Archive for October, 2009


Thursday, October 29th, 2009

The November Collection is here! Last week, Lexy photographed the collection in New York’s Grand Central Terminal where we’ll be opening our 12th store on November 15th. There are impressive additions to the Outerwear Collection, including down coats and wool coats, eco parkas and waist length puffer jackets. There’s also sherpa hoodies, fleece-lined hoodies, ruffled cardigans, sweater dresses, pencil skirts and wool blend military-inspired sweaters for men. We’re so excited that these styles are finally here, and equally excited for them to be available for commuters that travel through Grand Central Terminal daily.

The campaign’s photo series features photographs on the city streets in front of Grand Central Terminal and inside the terminal on subway platforms, in train cars and throughout the landmark’s halls and pathways. The grandeur and historic significance of Grand Central Terminal is captured in color as well as black and white images. Two of our favorite photographs (featured above) show our Great Northern Eco Parka for men and Snug Down Coat for women. The Northern Parka has a heavy duty nylon shell, recycled synthetic filling, and a faux fur-lined hood, it’s a winter classic with an earth friendly heart. Our bestselling Snug Down Coat is 50% duck down and 50% duck feather with chevron quilting and is perfect for the upcoming holiday season!


Monday, October 26th, 2009

I was shooting a video piece for Inc. magazine on entrepreneurship. After answering questions from the producer, he said: “It sounds like you have a lot of meetings at your company.” I was surprised. The way he said meetings, it conjured up thoughts of bureaucracy, business books on how to run them effectively, of nodding heads slumbering, feet numbing and the general drone of business. I realized I had not articulated clearly what we spend a lot of our time doing at our design studio. We build products together in teams. We collaborate. We construct ideas, paths, and conduits that end up being clothes, and collections and wardrobes. Into this process comes many disciplines – the planning of inventory, the voice of the customer, the designer’s vision, the production person’s knowledge of the clothes and construction, and the merchant’s understanding of what we all want to buy six months from now. In meetings, or collaborations, these processes mix. This alchemy is the design process – constant testing, questioning and innovation.

Not us.


Friday, October 23rd, 2009

New t-shirts are in! You’ll find technology and astronomically-inspired graphics in the men’s collection this month. Check out the new collection!


Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Elissa Olin believes it’s easy being green. Upon visiting her one-stop shop Green in BKLYN on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, people will find eco-friendly cleaning supplies, recycled paper products, recyclable and sustainable kitchen supplies, energy savers such as solar power chargers and environmentally-friendly kids products such as toys, pacifiers and diapers. If you’re a proud tree hugger or someone who has recently become aware of the benefits of a greener lifestyle, this shop is for you.

Olin’s story began when she moved from the East Village to Brooklyn last March and as a result found it challenging to purchase green products for her home. This void pushed her to ultimately open a store in her neighborhood so Brooklyn locals could purchase all of their green eco-friendly products at one convenient location.

When a commercial space owned by a doctor was on its way out Olin “hit the ground running” collecting and researching products and ways to re-create what was to be her newly purchased space. Olin enrolled herself in a 10 week class at CAMBA in Flatbush to gain the skills needed to create a business plan and won $5,000 in the competition, which helped turn her plan into a reality.

Inside the store you’ll find tables made out of recycled wood leg stands, a counter that was previously used at the coffee bar up the street, and cabinets and shelves from thrift stores. You’ll also find her wonderful partners, which include a doctor that specializes in allergies, and an organic beauty products specialist.

If you haven’t already, we would strongly suggest stopping in to check out Green in BKLYN for yourself. While you are there you can bring your #5 plastics as well as old batteries. Olin sends the # 5 plastics (think yogurt containers) back to one of her vendors to be recycled into toothbrushes, razors and cutting boards all to be sold in her store.


Monday, October 19th, 2009

I finally watched La Jetée by Chris Marker. The image of the woman on the airport roof and a man falling is a pivotal image that crops up in many art theory books. A post-apocryphal series of images follow a group of scientists conducting experiments underground. They are capturing the memory of dreams of patients to escape into the future. While one can dismiss the contemporary relevance of this cold war dichotomic plot (good/evil, future/past, annihilation/life) the image of the rooftop evokes pleasure and a conventional set up of fore and aft. While shooting our winter photo shoot in Jacob Riis’ parking lot, our models circle each other. I wanted to evoke a large empty public space similar to the scene on the roof in La Jetée. The parking lot was deserted; it was pouring rain. The models were wet and slightly cold. The airplanes droned overhead in their approach to JFK – a perfect setting for a slice of narrative arc.


