Archive for April, 2009

LETTERS FROM LEXY: Tejo Remy on the Subway

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

At the Atlantic Street Station in Brooklyn, as a part of MoMA Atlantic/Pacific, there is a photograph of a sculpture by artist Tejo Remy. It depicts a set of old drawers with a strap holding them together titled “You Can’t Lay Down Your Memory”. As a gift to subway riders, MoMA has filled the station with 50 works of art. Included among images by Pablo Picasso, Andy Warhol and Charles Eames was a photograph of “You Can’t Lay Your Memory Down” by Remy, who was Vahap’s art assistant in 1993 in Amsterdam at the gallery W129.

At the time, Vahap (Brooklyn Industries’ Co-Founder) was doing art work using recycled materials, including letters made from used cans that he collected from the street.

PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE: More Bike Lanes

Monday, April 27th, 2009

On Sunday, May 3rd (rain or shine), TD Bank will host New York’s Five Boro Bike Tour, which is the largest recreational cycling event in the U.S. It’s a 42 mile adventure that takes cyclists across five major bridges and across the New York Harbor.

Even though the official registration for the Five Boro Bike Tour has closed, registration is now open for the Long Island Harbors Ride on June 28th.

Brooklyn Industries has been supporting bicyclists since the creation of our “More Bike Lanes” t-shirt in 2006. Ten percent of the proceeds from the t-shirt went to Recycle-A-Bicycle, a Brooklyn-based organization that promotes everyday bicycle use. Due to the success of the t-shirt, we’ve designed a sweatshirt that will benefit the organization again. If you purchase our More Bike Lanes sweatshirt, $5 from each sweatshirt sale will go to Recycle-a-Bicycle. Our screen-printed graphic sweatshirt has a drawstring hood, full zipper and kangaroo pockets.

You can also test your biking skills at bikenewyork.org by taking its Traffic Smarts Quiz. It’s there you will find the 12 savvy secrets of cycling.

LETTERS FROM LEXY: Smitz Beats Vernon. Story Ideas for WNYC.

Friday, April 24th, 2009

This week, I was asked to be part of a roundtable for WNYC (93.9FM and 820AM) on how it can improve its financial reporting of the economy. WNYC is the ultimate in radio stations, an NPR affiliate that has talk shows, cultural programs, and experimental radio programming such as “New Sounds,” and “Radio Lab.” I have been listening to the station avidly since I was in my early 20s booking long hours in the darkroom. To answer WNYC’s question for the roundtable, here is a list of hypothetical programs on the NYC economy that I would love to hear:

1. A story of the infamous Smitz Bagel Company from the Bronx that emerged during the depression because it aggressively marketed and built its brand. Its competitor, Vernon Bagels, lost because Mr. Vernon decided to retrench and only stick to plain bagels, no ads and certainly no everything bagels.

2. A story of a young man who was laid off from his job in advertising and started a store on wheels – an ice cream truck that sells homemade ice cream sandwiches and Stumptown Coffee.

3. A story of a middle-aged couple in Leeds, England, who came to New York City on vacation, but decided that the pound was unexpectedly weak compared with the dollar and ate every night at a corner diner in Hell’s Kitchen.

4. A story of a middle-aged musician who starts his own record company and sells $200,000 worth of direct downloads – all from his studio apartment in Clinton Hill near Pratt.

5. A story of a stay at home Mum who falls in love with a once working man who is now a stay at home Dad and takes his two young sons to the park every day at 3:00 pm.

6. A story of a 27-year old accountant at a small firm who takes a voluntary pay cut to avoid layoffs in her department. She moves back in with her mother, and though the commute is long, spends many evenings at the kitchen table talking with her mother about Homer, and occasionally playing Monopoly.

Pictures courtesy of amNY and Hasbro.com

GREEN PIONEERS

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

Today, Con Edison Solutions and Community Energy, Inc. honored Brooklyn Industries a “Green Power Pioneer” for using wind-generated electricity to power its office and stores. Our CEO Lexy Funk (pictured far left) was present to receive the honor.

The Green Power Event took place at Chelsea Piers. We were included among the 20 pioneers recognized by Jorge J. Lopez, President and CEO of Con Edison Solutions; Brent Alderfer, President and CEO of Community Energy Inc.; Christine C. Quinn, New York City Council Speaker; and David A. Tewksbury, Chelsea Piers Co-Founder.

Green Power is clean, renewable energy generated in New York State and around the country. At the event, Con Edison Solutions noted that only 3% of the U.S is powered by wind. We’re happy to be a part of that 3%.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY FUNK

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009



Today, we launched our Summer 2009 campaign, which was photographed by our CEO Lexy Funk. The collection, which was inspired by the extraordinary photo-based paintings of Gerhard Richter, is the second collection photographed by Funk this year. In March, Funk photographed the Summer Preview Collection inside Brooklyn Industries’ 22,000 square foot office, warehouse and photo studio in Brooklyn. This time, Funk hit the streets just outside our office door to photograph the Summer Collection. Highlights from the Summer Collection include bright, vibrant colors taken to the next level. Men’s woven shirts, men’s shorts, women’s knits and women’s dresses are available in an array of color ways that include limeade to bright red. New bags include totes and bagpacks with throwback 80s gym bag styling with modern functionality. Also look for new t-shirts with cool creatures. A highlight this month is Spectocularz, which features a keen, three-eyed, spectacled cat whose vision is quite spectacular!

