We’re getting ready for Halloween with ‘Charms’, our new graphic tee featuring our favorite lucky talismans. How devilishly charming!
Today only, take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY
For our October collection, ‘Surreal Fall,’ we wanted to reinterpret our designs through a Surrealist lens by taking ordinary objects and spaces, and decontextualizing them. In the process of doing so, we wanted to open up a whole new world of possibility with those subjects and places. The photographer that immediately came to our minds to help us achieve this was Chris Schoonover, whose mastery at decontextualizing everyday objects, spaces and architecture into abstract, geometric forms, and his ability to choreograph subjects into similarly odd poses, were perfect for the shoot in Bushwick, Brooklyn. After the shoot, we sat down with him for some insight…
When we first met with you over coffee, we were inspired by your decision to leave your day job and make the leap from photography hobbyist to full-time photographer. How did you make this happen?
I had been working on my Instagram for about 2 years and started to get a lot of offers to work on photo projects. I had to turn down a lot of offers to work on projects, because of my job as a web designer, so I had to make a choice. The time seemed right and I went for it.
Tell us about your style – what and where you like to shoot? Go ahead and throw in ‘why’ as well…
I really enjoy photographing in a photo-journalistic style where the subject is interacting with the environment. Most of the time my photos have a cinematic feel where there is a huge emphasis on the positioning of light. A lot of the time I find myself looking for vast or vintage surroundings like a quarry or an old diner. Vast landscapes are great because they automatically make the photo more surreal. Vintage establishments are perfect for my style, because of the color combinations and shapes.
We are constantly making work together and it’s never forced. There’s nothing like working with your best friends. Part of it is just being there for each other when they need help on a project. It’s easy to be productive when art/photo is a pretty typical topic of conversation and everyone feels a need to make work.
Finally, if you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I would be able to turn into Pat Sajak anytime I wanted.
View the entire lookbook here.
Style your iPhones with Brooklyn Industries’ collaboration with Oregon-based Prink Technologies, a company founded on the principles of responsibly-sourced wood and bamboo, and inspired by the beautiful natural resources of Oregon. For the plastic case designs, Prink offsets the environmental impact by purchasing carbon credits. We’re proud to design some of Brooklyn Industries’ favorite graphics into Prink’s cases and even more thrilled about the fact that they will be planting a tree for each wooden or bamboo iPhone case purchased.
Meet the founders and designers of Prink Technologies this Saturday, October 4th from 2pm - 5pm at Brooklyn Industries Portland, and learn about their sustainable products and philosophy, enjoy complimentary beer from Widmer Brothers Brewery, and to enter for a chance to win an iPhone case.
Shop the iPhones on our online store here.
In collaboration with the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Industries co-designed this graphic for the museums’s exhibit 'Crossing Brooklyn - Art From Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond', featuring work by 35 Brooklyn-based artists or collectives. The show opens to the public on Friday, Oct. 3rd 2014. Last weekend, we previewed this exhibition during the Dumbo Arts Festival at our store in Dumbo, where one of the artists featured in the show, Nobutaka Aozaki set up his interactive installation, ‘Smiley Bag Project’, to the delight of the art-going crowd.
The illustration, drawn by our graphic designer Meagan, features the names of all 35 featured artists in the show in the shape of this creative borough they work in.
We were lucky enough to catch The Drums last week at the beginning of their Encylcopedia tour at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. As always, their stage presence was mesmerizing, and their fans are some of the best out there. We’re thrilled that they’ll be stopping by our Chicago store this Saturday, Sept. 27th for a free signing from 5pm-7pm. Last week, we had a chance to sit down and ask the band a few questions about their latest recording…
You have quite a few people eagerly anticipating this record. With such a big shift in sound from your first record to your second, what can fans expect from your latest release, Encyclopedia?
Well, we really tried to be very true to ourselves on this album. We made a decision to have this album not just pumping along all the way through, but instead for it to have big, majestic peaks and low, hopeless valleys. It’s the most dynamic album to date and lyrically, we are being brutal, where as before the lyrics were honest, but playful.
While Encyclopedia was recorded in a cabin upstate New York, how has living in NYC informed your music?
I think anywhere you are influences who you are, if only for that moment. It would be silly to say that we would make the same album if we lived in Idaho. We might make something as exciting, but it would not be the same album. I find myself inspired by this city every day. I also find myself screaming at the top of my lungs from time to time as a need for peace and quiet starts to come to a boil, but once you leave, it’s hard to not feel like your slowly digging your own grave. When I leave a place I want to get right back and when I’m back, I want to leave. It’s unhealthy.
Being from Brooklyn, we’re excited to have you guys represent our borough. What are some of your favorite spots in Brooklyn?