Monday, October 19th, 2009

There’s a one-man show currently at the Public Theatre in Manhattan that recently received rave reviews from our fellow staffers who attended the show. The show is Lemon Anderson’s stand-up memoir produced by Brooklyn favorite Spike Lee. County of Kings tells the story of Anderson’s struggles throughout youth. Anderson, whose parents met at a methadone clinic and passed away from AIDS, served two prison sentences before he was 21 and managed to capture a Tony for the storytelling of his life by age 30. It’s more than a Brooklyn-based coming of age story; it’s a whirlwind account of love, hip hop, drugs, prison and poetry.

BKI staffer, Lenzy, couldn’t stop offering his support for the show. “It’s rhythmic reality in its raw form. It touches the core of the soul even if you can’t relate to the facts. There’s nothing sweet about Lemon except the lemonade he made on stage. He captures your attention in three seconds flat, the way he emerges from the audience at the start. Like the Himalaya [a ride at Coney Island that Lemon gives an anecdote about], it takes you back and forth on a ride of emotions, but it leaves you yearning for more because it ends so suddenly.”

Michelle, another BKI staffer who attended the performance said, “The way he endearingly personifies the characters in his life and how they’ve affected him is hilarious and heartbreaking at the same time. I could have watched Lemon tell his story easily for a few more hours. We’re giving it a rave review, and we’re thinking you will too.


Friday, October 16th, 2009

It’s already that time of year when the wind blows frigidly and the temperature drops dramatically. So come by your local BKI and drop off your old coat for a new one! Not only will you be looking super stylish this winter, but you’ll be helping others feel just as warm as you. Starting today through October 26th, all Brooklyn Industries stores will host the second annual Brooklyn Bundle Up coat drive. Customers’ coat donations will benefit charities near our New York, Chicago and Portland stores. Shoppers who donate will receive $10 OFF a new coat from the Winter ’09 Outerwear Collection valid during the coat drive. All donated coats from New York will support Coalition for the Homeless, the nation’s oldest advocacy and direct service organization helping homeless men, women, and children. The Bucktown location will host the Brooklyn Bundle Up for Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, a non-profit organization that works with people hurt by homelessness. Brooklyn Industries in Portland will host the Brooklyn Bundle Up for Impact Northwest, an organization helping more than 70,000 children, families seniors, and adults with disabilities to improve their quality of life and live independently. Check out our Outerwear Shop to see what great coats we have this season.

If you’re looking for an old favorite and it’s not there, we are going to be updating the outerwear shop again soon!


Friday, October 16th, 2009

Our photoshoot went well at Grand Central Terminal this week. We can’t wait to debut.


Friday, October 16th, 2009

The MTA approached us to open a store in Grand Central Terminal. I spent three hours there looking before we decided to take the store. I shopped, I ate, and I stood in the main hall looking at tourists, commuters and traffic patterns. I did have a train to catch, but I went several hours early to do market research. Grand Central is a blend of transportation hub, historical New York lore, architectural wonder and Europeans lost and searching for the bus to Woodbury Commons. (That afternoon, a couple asked the man at the ticket booth this question.) Personally, my father spoke nostalgically about visiting the station in the 1960s, of the “whisper chamber” next to the Oyster Bar. Speak on one side of the room cattycorner and someone on the other side of the room can hear you. The main hall is truly magnificent – hectic crisscrossing, a splendor that reaches up and out. Transportation hubs have lost their stigma. Travel through Heathrow or Gatwick in the UK and every great UK retailer is there. This should be the same on this side of the Atlantic. Travel is about experience, about expectation, about pleasure and yes, about great shopping. We are excited to be part of this historical place.


Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

[Last week, Lexy chronicled her trip to our Portland store location.]

As I walk to a gate in the airport, there is a moment of hesitation. Next to my flight to Portland is a Delta flight to London. Imagine if, like a path in the woods, one could just decide to take the other gangplank. In the same six hours to the West Coast one would be in another country. However, this is a personal reference as I grew up in London. I am going to Portland on business, to our second store outside of New York; Portland is culturally different yet similar to the birthplace of Brooklyn Industries. References in new cities are filtered through personal memory. The small dormitory style rooms at the Ace Hotel bring me back to hostels and the year I spent at art school. Powell’s Books was where I bought Heidegger’s Being and Time in 1992 when visiting Portland in my twenties. Our store on NW 23rd Avenue brings it current – to our manager’s great enthusiasm for our brand, new customers who are learning about us for the first time, and a female customer who buys an entire work wardrobe for her new job in Portland the night I am there. Our Portland store is beautiful, clean and modern. Our rhizome network is growing. The root structure is in the air, and the new store is more of a graphed being, a hybrid of our older stores and our imagined future. This idea of stores as siblings, as distinct plants within the same genealogical tree is more modern and progressive than the replication approach. It enables us to collaborate with the neighborhood, and to make new geographic reference. Perhaps stores will enable us to metaphorically walk down two different gangplanks at the same time.