Archive for the ‘Go See…’ Category

Free Screening: Brooklyn Castle at Brooklyn Industries 1 Boerum Place

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Working in such a vibrant community, we often get sent music, movies, artwork, among other things in hopes that we can help share it with the world. When this disk landed on our desks, we weren’t sure what to make of it, so we popped it in the player. After a couple of hours and a few teardrops later, we had immediately made up our minds.

We had to do something to help.

Brooklyn Castle documents the after school chess club at I.S. 318 in Williamsburg through the personal stories of a handful of players and their committed instructors. I.S. 318 is a humble middle school in every sense of the word – including financial, yet their inner city chess program has developed into a national powerhouse, routinely capturing national titles – 26 to be exact. But more crucial than the awards, the documentary highlights the empowering effects the game has on the students’ lives, from academics, to their home lives, to the emotional maturation of the adolescents – in a sometimes ridiculously heartwarming fashion. With severe cuts to school budgets in the city, the chess club, among other after school programs, is facing extinction. We called up the Director, Katie Dellamaggiore shortly after, and decided to collaborate on a T-shirt design, with portions of proceeds from the shirt going to help fund the program. The design plays off the name of the county the school resides in – Kings County, and is fashioned after a varsity athletic feel because at I.S. 318, the chess players are the star athletes.

The film initially debuted at SXSW last March, and is scheduled to screen at Sundance in October, but a week before on Saturday, October 13th, Brooklyn Industries will put on a free Brooklyn screening at our 1 Boerum Place location. Come see this amazing film for the first time, help support the movie and chess club, and try your hand at defeating some of these young chess athletes for special prizes (warning – you probably won’t win). RSVP at

Shop the BK Castle Eco Tee. Portions of the proceeds to the I.S.318 chess program.

Go See Cooper Hewitt’s “Graphic Design: Now In Production” on Governors Island

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

One of the best graphic design exhibits in awhile is now showing just a $4 East River Ferrry ride away on Governor’s Island. While most of the work has developed iconic status on the web, the all-encompassing curation gives you a chance to see the work in its original form or in proper scale. Bring a bike or rent one there afterwards to unplug from civilization just five minutes from Lower Manhattan.


Christopher Doyle’s amusing Identity Guidelines for himself.

Albert Exergian Swiss-ifies American television shows in his Iconic TV poster series

Ink, a collection of wallcoverings designed by Abbott Miller at Pentagram

SALT, a cultural institution in Istanbul incorporates the missing type parts of the typeface KRALIÇE.

Lemmy, The Movie

Thursday, May 3rd, 2012

Our Senior Designer, Dale, reminisces about her life changing moment with Lemmy from Mötorhead, and the documentary about the rock icon.

I can’t help myself, I am a Mötorhead fan. I saw them in concert when I was 16 and I’ll never forget it!  I was one of approximately ten girls in an audience of bikers, metal dudes and skinheads. Lemmy yelled out “Denver show us your tits!” Yikes – I nearly fainted. I was 16, weighed 100 pounds and I wasn’t showing anyone anything!  After recovering, the rest of the show was nothin’ but rockin’. Upon reflection that comment came about due to the obvious lack of  ladies in the audience, which he loves so much, and after watching this documentary I realized that he is truly a lover of women.

I’ve revered Lemmy ever since then, so I had to see the new documentary about him. The best thing about the movie is… well Lemmy really. Everyone interviewed just gushes over the guy. He’s an obvious charmer that has lived the rock n’ roll dream for real but on the gritty side.

It’s entertaining to see him hang out with Dave Grohl and the guys from Metallica. He just makes all those dudes look like posers. They all try so hard to be what simply oozes out of Lemmy.  It’s hilarious. Obviously everyone has stolen from the guy but it’s great to see them admit it. Of course you get to learn a little about Lemmy’s complicated emotional side. You also get to hear about swapping girlfriends with his son, see his collection of WWI & WWII swords, and listen to stories about his days as a roadie for Jimi Hendrix. On top of that, it’s amazing to watch a man live on Jack Daniels and speed and see him get in an armored tank and fire it!

