOL is just as much the people’s project as it is ours. It’s their city, so it should be their pool.” In just 30 days, Playlab and Family NY had surpassed their Kickstarter goal, and managed to raise $271,000. Today, the fundraising continues in order to complete the filtration tests and to secure a site for the pool.
During the Kickstarter campaign, the project began attracting significant international interests. Franklin added, “We want this to be an open, transparent project. We want people to build off of this idea. This problem is worldwide. In the U.S., 22 of the 25 biggest cities with waterfronts can’t use them. 90% of the world’s most populated waterfront cities can’t use them. We’ve gotten calls from Brazil and Japan. They’re working on this in London. When we had the Kickstarter, we got a lot of support and calls from people worldwide telling us this was a big inspiration to them.”
Jeffrey Franklin of Playlab atop their Floating Lab at Pier 40 in Manhattan in the BKI x Plus POOL graphic tee
With the Floating Lab up and running, Brooklyn Industries is proud to support this innovative project. We’ve collaborated with + POOL to release the initiative’s official t-shirt, with 10% of proceeds from sales of the tee supporting the project. Additionally, we’ll be hosting a meet and greet at Brooklyn Industries Smith Street on Saturday, June 28th from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., where you can meet the architects and learn more about the project, as well as purchase a tile and have your name etched in a piece of Brooklyn forever.
Today only, take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY
This Tee Tuesday, we’re doing a throwback to a design we brought back by popular demand - the Greenpoint Cleaner Air graphic tee. We originally designed this tee in 1999 to support the Greenpoint Waterfront Association for Parks and Planning (GWAPP) Coalition and the fight against Con Edison to build a 500 megawatt powerplant in the heart of Greenpoint/Williamsburg. This fight was won, as well as a later one when TransGas Energy proposed an 1100 megawatt power plant in the same area. GWAPP and the Greenpoint/Williamsburg community continue to demand access to their Brooklyn waterfront and to end and resolve the toxic nightmares that have occurred in this area. To learn more, visit GWAPP.org.
Take 25% off this tee with our VIP discount code: BKSUMMER25 through Thursday.
ENTER TO WIN LUCILLE’S TEE, A HOLGA CAMERA & MORE HERE>
Brooklyn native Lucille Fornasieri Gold started taking photographs with a 35 mm camera in 1969, capturing the striking juxtapositions of urban life in a city defined by ethnic, cultural and economic diversity. Her large and impressive body of work laid mostly hidden for decades, until they were recently archived by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Lucille’s photos will be featured in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society June 26, 2014 - February 4, 2015. Over the next year, Brooklyn Industries will be releasing five limited edition T-shirts, each featuring a different photographic print from Gold’s collection.
We recently visited Lucille before her big exhibition opening in her apartment in Kensington, Brooklyn which she shares with her longtime husband, Jack. On a dining room table the now 84 year old Lucille laid out stacks and stacks of prints, along with an impressive spread of biscotti, cakes, and coffee. Growing up, she had been surrounded by, and surrounded herself with the arts - her father was a professional sculpture and Lucille used to hang out around the Art Students League. “I picked up photography because, well, I just liked it,” she recalled. “In the 80s, these well known photographers like Ken Heyman used to take pupils on and I’d attend their classes. I also collected books by some of my favorites like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans… I just liked it. I shot all the time. I made a darkroom in my kitchen and processed my own pictures.” As we rifled through her old photographs of an endlessly diverse cast of characters from Brooklyn in the 70s and 80s, from Civil Rights protesters to dolled up old ladies to strip club dancers, there’s a real sense that what peered through the camera eye was objective - without bias and pure. “I never thought about commercial applications. I can’t even believe you’re putting them on shirts now. Do you think they’ll sell?”
“That one,” she pointed to a picture noticing that I was staring at it intently. “That was on Flatbush. Girls used to push their carriages around with just dolls in them. I used to walk the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn, and go to different areas of the city. I like what the camera does. It has an unbiased eye. But you do need the instinct to sense the natural rhythm, and you empathize with it. I can’t say that I can judge because you don’t know what’s coming in a sense, nor can I judge other people who are using the idiom in a different way - I expect something new - and that’s where the creative individual appears and synthesizes the new idiom.”
A photo of Lucille Gold in her younger years.
As the years passed, Lucille walked the streets less and less, and the photos started turning into stacks. Binders and binders of slides began to pile up in her house, until her family members brought them to the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Museum. From that point on with the help of her encouraging husband who would often get up at four in the morning and scan until twelve at night, it was a race to get as much of her work out there as possible. Jack is literally unable to stop singing the praises of Lucille. “She won’t tell you how great this work is,” Jack informs us. “Stop it!” Lucille interjects. “I don’t want to talk about it. Do you want a martini?” she asks. “I’m frugal. I like martinis.”
Lucille Gold today
We found Aaron Weiss’ great photographic work the way most people find photos these days - by scrolling up with your finger on our Instagram. Aaron met up with us in Dumbo, Brooklyn, and we tagged along to snap some Instagram photos, and ask him a few questions:
You talk about Instagram and mobile technology playing a big part in reigniting your passion for photography. Tell us more about how it effects why and how you shoot?
For me, Instagram is a three way street of inspiration, self-expression, and community. The app has a lot of different niches, but mine is the photography niche for sure. There’s a constant flow of creativity from the people I follow, from all over the world. I love seeing the everyday life of people in Hong Kong, San Francisco, France, the list goes on and on. It’s not just a window to the world, but also a different perspective to my own city. Seeing New York through all these different eyes everyday, the same streets and buildings in an unending variety… my drive to create something new everyday and share my experience has been given an outlet with this simple app, and it’s given me a new reason to climb fences, chase good light and meet new people. A weekend doesn’t pass without an InstaMeet happening in the city (InstaMeets are Meetup groups for Instagrammers). We explore new spaces, exchange ideas and techniques, and it’s a great way to meet the photographers that inspire you.
The processing on your photos are quite nice. Can you share with our readers tips and tricks, and what photo processing apps you use?
Sure… first I would recommend shooting in HDR mode with the native camera app in your phone. In HDR mode the camera takes three photographs, all varying in the amount of light recorded, and meshes them together to form a more accurately exposed image. From there my favorite filter app is VSCO, which has a ton of great options (allowing you to forget all about those silly Instagram filters) and the app is really simple to use. For more fine-tuning I use Snapseed. Brightness, contrast, saturation, and more can be processed here. For a more advanced editing app I use Filterstorm, the Photoshop of apps (curves, levels, exposure…) it’s a little complicated at first so watch the in-app tutorials and you’ll be good. Image Blender works great for blending two images together, my brother @ari.weiss uses it to add dramatic skies to images that need it. And finally TouchRetouch is a great app for covering up unwanted things in your image, like distracting pedestrians or trash on the street.
You also shoot for Good Eggs in Brooklyn, a company that delivers farm to market food to your door. What is shooting and styling food like?
Shooting food is a healthy challenge for me, and always a lot of fun. I get to be in the studio and listen to podcasts and music and explore different ways of styling the food. Most of the work is styling really; once I get a good scene going the shot happens pretty fast and I can move on. Turning a pastry or napkin in a different direction can really change the flow of an image, so attention to detail is key. We use all natural light, and sometimes I get to eat the food after it’s been shot and I can honestly say that I am always blown away. Good Eggs is a lot like Brooklyn Industries, supporting local business and artists, supporting community.
From Saturday, May 4th - Monday May 26th, Aaron will be taking over our Instagram to share his work. Follow along here.