In the Summer of 2012, the Brooklyn Industries design team took a trip out to Rockaway Beach to gather design inspiration for the Summer 2013 collection. The sandy stretch of beach just east of Brooklyn has always been a favorite of ours, from summer beach trips and dance parties on the boardwalk to visits with close friends and relatives living on the island to photo shoots in Breezy Point. But between the inspiration visit and this year’s shoot, the Rockaways received an unwelcome visitor – insane mother nature.
While the majority of Brooklyn outside of Redhook and Coney Island was spared from the destruction from Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Beach in Queens wasn’t as lucky. A large number of homes were destroyed or consumed by fires, businesses were shuttered, and people were without electricity and transportation for an extended period of time. The same week as the hurricane, Brooklyn Industries organized a donation drive at its stores to directly benefit victims from the hurricane on Rockaway. The day after the drive, many Brooklyn gas stations had run out of gas, and our own delivery truck had been rendered immobile, but thanks to the community stepping up and offering their own gas-filled cars as transport for the donations, the communities in the Rockaways were able to receive the donations collected the day after. In the wake of such a traumatic experience, it was comforting for our company to see the kind of community we operated in – one that came together and rose up to the challenges from adversity.
The beach revisited in 2013 bared little resemblance to the design inspiration trip of 2012. The long stretches of wooden boardwalk the team had strolled down for miles were not just damaged – they were completely missing, leaving bare concrete supports and lending an unusual sculptural element to the beach. Sand sidling up against torn concrete looked more like Fallujah than the Rockaways immortalized by the Ramones. Yet through some of the destruction, electrical trucks were repairing damaged lines, crews could be seen clearing out debris, and for many storefronts, it was business as usual. One thing we’ve learned about New Yorkers over the years – we’re a resilient bunch of builders and creators.
View the lookbook here.