Archive for November, 2011

Movies. Spy Movies.

Monday, November 28th, 2011

When we see a woman shrouded in our white Zermatt coats, we immediately think about the girls from James Bond movies, conjuring up images of the mysterious and exotic women passing microfilm, sipping martinis, or firing Kalashnikovs at 007 from a pair of skis. In honor of these classy, yet brazen Bond ladies, our design team brings you our favorite spy movies.

A View to a Kill- John Glen, 1985

Growing up in the 80’s this classic Bond film was my introduction to the sleek action espionage series. My favorite spy/Bond girl in this film was May Day, a kick-ass villainess assassin played by Grace Jones. This Amazonian femme fatale was trained in the martial arts and genetically bred with super strength to become a ferocious and beautiful killer. Her outfits were what appealed to me the most – over the top glamour, yet still riding the edge between femininity and toughness. I can picture her in our Zurmatt Coat, freefalling off the Eiffel Tower with Duran Duran playing in the background. -Aaron

North by Northwest, Alfred Hitchcock, 1959

There would be no 007 in my opinion without Hitchcock’s stylish masterpiece, North by Northwest. Leading man Cary Grant is sharp-dressed, and seems physically unable to complete a sentence without a wisecrack, a trait often associated with James Bond. While all of Hitchcock’s movies are a delight to look at, his visual imprint over the look and feel of NXNW shows a director at the peak of his career. Most people recognize the movie for its iconic airplane chase scene over a spacious cornfield, but my favorite shot is of Cary Grant running away from a murder outside of the United Nations building from a bird’s eye view (pictured above). The film also features great kinetic typography from one of my graphic design heroes, Saul Bass. -Teddy

Hopscotch, Ronald Neame, 1980

Hopscotch is a surprisingly underrated movie. Walter Matthau plays an ex-CIA agent who threatens to write a tell-all book. Although the fashion is generic, late 70’s corporate wear (short ties and wide lapels) the clever dialogue and ever changing plot line holds your attention all the way to the end. –Meagan

From Russia with Love – Terrance Young, 1963

This is my favorite James Bond movie because it take place in the early 60’s and has the best costumes and locations! The music is iconic, the plots are still fresh and SPECTRE plays a great nemesis, seeking to avenge the killing of Dr. No. from an earlier film.  Action, adventure and glamorous ladies set the standard for later movies of this genre. Sean Connery is also my favorite Bond! -Dale

Sean Connery is simply a badass in this film. This is one of my favorite 007 movies! -Koh

Letters From Lexy – So Much to be Thankful for This Year

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

My family and I have a tradition of going around the dinner table and saying what we are thankful for. We try to do this once a week. It is a way of showing appreciation and thanks without bringing God and religion into the picture. Usually we are thankful for our food, for our family, and of course I am always saying thanks to the blessing of having children.

For this Thanksgiving I wish that all 163 employees of Brooklyn Industries could sit around our metaphoric table and say what we are thankful for. I cannot speak for others, but what I am most thankful for is the continuing support of our customer. This might sound like marketing speak, but we are in the service business so of course we serve our customer. Throughout the recession, our customers have come back, and they have continued to shop, talk to us, and share their opinions. They have purchased new styles; they stop by our windows; they tell us what they think. In short, our customers help us exist every day and in turn help us form a community in which we share our ideas.

I have been reading the Omnivore’s Dilemma recently and thinking about localism, sustainability and how we can apply some of the ideas from the food movement to clothing. This is starting to happen. The Sunny Side Bag and the Penumbra Tote are the first bags we have made in Brooklyn in many years and customers love it. We see the sales one week and we make it the next week. However, localism is not just about manufacturing. It is also about where and how we all consume. By shopping at Brooklyn Industries, our customers are supporting our 163 people working in our neighborhoods, plus helping them pay rent, buy coffee, go to movies, support families. In turn our company can then pay health care premiums, do non-profit work, pay lots of rent (too much) and mostly (this is the biggest part of our budget) pay salaries. By purchasing locally, customers are in turn supporting themselves and the micro-economies that we all live in.

The last three years as an entrepreneur have been very hard, perhaps even harder for me than living in a factory. My goal throughout has been to keep us going, to keep us relevant, and to keep our wonderful products flowing through our stores to give support and purpose to our community. And ultimately, it is our customers we thank for making all of this happen.

Thank you Brooklyn Industries customer. We appreciate your dedication and purchases. Have a great Thanksgiving.


Meet our Staff: Tom

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Name: Tom Long

Current occupation at BKI: Outlet Store Manager

Hometown: Tacoma, WA

Now living in: Kensington, Brooklyn

On my iPod right now: I’ve been listening to a lot of Macklemore, Eyedea & Abilities, War Hungry, and Trapped Under Ice.

Favorite book: Choke or Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. Read those books…if they don’t absolutely disgust you, you’ll love them.

Best burger in Brooklyn: Peter Luger. Get the Luger Burger, with bacon and cheese medium rare. Combine that with thick steak fries and you will get the itis for sure.

Favorite BKI item (new or old): My all-time favorite BKI tee is the Tape Grenade. It’s a green shirt with an asymmetrical print of a white grenade with black cassette tapes inside. It was a great design, and I bought two of them.

How I Live, Work, Create: For the past few years, I’ve been running my own clothing company as a side project to being in management at Brooklyn Industries. Electric Sex Clothing LLC is an independent clothing company/internet store that I started with a friend, Brian Raquipiso, while I was living in Seattle, WA. I decided to move to Brooklyn, and took on the role of running the clothing company myself. With the help of some freelance graphic designers, I started with printing graphic tees out of my apartment. Working my way up the management chain to Store Manager, I could finally generate enough money to pay screen printers to do the job for me. This freed up more time to focus on creating better designs, branding, and growing the business. It’s a lot of hard work to run a business on your own with no investors, and no partners – all while holding down a management job at Brooklyn Industries. It’s something I really enjoy doing and wouldn’t want it any other way. With hard work and sacrifice I’ve learned to live by the motto I adopted for the company: RISE ABOVE, STAND ALONE.

