04/25/17 2:24pm

Yesterday marked four years since the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh claimed the lives of 1,132 garment industry workers when the factory building they were in collapsed. Brands like Zara, Walmart, Joe Fresh and The Children’s Place were all found to have been producing clothing at Rana Plaza.

Fashion Revolution Week , April 24-20 this year, is a movement to demand greater transparency in the fashion industry, by making supply chains and working conditions clear, and asking brands for a greater commitment to cleaning up the production of clothing, which is one of the biggest industrial polluters in the global economy.

The truth is that there is enough clothing on the planet to keep us all warm and dry well into the future. Not participating in fast fashion by curbing your shopping habit, or hitting vintage and thrift stores is the best way to reduce waste. You can also shop with these ethical fashion companies that provide safe working conditions and living wages for workers.

Another tactic is to shop local.

New York City was once the capital of the garment industry, and it was also one of the centers of the workers rights movement, which was galvanized, in part, by the horrible tragedy of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. The women, largely Jewish and Italian immigrants, working at Triangle were sewing a fast-fashion forerunner–the fitted, puffy-sleeved tops that were essential to the Gibson Girl look. Different century, same story as Rana Plaza.

Today, the fashion industry is still alive and well in New York City, but most off-the-rack pieces are constructed thousands of miles away in Vietnam, China and India. There are still a handful of garment factories in the city though, and increasingly young, quality-obsessed companies that sell primarily online or in pop-ups are producing New York-made garments that you can feel good about buying and wearing. As a rule they’re more expensive than your average Gap tee, but of course they are. They pay your neighbors a living wage. Here are a few of our favorites. (more…)

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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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03/08/16 10:00am

I’m not saying you’ll need these things, but I’m not saying you won’t.

You don’t have to be a total paranoid survivalist to see the upside of preparation. Your Everyday Carry–it’s enough of a thing that The New York Times is on it, and take a look at #EDC on Instagram if you want to see a wild variety of pocket contents–is just what it sounds like, the gear you carry from day to day to be ready for whatever the world throws at you. It’s not about being a hero (or even a dude), it’s about being a person who is well equipped. For most New Yorkers who haven’t given survival knives, water purification or tactical skills much thought, standard #EDC includes sunglasses, wallet, keys, Metrocard and phone. If you’ve got room, here are 10 more ideas that will up your preparedness for nearly every kind of situation. I’m not saying you’ll need these things, but I’m not saying you won’t.


 

carabeaner

1. Deluxe Carabiner, $25 The locking carabiner has historically been used for mountain climbing, but can also be imperative for caving, sailing, hot air ballooning, and other rope intensive situations in which you might find yourself. This one is complete with a 3” pocket knife, saw and LED flashlight. There’s not much you won’t be able to do with this thing, and at this price, it’s worth the investment.

Available at LAB Brooklyn, 144 Driggs Ave., Greenpoint (more…)

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10/08/15 11:28am
Shopping (Jenna Foxton)

Shopping | Photo: Jenna Foxton

When you listen to the band Shopping, a trio based in London, you can’t help but feel transported to the late ’70s post-punk scene spearheaded by great British bands like the Slits, the Raincoats, and Gang of Four. Shopping’s songs have all the hallmarks of that era: choppy guitar, urgent bass lines, disco-like drums and vocals that are both detached and feisty.

I think when we play live we have a lot of fun no matter who’s there, how many people, or if they never heard of us before. We’re confident we can win people over.

Yet while the band’s drummer Andrew Milk acknowledges that Shopping was very much influenced by post-punk, he maintains it wasn’t an intentional effort on the band’s part to emulate that sound.

