Archive for July, 2012

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.

Inspiring Summer 2013

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Last week, we loaded up our bikes on the A train and headed out to Ft. Tilden/Jacob Riis/Breezy Point on Rockaway to get inspiration for our clothing and bags line for summer of 2013. The day was unusually cold and wet for a summer’s day, but the cool aqua blues, grays, and brown were quite remarkable in their own right. The weather plus a completely uninhabited July beach gave us plenty of space and freedom to examine shells, driftwood, makeshift encampments, and even machine gun bunkers. And Rockaway Taco – definitely had to stop for fish tacos.

Scenes from 1 Boerum Place, Brooklyn, NY

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The 2012 T-Shirt Design Competition Honorable Mentions

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

view the slideshow here.

Fall Campaign Sneak Peek

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

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

Children of Promise

Tuesday, July 10th, 2012

With the U.S. having the highest rate of incarceration in the world, it’s common for the focus to be on those in prison, but too often, society forgets about the children that they leave behind. When someone is arrested, the police never ask the questions, “How many children do you have?” or “Who’s going to pick up your children?” and the justice system neither has the resources nor interest in the upbringing or mental health of the children left behind. While working at a traditional after school program, Sharon Content started noticing an alarming number of kids with parents in jail – and a lack of a referral service that addressed that particular population. So in 2009, Content founded Children of Promise, a non-profit designed specifically for children of incarcerated parents. Located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, a neighborhood with one of the highest rates of incarceration in the city, Children of Promise is not only an after school program, but is also a licensed mental heath clinic that infuses mental health in all aspects of the program.

Walking around the facilities one early evening on a Friday, every room was buzzing with activity, from art classes to computer classes to homework tutoring to  to nutrition courses. In each room, the children were incredibly polite and clearly appreciative of the opportunity provided to them. And while they weren’t as forthcoming with us about their mental well being, letters posted in the hallway addressed to their parents in jail were sad, honest, and at times devastating reminders of the trauma these kids were experiencing. Content explained to us, “We’re able to really get to the root of the problem for so many of our young people, because we can be the best SAT prep, or the best basketball or chess program, but unless we start to understand why Johnny has this anger, this depression, this loss from the inside, we can’t really make a difference and save Johnny’s life and really break that cycle of involvement in the criminal justice system.”

Mental health is not always part of the healing process and parents or guardians almost never seek the services of psychiatrists. Content added, “They appreciate someone to talk to, look them in the eye, not judge them, not be angry, and ask them ‘How was your day?’ Also through therapeutic art, theater, and spoken word, we allow young people to express themselves with peers in a non-judgmental environment.” Content shared a story of one child who confided with her that his dad was in jail, to which she responded, “Everybody here has a parent in jail!”

As with all non-profits, a major obstacle is funding. Through the tough economic times, contracts have been cut and Congress didn’t renew the grant for the program. To find out how to help, visit www.cpnyc.org. Additionally, on Thursday, July 19th, Brooklyn Industries in SoHo will be hosting a shopping event where a portion of the proceeds from sale will go towards the Children of Promise. Come join us for drinks, snacks, shopping, and a chance to help an amazing organization, and the future of many young, promising children.

Meet the Staff: Nikki

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Name: Nikki Cohen

Current occupation at BKI: Assistant Men’s Designer

Hometown: Sydney, Australia

Now living in: Williamsburg, BK

Favorite BKI item: The men’s Adventurist Hooded Jacket! Although it’s designed for men, this is what I will be wearing this year.

How I Live, Work, Create: By being able to design men’s clothes for my career, I am able to make a living doing what I am inspired by. I’ve always been drawn to men’s fashion, and my job at BKI allows all my influences and research to manifest itself into the things I create. For me, design and creativity is a way of life… I am interested in and inspired by the same things when I am at work as when I am at home. Whilst some people may prefer to “switch off” outside of work, I really appreciate being able to constantly think creatively, knowing that I have the possibility of actually making ideas that pop into my head a reality.

Currently obsessed with: This changes daily. Today I am obsessed with my shiny new mechanical pencil, I love the way it makes my handwriting look.

Favorite place to eat: No surprises here, I make a point of eating at Five Leaves at least once a weekend. No wait time is ever too long for me.

I get my coffee at: Toby’s Estate, my favorite coffee shop in Sydney that recently opened a Brooklyn location down the road from my apartment! I am so lucky – the coffee here is perfect, as are the Aussie-inspired snacks they serve.

Secret NYC spot: It’s not really a secret, but I love sitting in the courtyard of Saturdays Surf NYC in Soho. It’s a peaceful oasis where you can temporarily escape the madness that is downtown Manhattan.

When I was 16, I was wearing: An outfit I clearly remember was a delightful pair of blue spandex pants with clear plastic strips down the side and a super tight one-shouldered top, Sketcher’s “bubble shoes” and probably way too much eyeliner.  I also had a black Lycra dress with metallic dots that was suspended from a necklace… you asked.

Favorite book: I’m going to change this question to ‘favorite author’ – I love reading anything by Jodi Picoult.

Favorite word: Amazing. I use this too frequently, and I’ve refrained from using it in these questions just so I can use it here.

On my iPod right now: Jamie XX, Metronomy, Junior Boys, Grimes, Whitest Boy Alive.

Favorite Blog: I have so many favourites, but a few I look at for inspiration on a daily basis are: howtotalktogirlsatparties.tumblr.com, secretforts.com, backyardbill.com, isaaclikes.com.

Photography Follows Form: Charlie Engman

Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012

We’ve been fascinated by the work of “photographer” Charlie Engman lately, and we put the word in quotes because the line between photographer, painter, and sculpture is pretty thin – and strange…

For the Domestic Diorama series above, Engman’s paintbrush is the human body. The series below looks like what would’ve happened if Egon Schiele and Josef Albers had a love chld.