In my fridge today: Condiments. Working full time and running a company in my free time, I usually don’t have much time to cook, so I order out a lot. When you order takeout you still need plenty of condiments!

When I was 16, I was wearing: I might have had the worst fashion sense when I was 16. I was big into rollerblading back then so I usually wore a Senate tee, and the widest pair of JNCO’s you could find, with wallet chains, leopard print belt, and a ball necklace. The 90’s were a weird time for fashion.

Hand-Crafted in Brooklyn Flourishes. Introducing the Penumbra Tote and More…

Friday, November 18th, 2011

We’ve fallen so in love with everything about the Sunny Side Bag, from handpicking the materials to assembling it by hand, that we’ve become slightly addicted to making new things right here in our Brooklyn studio. This week, we’re rolling out the Spirit Clutch, which also moonlights as an iPad case, the Luster Pouch and the Penumbra Tote. The newer products maintain many of the Sunny Side’s appealing features, including the lush leather, contrast pop stitching and neon straps. The Penumbra Tote is a more subdued variation, consisting of darker, heavier leather and black straps for those who like a little more subtlety in their style. Each piece is limited edition and handcrafted here in our Brooklyn studio. If you’re looking to gift something unique, or to add a shot of color to your winter attire, grab these handcrafted products in stores or online here.

A Young Designer Pays Tribute to an Icon

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Ever wonder what it’s like to grow up around a design studio? For Aslan, age 11, being around the Brooklyn Industries factory and studio has instilled a precocious recognition of the beauty of art and design. Even at an early age, Aslan was an admirer of Steve Jobs’ products and aesthetic. This T-shirt is the young designer’s tribute to Jobs and his contributions. After some initial sketches, the design was simply scrawled on the studio door, then photographed in honor of the minimalist style championed by Jobs.

Ten percent of the proceeds from sales of this shirt will be donated to CFY, a nonprofit that uses digital learning to help low-income children in NYC do better in school.

We Spy Cords Around the Office

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Aaron from Design and Travis from Merchandising sporting corduroys.

As the temperature drops – some people just throw on sweat pants and hibernate. For the more adventurous who prefer to function through the winter – there are corduroy pants. We took took our tried and true Fade Pant fit, slimmed it down, updated it in corduroy, and added vintage-inspired, five-pocket detailing.

Nic from our photoshoot at Sleepy Hollow

Shop the Corduroy Fade Pant

BKI Visits Sleepy Hollow, and Aaron Revisits His Gothic Youth.

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

For our wintertime night shoot, the team packed up the car with lights and coffee, and headed 45 minutes north to Sleepy Hollow, the town where Washington Irving set his short story about Ichabod Crane and his tormentor, The Headless Horseman. We stumbled upon a small park by the cemetery and as soon as the sun went down, we almost couldn’t believe how beautiful the night pictures were turning out – all awash in contrast, grain, and mystique.

2011 Fjord Down Coat

Originally, the clothing line was inspired by our designers’ interest in the spooky forest in Lars Von Trier’s horror film, Antichrist. Aaron, our Women’s Designer, who recommended we shoot in Sleepy Hollow shares details from his previous trip there:

As soon as I stepped off the train, I was already sniffing out where to find the best local eats, and that place is the Sweet Grass Grill.  Their seasonal menus are created using food from nearby farms, and the meals are affordable, casual, and totally fresh. After the hearty meal, I explored the neighboring Main Street shops, where you can find a number of vintage furniture stores and art galleries.

But the best place to visit is the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. I raised my inner teenage goth from out of the grave and wandered along tombstone-lined trails with a dark and melodic soundtrack of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Cocteau Twins playing in my head. The hilly grounds are covered in strangely gnarled trees, grand stone mausoleums and marble-carved effigies that would put Liberace’s grave to shame.

Drill Press Military Sweater

Know Your Wool – Dale Breaks Down Where Sweater Fabric Comes From

Monday, November 7th, 2011

Dale, our Senior Designer breaks down her fabric preference – wool, and the different animals they come from. From Arctic fishermen to urbane fashionistas, wool is consistently favored for its greater warmth, enduring quality, and stylish appearance.  Critter illustrations courtesy of Meagan, our Graphic Designer.

Sneak Peek at our Holiday Windows

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Much like those industrious elves up north, our designers have all been pitching in to get our windows ready for the holiday season.  Over the past couple of months, we’ve been gathering used materials like plastic bottles, newspapers, old twigs, and bottle caps, and finding discarded material around Brooklyn to build an “upcycled” set for our winter forest photoshoot. The set ultimately will be transported to our store windows in time for the holidays.

Plastic bottles turn into falling snow, and their caps into deer skin.

Found carboard pipes turn into spooky forest ground covering.

Recently, we got our hands on the documentary Wasteland, about the Brazilian and Brooklyn-based, modern artist Vik Muniz, and the scavengers collecting recyclable goods from a massive 321-acre landfill near Rio de Janeiro. Working with the collectors, Muniz repurposed scavenged landfill trash into large-scale mosaic pieces and photographs.

Watching the documentary while we’ve been finishing up the set has served as great inspiration to find more ways to creatively use discarded goods. As Muniz once said, “The really magical things are the ones that happen right in front of you. A lot of the time you keep looking for beauty, but it is already there. And if you look with a bit more intention, you see it.”