“We knew that we wanted to make dance music and we were a three-piece,” he says. “You got bass, drums, and guitar: guitar where Rachel [Aggs] can’t play chords, and drums where I can’t play drums except four-to-the floor dance beats. So it happened to be danceable post-punk. It had to be that sound.” (more…)

08/11/15 11:37am

shutterstock_203021143

I spent a long period of time in college depending on thrift store finds at Goodwill to help define my late-90s, early 2000s style. Alongside weird junk for “decorating” my first apartment, I also prided myself on t-shirts that fell apart on my body, dresses sometimes two sizes too big (or small), and the most killer pair of low-top, yellow and orange vintage roller skates that fit me perfectly (that I wore ALL THE TIME). After I graduated, in some dumb effort to grow up, I sold the skates back to a thrift shop and tried not to look back. Worst. Mistake. Ever.

These days, I buy clothes that actually fit me, but I still thrift in search of great prices. There’s only so much online shopping you can do to find a good deal, but even more than that, every time I step into a thrift store the feeling of possibility is palpable in a way that can be addictive. Whether you’re searching for bargain on your work wardrobe, a vintage Diane Von Furstenberg dress, or the perfect pair of roller skates, half the fun of thrifting is the search.

So  I can really get behind National Thrift Store Day, which ReuseNYC is celebrating this Monday, Aug. 17, 2015. ReuseNYC member-approved shops including Beacon’s Closet, Angel Street Thrift Shop, Cure Thrift Shop, and Rags-A-GoGo, are getting in on the thrifty fun, with sales and specials. To make the most of Thrift Store Day, and to help you make shopping more of an adventure every day, I chatted with pro-thrifters, shoppers and sellers alike, about how to get the best deals, whether you’re buying, selling or browsing.  (more…)

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12/16/14 4:44pm
Coats, hats, even arm warmers that will keep you cozy this winter.

Coats, hats, even arm warmers that will keep you cozy this winter.

 

Last year was a cold winter, but this year could be even colder, if you have faith in folk wisdom. The Old Farmer’s Almanac is calling the arctic chill that they claim is getting ready to sweep over us “refriger-nation.” Don’t just stand there with your teeth chattering. Gear up and prepare ahead of time–and believe us, it’s time. With Bean boots sold out in almost every size and color, there’s a serious run on winter gear going on right now. But fear not, we’ve got you covered from hat to foot and everything in between (including your kids).

Step One: Procure the warmest jacket that you can afford.

Don't let the polar vortex get you down.

This Chateau Jacket will protect you from an ice age.

Are you ready to upgrade from your reliable Brooklyn Industries down coat? No? Then skip ahead to Step Two. Yes? Then take a deep breath, and get ready to shell out some serious cash for an investment that will hold you through to the next ice age. Canada Goose will help you embrace winter with some of the warmest jackets on the market. The Women’s Victoria Parka ($695) has a slim silhouette so you won’t look like a trash bag, and is filled with 625 white duck down, and a removable coyote fur ruff. For men, there’s the Chateau Jacket ($745), which is heavy duty enough for snowshoeing, but light enough for city walking. If you aren’t down with down, there’s other options.  Bushwick’s own Cadet designs and manufactures this classic 100% wool timeless Navy Peacoat ($898) right in Brooklyn. Or, if you need a warm coat that is budget priced, head to Uniqlo, where you can find all manner of puffers from $100 and under–especially if you time your purchase to a sale. (more…)

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01/08/14 3:00pm
Kai-D-Utility

Need a parka for this Polar Vortex? Williamsburg designer Kai Fan has a few you can brave the cold in now and many winters to come. Photo: Kai D. Utility

If Jacques Cousteau were alive and looking to update his wardrobe, he would feel right at home inside Kai D. Utility on Grand Street in Williamsburg. Menswear designer Kai Fan has filled his new shop with workwear pieces for the explorer in all of us–even the ones without a Y chromosome (it’s an ideal place for a female shopper to pick up oversized knits and work shirts other than her boyfriend’s closet). Expeditionists aside, Fan’s store is quickly becoming the go-to place for the city’s creative class who are looking for classic menswear pieces that won’t come apart at the seams at season’s end.