LETTERS FROM LEXY: Wind vs. Hydro Power. Do they really compete?

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2009

Today, we were mentioned in the New York Times for our use of hydro and wind power to power our stores. One interesting issue emerged in my mind while being interviewed by the reporter: What is the environmental difference between hydro and wind? Is one better than the other? There seems to be a cultural drive to place a hierarchy on various sources of sustainable energy, with 100% wind trumping water and solar. As our first six-month contract with Con Edison Solutions comes up for renewal, we are weighing our options. 100% wind is more expensive, but does it have more value?

Our fans and customers are wondering about sustainable energy as well. Just last week, on one of our customer comment cards, a customer asked about where our sustainable power came from: “How are your stores powered by wind and hydro?” It would be wonderful to imagine a pipeline directly from a wind field to our stores, bypassing the power grid. But this is not how it works. The sustainable power we use in our stores comes from the amount Con Edison purchases from wind fields and hydroelectric power plants. The energy is mixed together through the grid and delivered to different homes and businesses. As far as I know there is no way to parcel out the different kilowatts – they all mix together. Great question though, and hard to visualize.

BIAS: Brian Willette

Friday, April 17th, 2009

Our new BIAS (Brooklyn Industries Art Space) exhibition in Portland arrives on Thursday, May 14th. This time around our artist is Brian Willette, a Chicago native with a BFA in photography from Minneapolis College of Art and Design. His résumé includes exhibitions in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Germany. Don’t just imagine how beautiful these images will look as 20×30 inch prints in a gallery – be sure to see it on exhibit in Portland through June 18th.

In his works, Willette captures the essence of waking from a dream with a series of soft focused images. He expresses his emotional connection with places he discovered out on the open road.



HALL STREET HEADQUARTERS BY THE NUMBERS

Thursday, April 16th, 2009

9 – Water towers visible from the office windows
22,000 – Square feet of office space
1,750 – Windows in the office
50 – Number of BKI t-shirts owned by Sarah, our t-shirt buyer
15 – Minutes it takes to walk from the G train at Clinton/Washington
3 – Number of dogs that come to work
63 – Number of times we’ve ordered from Bergen Bagels on Myrtle so far this year
8 – Average number of minutes late the local buses run
6 – Number of new graphic t-shirts in stores and on the website each month
4 – Number of people who ride their bikes to work
50 – Feet to Steiner Studios, one of the largest studios outside of Hollywood
3 – Minutes new visitors spend figuring out that you have to push the down button on the elevator to go up and the up button to go down
8 – Number of people that squeeze into our building’s elevator at 8:56
35 + 88 = Dedicated office and store employees who promote the BKI motto of “LIVE,WORK,CREATE”



PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE: The Lory Tote

Tuesday, April 14th, 2009


The Lory Tote is really about death. The black straps fold over the encased fabric. On one side is a printed bird, a humorous addition to an otherwise very serious bag. But the bird is just a decoy from the act of bondage. A bag encased, and our normal woven fabric given a frame.

Maya Angelou knows a thing or two about the caged bird as well!


I know why the caged bird sings
by Maya Angelou

A free bird leaps on the back
Of the wind and floats downstream
Till the current ends and dips his wing
In the orange suns rays
And dares to claim the sky.

But a BIRD that stalks down his narrow cage
Can seldom see through his bars of rage
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill
Of things unknown but longed for still
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for
The caged bird sings of freedom.

The free bird thinks of another breeze
And the trade winds soft through
The sighing trees
And the fat worms waiting on a dawn-bright
Lawn and he names the sky his own.

But a caged BIRD stands on the grave of dreams
His shadow shouts on a nightmare scream
His wings are clipped and his feet are tied
So he opens his throat to sing.

The caged bird sings with
A fearful trill of things unknown
But longed for still and his
Tune is heard on the distant hill
For the caged bird sings of freedom.

PRODUCT PERSPECTIVE: Gallant Eyelet Dress

Friday, April 10th, 2009


When we first fit this dress we were plagued by the myth of the waitress. The factory sent the sample in white, and as much as we are trained to see a garment as really only a garment, we imagined the fit model to say “What can I get you with that hamburger?” Eventually we decided on black, only black. The eyelet fabric recedes into sophistication rather than doily-sit-on-your-dinner-table. The waist detail cinches flatteringly. Really, this is a perfect spokesperson for the city uniform – more street than menu. Thank God!