10/18/16 10:07am

This matchbox sized storefront sells "big city, small batch" products. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O'Kelly will welcome you into smallhome with the stories behind all her treasures. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Julia Small O’Kelly will welcome you into smallhome and share the stories behind all her treasures. Photos: Meredith Craig de Pietro

Walking into smallhome, a matchbox-sized storefront on Metropolitan near the Graham Avenue stop on the L train in Williamsburg, feels like spiriting through a portal to rural America. Cluttered with handcrafted wares that range from white sage body wash to the perfect red plaid handkerchief, the store’s displays feature creative props like a rusted ladder, and assortment of wooden twigs and a vintage wicker chair. Although smallhome is, well, small, you could spend days sorting through the goods, uncovering treasures that you never even knew you wanted (like an astrologically-themed embroidery hoop).

Upon entering, you will probably be warmly welcomed by owner, Julia Small O’Kelly, who will definitely be wearing a work apron, ready to tell you the stories behind her collection. (more…)

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09/20/16 9:28am
A picture is worth a thousand words. Artist Hansky's mural can be found on the LES. Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

As Artist Hansky’s LES mural proves, a picture is worth a thousand words. This election year, showcase your favorite causes in creative ways–use consumerism as a canvas.  Photo: Meredith Craig de Pietro

This may be a supremely weird and exhausting election, but it does have one thing going for it–amazing political gear.

We don’t get to vote until November (if you haven’t yet registered you can do so here–Oct. 14 is the deadline), but the first debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump is scheduled for next Monday, Sept. 26. Judging from their swag, the Clinton team is raring to go, with a debate watch party pack that comes with “Chillary” beer coozies. It’s still anyone’s guess whether Trump will actually participate, but either way, you have time to outfit yourself. Take a stand with slogan t-shirts, show your passion for the cause with a baseball cap, or let your guests remember to dump Trump every time they use your bathroom. 

[Editorial note: In a normal election we would give you gear supporting both candidates. This is not a normal election and we won’t pretend that Trump is a normal candidate, or that readers of Brooklyn Based are interested in buying a Make America Great Again cap. If you are, well, Google it.]

Slogan: I’m With Her!

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

Photo: HillaryClinton.com

You don’t have to go look hard for stylish swag supporting Hillary Clinton. She’s got a web store that rivals Barneys, with big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Jason Wu making limited edition t-shirts to support the candidate. Nothing beats this unisex Everyday Pantsuit tee ($30), a fun shirt to support a serious candidate. [Ed. note: Why this doesn’t come in blue baffles us.]


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06/21/16 1:53pm
Most women's shirts have floppy collars that don't look good with a bow tie. Kirrin Finch is changing that, one collar at a time. Photo: Bethany Michaela

Most women’s shirts have floppy collars that don’t look good with a bow tie. Kirrin Finch is changing that, one collar at a time. Photo: Bethany Michaela

“It’s really deep,” says Laura Moffat. “We’ve started talking about clothing with friends we’ve known a long time, and who we never talked about clothes with before, and it goes really deep. It’s, ‘When I was five, when I was eight,’ and then someone starts crying.”

If you are a human and you put clothes on your body, then you can probably relate. Whether it was a school uniform, shorts, a dance costume, a bridesmaid dress, a sports uniform, or an outfit for an important interview, chances are that you’ve worn clothing that made you feel uncomfortable, unhappy about your body and, just as importantly, made you feel less like your authentic self.

Kirrin Finch, the company that Moffat and her wife, Kelly Sanders Moffat started together, is part of a growing number of businesses dedicated to helping non-gender-conforming customers feel good in their own skins. (more…)

04/19/16 9:30am
Help start a revolution on April 24th, but shopping these ethical (and economic) brands. Courtesy: Fashion Revolution Photo: Stephanie Sian Smith

Help start a revolution on April 24 by shopping these ethical brands. Photo: Stephanie Sian Smith

“At a certain point it’s hard not to look at those prices and wonder, ‘How does any clothing company make money?’ But let’s be honest. You know the answer to that.” — John Oliver, Last Week Tonight With John Oliver

Despite increasing demand for transparency in fashion, as consumers struggle to understand where and how their clothing is produced, and what the environmental and human effects of their sartorial choices might be, for many of us, resisting trendy clothing at a low price is really hard. Sure, there are plenty of t-shirts that are “handmade” here in Brooklyn, but where was that cotton grown? Spun into yarn? Turned into fabric? Did the smiling artisan you’re chatting with cut and sew it, or did she just silkscreen a geometric design on it? It’s very difficult to figure out where, exactly, most clothing is made, and what the working conditions and labor practices are like, let alone the reverberations throughout the entire supply chain.