We are spending a lot of time at Complete Music Studios rehearsing for the Encyclopedia World Tour and those people could not be sweeter. That place is filled with bittersweet memories as each incarnation of the band has seen its four walls. Now it’s up to Jacob and me to make it work and well… it’s working! Another place we like is Control. It’s a modular synthesizer specialty store. Jacob and I have been collecting analog synthesizers since we were 13 years old. This store opened a few years ago - to our absolute delight!
Guest artist Jenna Derosa adorns her adorable pomeranian ‘Sadie’ in flowers for this Tee Tuesday special. Today only take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY
Three fun facts about Sadie from her owner Jenna:
1. Sadie was bred by a trucker in Idaho and comes from a championship blood line.
2. Sadie loves chicken but not as much as she loves rice.
3. She can stand on her hind legs for a very long period of time if you hold a spoonful of peanut butter above her head.
Above: Check out our new store window by our windows designer Koh Tomioka. Click here for store locations.
We’re excited to have Brooklyn via Japan artist Nobutaka Aozaki join us at Brooklyn Industries during the Dumbo Arts Festival for an interactive performance of his Smiley Bag Project. Nobutaka is one of 35 Brooklyn artists being featured in the Brooklyn Crossing show at the Brooklyn Museum beginning Oct. 3rd. Look for the Brooklyn Industries/Brooklyn Museum collaborative graphic t-shirt and tote bag design of the Brooklyn Crossing show when it premieres, online, at the museum shop, and in select BKI stores.
We sat down with Nobutaka recently to talk to him about his work…
We really enjoy your work in progress From Here to There, where you (dressed as a tourist), ask ordinary people to hand draw maps for you in order to create an entire hand-drawn map of Manhattan. It seems like a lot of your work is participatory with the public (often in an unwitting way). What draws you to this mode of creation?
There are many reasons I do my work this way. I’m interested in the relationship between general ideas and subjective interpretations of individuals as well as the history of conceptual art practices. But if I had to extremely simplify my answer, it would be to highlight the really basic idea that we live in the world collaboratively. No one can live alone or no artist can make artwork alone. It’s a really obvious thing but it’s often forgotten. I think it is very important to remember it.
From Here To There (Detail)
Being from Japan, and now studying and working in New York for the past nine years now, how have the two cultures informed your work?
My experience of immigrating to New York from Japan is strongly related to my perspective. Because I come from a different country, I am able to see ordinary things in unusual, abstract, and personal ways. Really small things in day-to-day routines, which are easily dismissed and ignored, matter a lot and become interesting to me. Those mundane things often become sources of my artistic inspirations.
The Smiley Bag Project
Next week, you’ll be one of 35 Brooklyn artists featured in the Brooklyn Museums show, ‘Crossing Brooklyn’. How did they find you?
I don’t know how they found me but I always like to believe that if you keep making and showing work, someone will find you.
Your studio is currently in Gowanus. What are your thoughts on the creative scene in Brooklyn?
I think the creative scene in Brooklyn is really vibrant and diverse. But it’s hard to expect how it’s going to be five years from now. People are moving constantly because of the rise of their rents. I hope Brooklyn stays as the place where exciting things happen and experimentation is encouraged. You’ll see a wide range of many interesting artists based in Brooklyn today in the upcoming Crossing Brooklyn exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. Please come see the show !
Meet Nobutaka Aozaki at Brooklyn Industries Dumbo on Saturday, September 27th from 2pm-6pm.
When the René Magritte exhibit, ‘The Mystery of the Ordinary,’ opened at the MoMA last fall, our design team spent a day there and came back inspired enough by Surrealism to want to create this collection. One of the things that struck our designers the most was the use of ordinary objects as a subject by the artist, and how they became re-interpreted through the Surrealist lens, be it a spoon covered in fur, or presenting an object with another word above it. By taking away the purpose and connection that people easily assume objects or places have, a whole new world of possibility opens up.
Armed with the idea of seeing and perceiving the world in a different way, we reached out to one of our favorite photographers, Chris Schoonover. We were drawn to Chris’ mastery of de-contextualizing everyday objects, spaces and architecture into abstract, geometric forms, as well as his ability to choreograph subjects into similarly odd poses. For the location of our photoshoot, we chose Bushwick, an area not seen as conventionally beautiful, but in our eyes, is overflowing with moments of often overlooked visual treasures and possibilities.
