Archive for the ‘Collections’ Category

Tee Tuesday- Brooklyn In Pictures, by Lucille Fornasieri Gold

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

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Brooklyn native Lucille Fornasieri Gold started taking photographs with a 35 mm camera in 1969, capturing the striking juxtapositions of urban life in a city defined by ethnic, cultural and economic diversity. Her large and impressive body of work laid mostly hidden for decades, until they were recently archived by the Brooklyn Historical Society. Lucille’s photos will be featured in an exhibition at the Brooklyn Historical Society June 26, 2014 – February 4, 2015. Over the next year, Brooklyn Industries will be releasing five limited edition T-shirts, each featuring a different photographic print from Gold’s collection.

We recently visited Lucille before her big exhibition opening in her apartment in Kensington, Brooklyn which she shares with her longtime husband, Jack. On a dining room table the now 84 year old Lucille laid out stacks and stacks of prints, along with an impressive spread of biscotti, cakes, and coffee. Growing up, she had been surrounded by, and surrounded herself with the arts – her father was a professional sculpture and Lucille used to hang out around the Art Students League. “I picked up photography because, well, I just liked it,” she recalled. “In the 80s, these well known photographers like Ken Heyman used to take pupils on and I’d attend their classes. I also collected books by some of my favorites like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Walker Evans… I just liked it. I shot all the time. I made a darkroom in my kitchen and processed my own pictures.” As we rifled through her old photographs of an endlessly diverse cast of characters from Brooklyn in the 70s and 80s, from Civil Rights protesters to dolled up old ladies to strip club dancers, there’s a real sense that what peered through the camera eye was objective – without bias and pure. “I never thought about commercial applications. I can’t even believe you’re putting them on shirts now. Do you think they’ll sell?”

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“That one,” she pointed to a picture noticing that I was staring at it intently. “That was on Flatbush. Girls used to push their carriages around with just dolls in them. I used to walk the streets of Flatbush, Brooklyn, and go to different areas of the city. I like what the camera does. It has an unbiased eye. But you do need the instinct to sense the natural rhythm, and you empathize with it. I can’t say that I can judge because you don’t know what’s coming in a sense, nor can I judge other people who are using the idiom in a different way – I expect something new – and that’s where the creative individual appears and synthesizes the new idiom.”

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A photo of Lucille Gold in her younger years.

As the years passed, Lucille walked the streets less and less, and the photos started turning into stacks. Binders and binders of slides began to pile up in her house, until her family members brought them to the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Museum. From that point on with the help of her encouraging husband who would often get up at four in the morning and scan until twelve at night, it was a race to get as much of her work out there as possible. Jack is literally unable to stop singing the praises of Lucille. “She won’t tell you how great this work is,” Jack informs us. “Stop it!” Lucille interjects. “I don’t want to talk about it. Do you want a martini?” she asks. “I’m frugal. I like martinis.”

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Lucille Gold today

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Today only, take 20% off Muscle Beach and Cat Lady with code: TEETUESDAY. 10% of proceeds from the tees will be donated to the Brooklyn Historical Society.

Brooklyn Bloomin’

Thursday, March 20th, 2014
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Clockwise from top right: Tulip Printed Dress, Floral Daredevil Pant, Alma Sheer Utility Top

Winter, we’re seriously over you. And this time, it’s for real. Despite how hard you’re trying to hang on, we know spring is bloomin’.

One of our favorite parts of Spring’s arrival – the scent of flowers from trees and flower shops fill the streets. This year, fashion is getting in on the action, with floral prints being a mega presence on the runways during the SS14 collections, such as Christopher Kane, Nina Ricci, and Thakoon. We here at Brooklyn Industries found ourselves under the same spell – in particular by our borough in bloom with the yearly, epic-ness of the Cherry Blossoms at the Brooklyn Botanical gardens, riding bikes and brunch outside in the warm sun- what?!? Spring’s reawakening also inspires us to look back to our younger years in the ’90s. Remember all those floral rayon dresses we used to wear? Maybe you don’t, but we do and we miss them so we had to bring them back!