Most days it’s all too easy to just forget about sweatshops and labor laws. But April 24 is a day to remember.

Fashion Revolution Day is a response to the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh on April 24, 2013 that killed 1,134 garment workers. It’s a yearly reminder to ask: Who made my clothes? Just as we’ve embraced farm-to-table eating and organic and local everything, the Fashion Revolution movement wants to bring a new level of  transparency to the fashion industry by asking brands to reveal who grew their cotton, spun their threads, dyed their fabric and sewed everything together.

The good news is that there are brands that are already transparent, so you can shop ethically beyond buying second-hand clothing or making your own duds. Everlane has made waves in the industry by providing detailed information on their sourcing and factories, as well as providing information about the cost of every item, indicating how much of the price went toward materials, labor and transportation. In Brooklyn, Marlow Goods produces leather bags (and soon pants and other apparel) from hides that come from the animals that provide meat to the restaurants Marlow & Sons, Diner, Roman’s and Reynard. Karina Dresses are sewn and designed in New York City and in the Hudson Valley, by workers paid a living wage. Brooklyn Industries is working on a “dirt to shirt” supply chain for a line of tees produced from cotton grown, processed and sewn entirely on the East Coast. Here are a few more companies at the forefront of the “slow-fashion” movement, producing better quality, fair trade products, many at surprisingly competitive prices. (more…)

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02/10/15 8:35am
Introducing the Love Bot...isn't he cute?

Introducing the Love Bot…isn’t he cute? Photo: mouth.com

We get it. You’re finally getting over the holiday gift stress, and you just want to hunker down for the rest of the winter binge-watching Black Mirror in your sweats. You don’t want to trudge around town shopping for your beloved. Instead, use these five online portals to find romantic gifts for your loved ones, who will appreciate you thinking outside the (Duane Reade chocolate) box. Or better yet? Treat your own damn self to something special–each of these sites sell way more than lovey dovey presents.


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12/23/14 8:20am

Trends are driven by outside forces, normally the fast fashion industry, whose survival depends on it. Style is a matter of your taste. If you stick with style and what you feel looks great on you, you’ll always make the right decision. 
–Maxine Bédat and Soraya Darabi, Zady

This quote, from the founders of Zady, an online shop dedicated to sustainably made clothing, housewares and accessories, pretty much sums up the current movement away from mass market fast fashion. Here are four local companies whose mission goes beyond just selling you clothes–yes, they cost more than the J. Crew sale rack, or H&M, but you’ll be casting a vote for small businesses and fair labor practices with your closet, and you’ll be much less likely to spot someone wearing the same outfit on your way to work in the morning.

The Herringbone shirt from .Bk. Photo: .Bk

The Hemingway Herringbone shirt is still available from .Bk. Photo: .Bk

Designer: .Bk is at its core an anti-mass market company. Each week they release a new limited edition, 100-shirt run of men’s button-ups at the very reasonable price of $68. .Bk designs and sews their shirts locally, hand-numbering each garment. For each collection they launch they create a pop-up shop in Brooklyn, but in order to keep costs down they’re a mostly online business. Their next collection is due out soon, and titled “Old Souls.”

Where to start: The Hemingway Herringbone, for a bit more texture than a chambray button-up. Read Dossier, an email digest of stories they publish weekly, with each new collection of shirts they produce, for more inspiration. (more…)

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09/16/14 9:18am

Smoke BagguIt’s crazy that a seemingly insignificant piece of garbage can cause so many problems.

According to the New York Department of Sanitation, New Yorkers use 5.2 billion plastic bags, each year. That adds up to 1,700 tons of residential garbage each week. Their disposal isn’t free for the city (The New York Times reported that the city spends about $10 million a year just to transport plastic bags to landfills in other states), and they frequently end up clogging storm drains, jamming equipment at recycling plants and getting tangled in tree branches.