In our mid-fall collection, you’ll find these same ideas – objects such as combs and picks on a custom printed shirt, oversized fuzzy eyes on a sweater, and optical patterns on sweaters, skirts and dresses create a surreal tone. As always, this season’s new arrivals also come with tons of extra BKI details, such as pop color locker loops, thumb hole sleeves, fun interior-printed linings and unique tailoring. These combinations of fashion and function are prominent in this season’s outerwear, which we’re particularly excited about this season.
and stay hydrated and environmentally-conscious in style with our custom graphic and matte black exterior water bottles. We’re loving our new stainless steel, rust-resistant water bottles, with a BPA free interior - now you can stay creative on the go.
This weekend, Marcello, the Assistant Manager of our 7th Avenue Park Slope store is taking over Brooklyn Industries’ Instagram, showing you his favorite neighborhood - where he grew up, works, and lives. Follow along here on our Instagram.
"I’m always telling people that Park Slope is the nicest neighborhood in America. Breathtaking architecture, tree-lined blocks, and plenty of great restaurants make it a truly ideal place to live - not to mention its proximity to Prospect Park, which really sets it above the rest. And despite how much real estate prices have skyrocketed here over the last decade, the neighborhood has retained a very real, down to earth feel that is sometimes hard to find in similar neighborhoods. Despite the Dunkin’ Donuts, Subway, and Starbucks, there are still locally owned businesses thriving. The diner next to our Seventh Avenue location (7th Avenue Donuts, which also has the best donuts in Brooklyn) has been in business since the 70’s, and they are just one of many. A lot has changed in this neighborhood over the years, but more has stayed the same."
"This neighborhood holds a lot of great memories for me, personally. I lived on Montgomery Place in my early childhood, and went to elementary and middle school in the Slope. When I was younger, my dad owned a restaurant on 9th Street and Prospect Park West called Raintrees. My entire childhood was spent meandering around the beautiful blocks of Park Slope. It still hasn’t gotten old. I’m so happy to work at Brooklyn Industries 7th Avenue, and after I get out of work I’ll sometimes take an hour or two to walk (or bike) around these blocks and take some pictures. I have some personal favorite blocks - Fiske Place, Montgomery Place, and 3rd street between 8th and Park West are all amazing, but sometimes I’ll just wander. No matter the block, no matter the season, even after 24 years of life in Brooklyn, I am still fascinated and often taken aback by the beauty and charm of this neighborhood."
Brooklyn Industries’ women’s designer, Janeane Marie gives us an inside tour of her Brooklyn apartment
We paid a visit to Janeane’s apartment in Bushwick on a rare, rainy Saturday to poke around and see what in her own home inspires her to be creative. Originally from Portland, Oregon, Janeane has a home studio that she shares with her boyfriend and two cats, who enjoy circling the studio’s dress forms, record players, guitars and sketches. Within the studio and throughout her apartment, Janeane’s walls are filled with diverse pieces of art. “It’s not high art or anything. They are all from friends of ours!”
Other unique, creative gems that can be found in the heavily windowed space include Janeane’s budding collection of new and vintage ceramics. “I’m obsessed… I could spend all of my money on ceramics,” Janeane happily admits. Musical instruments, potted plants, sentimental tchotchkes, and a few hundred records (one of which played in the background during our visit) finishes off her living room. “Have you heard this one? It’s a band called Lillith Velkor. They sound like Nirvana, but without ripping them off. They’re in Brooklyn.”
After narrating her apartment, Janeane shared with us why working in her pad works for her. “When I’m designing clothing, I really try not to get stuck inside a category or genre - to be only minimalist, to be only eclectic or retro. I try to stay away from having a consistent ‘look’: in my personal style, my design aesthetic, or in the objects I surround myself with. The things I collect always have a unique beauty about them. That’s why my home is my creative nest, and it’s where I prefer to sketch. I can listen to music while I’m working, which is a huge part of my creative process because I’m connected to music. Visually, there’s a lot of interesting, distinctive art in my house. Every detail in my house has a story. My boyfriend Adam is also a really great musician, painter and illustrator, so that inspires me to expand my creativity beyond just fashion sketching.”
See Janeane’s list of fall style picks here.
When we discovered Kenya- and UK-based jewelry maker Made, and heard about its design process and practices, we found a little slice of Brooklyn in Nairobi. We love Made’s handcrafted designs, its emphasis on using sustainable materials like brass and glass, and its employing and training of local, skilled craftsmen in Nairobi to empower the local community. Designed in both Kenya and the UK, the Kenyan workshop employs over 60 local artisans who are paid a fair wage; the artisans use techniques handed down through generations. Stylistically, Made’s modern, bold, and eclectic designs resonated with our design team. Brooklyn Industries is proud to carry a brand that makes a positive impact in the local community through the products they produce and the business practices they employ.
This super soft all-over custom printed dolman tee features elements from street and pop art, inspired by our fall collection theme, "The Art of Rebellion."
Today only, take 20% off this tee with code: TEETUESDAY
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.