I recommend this documentary to anyone that loves to ROCK . Lemmy takes you down the essential history of music and helps you understand what makes someone an original. Lemmy doesn’t rock because he wants to – it’s in his blood and it’s his whole life. – Dale

How To Grow a Band – The Story of Punch Brothers

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Last Friday, we made it out to the premiere of How To Grow A Band, an intimate music documentary about the band, Punch Brothers, and the challenges of forming a new band playing a genre that few, if any demanded – experimental chamber bluegrass. Having been turned away from Lena Dunham’s much hyped Girls premiere earlier in the week at the Ace Hotel, we were feeling much more eager to take in a story about a band undertaking the daunting task of winning over new listeners with their challenging, uncompromising craft.

The story of how Punch Brothers came to be is as unusual as their music. Unlike most up and coming bands, the group sprung from the hugely successful bluegrass band, Nickel Creek, who rode the momentum of the success of the O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack to go on and sell millions of records themselves. The band was formed when Chris Thile, the mandolin player for Nickel Creek was eight years old – that’s right, eight years old, and there is some pretty hilarious footage of the kids in adorable cowboy wear playing shows with their smiling, supportive dad in the background on bass. Thile could have easily continued to put out similar bluegrass albums with the same traditional chord progressions and live a comfortable life, but instead pivoted to life in a van touring their first record, Punch, that included The Blind Leaving The Blind, a 40 minute song in four movements. After playing the piece live on their first tour of Europe in Glasgow, there’s a great, awkward scene of the crowd staring at the band in complete silence, unsure of whether to clap, dance, boo, or cry. Eventually, fans, critics, and press learn to appreciate the band’s demanding, yet cathartic music, leading the band to Lincoln Center, a Brooklyn studio, and a monthly New York City residency at The Living Room.

Unlike most music documentaries that lean on wild anecdotes and the chaos and drama of band member infighting to keep interest, Punch Brothers is more deliberate and suggestive – more Jim Jarmusch than Detroit Rock City. Riding along on the journey with the band, director Mark Meatto gracefully shoots the subtle dramas in warm, personal shots. Viewers of the movie are more likely to sense tension from close up shots of an anguished expression, or ten minute jams than from arguments or interviews. For most new bands that pass day after unglamourous day in a van, or years and years unsure about whether their music will be accepted, there’s not a better music documentary that captures that long, arduous, and uncertain journey of forming a new band.

Behind the Campaign: Creative Director, Vahap Avsar Discusses “Crash”

Tuesday, January 31st, 2012

Vahap Avsar, artist and BKI’s Creative Director talks about J.G. Ballard’s Crash, the inspiration behind the Spring 2012 Collection

What sparked your initial interest in Crash?

When most people think about Crash, they think of the (David Cronenberg) movie, which I haven’t even seen, or fetishism, or about J.G. Ballard as a science fiction or post-apocalyptic writer, but I see him more as a postmodern theoretician – and artist. Ballard was a huge influence on some of the great writers and artists of the late 20th century, from Bruce Sterling to Tracy Emin to Damien Hirst. I think his vision of a dystopian modernity deeply resonates with the age we live in, and our psychologies are clearly affected by the technological commodities we use. Crash isn’t about sex – it’s about using sex as a representation of our acceptance and fetishism of a technology that kills a large number of people every year.

Speaking of Damien Hirst, how do you see Ballard’s effect on the art world?

Well, Ballard’s ideas were a major influence on contemporary American and British artists, especially the Y.B.A. (Young British Artists) and their tactics of pushing psychological boundaries. Actually, before he wrote Crash, Ballard exhibited a piece at The New Arts Lab consisting of wrecked cars called Crashed Cars in the late 60’s that many critics at the time labeled ‘perverse’. Ballard often considered his books a literary version of the ideas expressed in his visual artwork.

How did you come about fusing Ballard’s ideas with a fashion collection?

Just as Crash is a conduit for his theories, I wanted to use the spring line as a conduit for Crash. To be frank, fashion can at times be a bit vapid, so I wanted to come up with a thought provoking theme expressed through clothing that the audience could hopefully catch on and get them talking about Ballard. As we design a wide variety of products, it can be difficult to tie all the items into one singular idea, but we encourage the designers to interpret the theme according to their perspectives and personalities. With just this one idea, we were able to come up with a number of different designs across a wide variety of disciplines. We made a seasonal collection, we designed and hand-painted a custom bag series, our window designer sculpted amazing installations for our stores, our multimedia designer created video collages that we  incorporated into the photoshoot for the campaign. In the end, we’re putting it all together in a fashion/art event at our Union Square store. To me, it’s amazing that our designers made so much great work out of a single idea.