Fan’s designs are functional with military and utilitarian influences-he’s reimagined timeless wardrobe staples from the turn of the 20th century, like waistcoats, trousers, leather-strap suspenders and ties that are modern in cut and tailoring–slim fitted with clean silhouettes executed in rich fabrics (Italian wool and cashmere, cotton twill and moleskin).  Fan says he designs with the New American Artisan in mind, a muse he devised after completing a photo project of the same name.

Kai-D-Utility-porter-navy-blazer“Basically, I sought out people who were doing their own thing–that could be creating a product or mastering their craft,” he explains. “I sought out interesting people I could photograph in my cloths and put together a look book. I had a conversation with them, found out their story, then I asked them to put together two outfits from my collection. It turned out, every single person was from Brooklyn.” (more…)

12/17/13 2:00pm
Sat December 21, 2013
Emma Bracy (left) and Ben Martel combined their loves of brunch food and fine local design to create the Holiday Brunch Bazaar, which takes place one last time at Tutu's this Saturday: Photo: Press Vintage

Emma Bracy (left) and Ben Martel combined their loves of brunch food and fine local design to create Brunch Bazaar, as a place where you can eat and flea at the same time– a special holiday iteration is happening this Saturday at Tutu’s: Photo: Press Vintage

The best things in life are better when combined, which is why we’re in love with the Holiday Brunch Bazaar, wrapping up its inaugural run on Saturday at Tutu’s. The pop-up event, offering brunch in the front and local vendors’ treasures and creations in the back, will surely charm your festive socks off. Don’t miss Various Love Affairs–women’s clothing inspired by love and handmade in the city–and Alkhemi9, a line of gorgeous jewelry from Brooklyn based designer Soull Ogun. Entry to the bazaar is free; separate fee required for brunch.

12/17/13 11:00am
Sat December 21, 2013
Bundle up and stand in line to see The So So Glos for free this Friday at Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Photo: The So So Glos

Bundle up and stand in line to see The So So Glos for free this Saturday at Brooklyn Night Bazaar. Photo: The So So Glos

Put on your parka and ear muffs because this line is gonna be long. Gothamist brings Bay Ridge’s hometown punk rockers The So So Glos to Greenpoint for the Brooklyn Night Bazaar, which regularly has lines around the corner as it is. They’re obviously not going to be just hanging out buying kids’ clothes from Cute Attack, eating quesadillas from Oaxaca Tacos and drinking Shiner Bock (not to say they won’t do those things because they should). Expect them to play hits off their latest album Blowout, which also happens to be No. 37 on Rolling Stone’s 50 Best Albums of 2013. The opening bands are California X, Palehound and Darlings. The show is free and likely to fill up very quickly, so show up early and stay warm.

12/10/13 10:00am
Sat December 14, 2013
Whether you pick up an already-assembled gift at Etsy's Holiday Handmade Cavalacade like the shoppers above or make something yourself at MoCADA's DIY Workshop, there's still time to procure handmade presents them holiday season. Photo: Etsy NY Street Team

Whether you pick up an already-assembled gift at Etsy’s Holiday Handmade Cavalacade like the shoppers above or make something yourself at MoCADA’s DIY Fest, there’s still time to procure handmade presents this holiday season. Photo: Etsy NY Street Team

There’s only so many more shopping days ’til Christmas, which means there’s only so many opportunities to get something thoughtful and hand crafted instead of dented and possibly broken at the bottom of a leftovers bin. Avoid that grim fate with two great holiday fairs happening this weekend–both are likely to be as enjoyable for you as for their recipients. Etsy’s Handmade Cavalcade, taking place at Villain event space this year,  has become a beloved tradition for many, and with vendors like Brooklyn Owl, Little Teapot and Porcupine Hugs, there’s bound to be an endless selection of all things adorable, crafty and sweetly offbeat. And if you’re looking for the chance to throw your own hands in the handmade ring, MoCADA is having their Holiday DIY Fest where, in addition to local vendors vending, there will be jewelry and card making workshops lead by teaching artists throughout the day. Craftacular!