So get ready for warm days ahead- and celebrate the first day of Spring (TODAY!) in Brooklyn style! -Janeane, Women’s Designer

Playtime at ThePlayland Motel – The 2014 Spring Preview Collection

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
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-“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”

This year, we’ve all made a collective resolution to play more, so what better place to have our first shoot of the year than the Playland Motel in Rockaway. The newly restored and artist-designed motel was definitely one of our top playgrounds last year, so not only did we want to shoot there, but the creativity oozing from the walls inspired our own graphic designers and artists to play with the images we photographed. It’s no coincidence that this ended up being one of the most fun campaigns we’ve worked on.

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Check out the entire lookbook here.

Rockaway Revisited – The Summer 2013 Collection

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

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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.

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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.

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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.

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View the lookbook here.

Carry On…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Like superheroes, all companies have their origin story. For Brooklyn Industries, it began with two young artists – Vahap Avsar and Lexy Funk in a Chelsea apartment in 1996. Staring out the window, Avsar often found his gaze landing on an old Marlboro billboard that had been weathered from months and months in the New York weather.

Sifer-Chyper, 1991, Vahap Avsar

Drawing inspiration from his large body of work that mostly concentrated on the semiotics of visual language, 3rd world bricolage, and upcycling art from common objects, Avsar began sewing the bags in their apartment, and when demand outgrew their tiny quarters, the partners moved to a warehouse in the then gritty Williamsburg where they worked and lived without heat or air conditioning. When the amount of knocks on their warehouse door became untenable, Funk and Avsar opened a retail space that was to become the genesis for Brooklyn Industries.

Last year, the company began re-establishing production in Brooklyn with one craftsman and one sewing machine making one bag at a time. One year later, we’ve set up a small production facility at our current headquarters in Brooklyn called Factory, and are celebrating it with the re-release of the Crypto Billboard Bag. Prior to the re-release of the original line, we’ve released a number of new designs made in house this past year, including the Sunnyside Bag, the Java Tote, and the Corlear Bag. As an added bonus, each bag comes with a limited edition, numbered screen printed poster commemorating the re-release.

Each custom-made, waterproof messenger bag is completely unique with its own different cuts and decontextualized designs. With digital advertisements dominating the visual landscape, Avsar sought to bring back a sense of nostalgia towards tactile messaging. The Crypto bag line is the latest in Brooklyn Industries’ new releases that is helping the company establish a greater local manufacturing presence.

New Artist Series Tees

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

New Guest Artist Series tees designed by Camden Dunning, Lily Gloria, and Jay Roeder, modeled by our wonderful store associates Stephen, Gabi, and Brandon at our 1 Boerum Place location.

Behind the Shoot: Nature vs. Culture – BKI’s Fall Collection

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

When we first starting talking about inspiration for this Fall’s campaign last year, a series of highly unusual events had occurred in New York City around the time – a mild earthquake that prompted an evacuation of our headquarters in DUMBO, a hurricane that shut down the entire subway system for the first time ever, and a twister that wound its way through the narrow streets of Brooklyn, tearing down our Park Slope store awning. At that point, it wouldn’t have been surprising if Cloverfield had washed ashore.

What those events did remind us of was how tenuous the order and balance between the culture we create and nature really is. We construct seemingly impregnable fortresses made of steel and concrete, yet add a little rain water and we become savages with shopping carts battling it out for the last gallon of water. During the day, we put on our dry cleaned button ups, yet at night, we dance primally to beats, push ourselves into subway crowds, dress ourselves in ostentatious peacock outfits, and fall prey to our sexual urges. We migrate from neighborhood to neighborhood, leaving stretches of avenues for nature to reclaim with weeds and rust, only to later be scouted, chopped down, and reclaimed by the cultural agents of gentrification.

 

Living in New York City, it’s sometimes easy to forget about nature, outside of the occasional sidewalk tree, subway rat, and herd of pomeranians on leashes. To remind us of our susceptibility to our savage tendencies and the forces of nature, the design team packed our cars and headed up north to the Catskills to camp and shoot our fall line. While urbanites packing for the country can be a little awkward – DSLR’s, chocolate, iPods, we instantly found our footing with bare feet, running and rolling down grassy hills, carving up kindling for the fire, and racing through dark woods at night.  Our models – Kevin who we found in the middle of a crowded dance floor at a Rockaway Beach dance party, and Haley who we plucked from Bushwick, were equally intrepid, joining us in a tipsy stag leap dance, and even voluntarily wading through a pond inhabited by hordes of giant, croaking bullfrogs.