Come see the Crash Into Spring event at our Union Square location on Friday, February 10th, 2012 from 7pm-9:30pm, featuring live art demonstrations by the BKI Design Team, music by DJ SoSuperSam, and food and drinks from Dough and Brooklyn Gin.

Zoe Strauss – Ten Years, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Monday, January 30th, 2012

I had the opportunity to check out the Zoe Stauss ten-year retrospective which opened two weeks ago at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Her photos, which aim to capture “an epic narrative about the beauty and struggle of everyday life,” was made all the more impressive considering Strauss only began her photography at the age of 30, exhibiting for the first time in 2001 on her own without any gallery representation.

Most of Strauss’ work documents her own neighborhood and surrounding areas, and there’s definitely a feeling that she isn’t far removed from her subjects, giving her portraits a real sense of intimacy. Between human subjects, unique architecture, consumer culture, and disarming snapshots of text, the volume of work is impressive, keen, and witty, capturing everyday scenes removed from its original context. Strauss’ work also included photographs addressing current events, and her pictures from her time spent volunteering and rebuilding in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina were poignant reminders of the event.

My personal favorite from the show was a series of images featuring mattresses. The image above simply doesn’t do it justice – the print itself is luminescent, transforming something normally vulgar into a visual that is quite captivating.

Strauss’ efforts to make her work as publicly accessible as possible are also a source of inspiration. Since 2001, Strauss has annually presented her “I-95” shows, displaying her photographs underneath elevated sections of the aforementioned highway for all to see, and offering printed works for only five dollars. For the show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Strauss even lobbied (unsuccessfully) to reduce the admission price. For those unable to make it to the exhibit, prints of her photographs are installed on 54 billboards around the city. You can plan your route around the city to see them all, and her entire catalog is available online. If you happen to be in the neighborhood at our store in Philly, you’ll find yourself triangulated by three billboards just a short bike ride away (one of them is pictured below). – Tommy, E-Commerce

Lately, we’ve really been enjoying printing photographs on T-shirts. Check out two of them below, Family Photo and Party Time.


Monday, April 5th, 2010

A few months ago we had the pleasure of photographing our Spring 2009 Campaign at the Carlton Arms Hotel in New York. Many of the photos we took featured artwork by the talented Jeff Schweitzer. The Carlton Arms Hotel will be having a celebration this Wednesday, April 7th from 6 – 10 for the unveiling of three new art projects. Schweitzer’s mural in room 7A is finally complete after many months of hard work. Other unoccupied guest rooms will be left open so it will be a rare opportunity to see some of the unique work that has been created in the hotel over the last 25 years! The Carlton Arms is truly a unique place. We recommend you stop by.


Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Today Devin, our in house architect, emailed us images from a fantastic photographer. His name is Denis Darzacq and he is showing this month at the Laurence Miller Gallery. His Hyper Collection is Robert Long updated- suspense in the land of supermarkets. Very inspiring.


Thursday, March 18th, 2010

Matt Singer just emailed me to tell me about his new site. He used to work with Jack Spade. Singer’s creative flavor certainly shows through in his brand. I particularly like his blend of product, films, watches and books. Check it out and support an emerging designer. – Lexy


Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Jeffrey Schweitzer is the artist behind one of the murals featured in our Spring 2010 campaign. The mural, which can be seen in the progress photos below, is a part of a series called “The Drifter.” Full of whimsical forest imagery, it’s a narrative to be read from left to right that will read like a storybook and is the inspiration for a low-fi short film, also a work in progress.

The photographs of the mural that appear in our campaign this month are actually unfinished sections of Schweitzer’s art. What makes this mural unique from the others at New York’s Carlton Arms Hotel is where the artist lives. Most other murals are finished in less than three days by traveling artists and are often less detailed because of it, but Schweitzer has been able to work on this piece of art over several weeks because he’s a local artist from Brooklyn, New York.

We were able to capture our Denim Shirtdress in front of the mural, and even as a piece of unfinished art, it’s spectacular enough to steal the spotlight – at first glance, at least.

Schweitzer is currently showing with Artbreak Gallery in Williamsburg Brooklyn. We’ll be going. Won’t you?