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…)

Brooklyn Based delivers free daily emails about the borough's best food, events, attractions and innovators. Get Brooklyn Based in your inbox--sign up here.

09/26/14 9:56am
After one day in Deb Winsor's Construction Kids' studio, your daughter will be handier than you. Photo: Construction Kids

After one day in Deb Winsor’s Construction Kids’ studio, your daughter will be handier than you. Photo: Construction Kids

Picture this: It’s a rainy day, and you’re in an eerily quiet room with 25 kindergartners. All of a sudden you notice that they are all holding metal hammers and buckets of nails! You try to run, but you can’t leave because you realize…one of them is your son! [Insert evil laugh here.] This actually happened to me, only it wasn’t a nightmare, it was a birthday party in a spacious, light-filled workshop in the Brooklyn Navy Yard called Construction Kids.

This amazing concept is the brainchild of Deb Winsor, a carpenter and educator, who founded the company in 2009. It has expanded to be the only place of its kind that allows kids to build objects using real tools in the safety of a highly supervised classroom. Anything your kid can dream up can be built here: skateboards, guitars, and forts for example. My 4-year-old son has never used a hammer of any kind, but by the end of the party, he had proudly built his own toy boat out of actual wood and nails–and to my surprise, he still had all his fingers and toes. I spoke with the brave woman behind the power tools, to find out how she came up with the idea, how much research she puts into her program and how many major injuries they have per minute (spoiler alert: zero). (more…)