For the earlier fall release, color blocking and nautical stripes run through many of the designs, along with inspiration from op art. Later in the fall, the more autumnal colors begin to show up, along with houndstooth patterns and lace.

 

For more campaign photos, visit Live, Work, Create.

Fall Campaign Sneak Peek

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Photos 1 & 2 by Kevin Rogers. Photos 3-5 by Courtney Chavanell

New BKI Sunglasses on La Jetée

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

 

What’s our favorite accessory for the summer? Shades. While summertime in Brooklyn is legendary, the bright sun can be brutal – especially after the endless rooftop BBQs, Rockaway trips, and late night dance parties. When we’re feeling lethargic with our attire, sunglasses are always the easiest fixer upper for outfits. And with the protective case, they’re the perfect portable disguise – for whatever neighborhood you wake up in!

For our recent shoot in Greenpoint, we headed to the ferry landing with our cameras and shot a short movie inspired by the classic surrealist/post apocalyptic 60′s French film, La Jetée. On the vast expanse of the ferry landing, our models got to show off their thespian side, embracing and running down the pier in wedges and sunglasses, and dodging commuters with our photographer/CEO, Lexy Funk chasing after them with both hands on the camera – the perfect combination of hilarious, and dangerous.

 

 

Introducing Jungle Fever, The 2012 Summer Collection

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

As a fashion brand, specifically a Brooklyn based brand, we are inspired by the world around us. Brooklyn continues to be our muse but this summer’s 2012 collection is more specifically guided by the movie Jungle Fever. For the Brooklyn Industries design team, the movie provided a starting point for the collection, a source of contextual visual cues for the designers to work with but that is not where it ended. Upon further examination, our initial artistic inspiration developed into a broad idea of the concrete jungle and what it means to be a part of a multicultural landscape. Our senses were awakened by the captivating aesthetics of the film and were further challenged when we began to talk about the race issues surrounding the movies characters. Despite Brooklyn’s reputation of being an oasis for diversity and acceptance, we began to question just how accepting Brooklyn was.

Like many New York residents, Brooklyn Industries Creative Director Vahap Avsar immigrated to the United States and was quickly taken aback by the racism and prejudice that was saturating the “melting pot.” While he experienced many refreshing moments of racial accord, he also saw neighborhoods still fundamentally segregated, deep-rooted anger and aggression among many of Brooklyn’s inhabitants, and racial inequality and prejudice that were still occurring in a place that prided itself on fostering diversity and acceptance. The topic of racism in the United States remained a thorn in his side throughout the years and for Brooklyn Industries Summer 2012 season, he was both inspired and driven to utilize the brand’s collection as a platform to spark a dialogue about the state of race relations in the United States and more specifically, Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Industries does not claim to be an authority on race relations or social issues in general.  Our objective is not to tell the community how and what to think regarding race but as a brand that is deeply invested in the local community, we felt it imperative to continue the conversation on what many deem as a historical issue, one that no longer exists because of the progress that has been made since the days of slavery, internment camps and civil rights. While we do not discount the many accomplishments of those who have worked tirelessly to create equal opportunity, we do want to remind our community that diligence is needed and a desire to strive for progress is essential in creating a productive and truly blossoming community.

Though it was Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever that provoked our initial response, it is the ending in the movie School Daze and the opening credits of Do the Right Thing that serves as the strongest and most cohesive statement as to what Brooklyn Industries aims to accomplish. “Wake Up!” This is our rallying cry, our own call to action that implores our community to open its eyes to the issues within the borough. Wake up and breathe in the beauty that is Brooklyn, but don’t let that be the end. Pay attention, be a diligent participant in your community and educate yourself about the social injustices that are still occurring in 2012.

The Brooklyn Industries summer 2012 collection is more than just powerful prints and the perfect pant for the season, it is about sparking an internal revolution. A revolution in oneself that forces us to examine the state of the community that inspires us and delve deeper than what is visible at the surface. Despite the strides we’ve made within the community, it is our goal to continuously examine, discover and seek out positive change in the jungle we call Brooklyn.

View the Summer 2012 Collection and enjoy 15% off for a limited time with the code SUMMER15

To read CEO, Lexy Funk’s response to the campaign, click here.