There are people out there who want to help you quit the plastic habit.

Brad Lander, the city councilmember who represents Brooklyn’s 39th District—a long swath that goes from the Columbia Waterfront District to Borough Park, including Prospect Park—has proposed a bill that would basically charge 10 cents a bag in stores around the city in an effort to reduce single-use plastic bag trash. And, this week is BYOBag Week, hosted by BagitNYC and a variety of other organizations including the Surfrider Foundation. The week-long pledge to carry your own bag is designed to help you go cold turkey and ditch the plastic.

There are two basic solutions to this problem—stash a lightweight in your normal bag, or carry a bag you can fit your on-your-way-home-from-work shopping into. We know of a few fab bags that fit both bills. Here are our top picks:


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06/03/14 11:00am
Fri June 6, 2014 - Sat June 7, 2014
Horizons vintage shop is having a two-day sample sale with some of its favorite local designers, starting this Friday. Photo: Magazine

Horizons vintage shop is having a two-day sample sale with some of its favorite local designers, starting this Friday. Photo: Magazine

Many moons ago, when I put together this guide to vintage shopping in Brooklyn, I equated the experience of entering Horizons on Metropolitan Avenue to that of walking into an apricot. In my defense, the walls are a pretty pastel shade of orange. More than the wall color however, I admired owner Breanne DiDomenico’s eye for retrofitting fashions in such as way as to make vintage styles as en vogue today as they were when they actually appeared in Vogue. Since my roundup in 2010, her store, a relative newcomer at the time, has become a staple on the Williamsburg shopping circuit, and this Friday DiDomenico is doing us all a solid by hosting a two-day sample sale during which time you will not only be able to find discounts on her secondhand stock, but you will also be able to pick up past-season sample pieces from local designers Carleen, Erin Considine, Dusen Dusen, and Lauren Manoogian. Design supplies like linen fabric for $6-$8 a yard will also be for sale. Shopping starts at 4pm Friday and includes wine.–JG

04/29/14 4:00pm
Sun May 4, 2014
Braid Bar Photo via BUST

Visit the Braid Bar at BUST Craftacular Primped this Sunday in Greenpoint for a free style session. Photo: BUST

In need of a makeover but secretly scared you’ll wind up looking like a pageant contestant? This Sunday’s first-ever BUST Craftacular Primped, an all-day fashion, beauty, and vintage fair that is specifically geared toward a laid-back, indie aesthetic, might be just what you’re looking for. Over 90 vendors of products, clothing, and accessories will be selling their wares from 11am-6pm, and attendees can also take advantage of great free primping services like braid styling, bang trims, hair chalk streaks, DIY nail art, a flower-crown bar, eco-friendly makeup application, and more. Live music and an outdoor beer garden with food will keep you energized as you get prettified just in time for spring. Admission to the festival, which is being held in the Brooklyn Night Bazaar space, is just $3 and the first 300 guests to arrive will walk away with a swag bag full of goodies.

04/08/14 2:00pm
Fri April 11, 2014
Photo by C&C PopUp

Ditch the parka and pick out something suitable for spring, starting this Friday at C&C Pop-Up Shop’s temporary vintage store inside Film Biz Recycling. Photo: C & C Pop-Up Shop

Candy Olsen and Courtney Wagner, two Brooklyn-based friends with a penchant for vintage goods, have been scouring estate sales and flea markets for the best finds to sell at C&C Pop-Up Shop, their roaming market of vintage and up-cycled gems. So far, C&C has popped up at Brooklyn Night Bazaar, the Brooklyn Flea, the Bell House, and even on an episode of Storage Wars: New York. Starting this Friday, the girls will be at Film Biz Recycling for F*ck Winter!, a nine-day, destination vintage pop-up sale designed to help you put the long, cold months we’ve endured behind you. In addition to art, small furniture pieces and collectibles, C&C will be unloading lots of ’80s floral dresses and separates, sundresses and cocktail dresses from the ’40s, ’50s and ’60s, casual spring and summer pieces, and some vintage bathing suits. Ditch the parka and pick up something unique and new to you to celebrate the change in season.