Each part of New York City has its own distinct style in the cultural ethos, from stilettos in SoHo to hip hop in Harlem, there’s no doubt that Brooklyn is a prime part of New York City’s swag. Let’s face it, Brooklyn is much more than a borough, it’s a brand in itself. So it makes sense that fashion designers have caught on and incorporated their own voice in fashion. Here is a quick guide to some of the Brooklyn-born and Brooklyn-based talents creating fashion lines.
Spike Lee is probably the most quintessential Brooklynite there is, and his legacy is not only in film, but fashion design. The Crooklyn director has created his own namesake fashion brand called Spike’s Joint, which sells memorabilia, tees, caps and jackets. The online shop was founded to capture Lee’s own influence on pop culture, long before streetwear brands took cues from him. This Crooklyn t-shirt is a sure highlight.
Brooklyn-born designer Ron Dyce came to fashion from the construction world. He founded his eponymous brand in 2019. The first idea Dyce had for his namesake fashion brand was to create women’s footwear. “I came up with the idea of gold bottomed shoes,” he said. It refers to a bible scripture, Revelation 21:21, which refers to gold-gilded heaven: “The twelve gates were made of pearls—each gate from a single pearl! And the main street was pure gold, as clear as glass.”
Each pair of Ron Dyce pumps has gold-painted soles. “I wanted to use real gold, but I knew that gold-plated shoes wouldn’t suffice because they would probably be too heavy,” he said, so he calls them “24k patent soles.” Each pair of heels is painted with a type of paint that is made of 24 karat gold dust. “It is real 24 karat gold in the paint itself,” he says
The shoes are handmade in Paris and Italy and come in a variety of stylish colors, from pink pumps to leopard printed ankle boots. They’re comfortable, too. He designed the arch of each four-inch heel to have a less dramatic arch. “I still kept the four inches height and I put memory foam in the foot bed and covered it with calf skin leather, so it’s real soft as you’re walking,” said Dyce.
Sopranos actor William DeMeo is also the star and writer of the Gravesend series, set in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Gravesend in Bensonhurst, which has its second season premiering this spring. But aside from his time on set, DeMeo is also the creator of a fashion brand called the Brooklyn Brand. “I have always been pro-Brooklyn because it has an identity, unlike any other borough,” explains DeMeo.
He started the brand in 2017 with the concept being that “you don’t have to live in Brooklyn to be Brooklyn.” It started out with the logo of the Brooklyn Bridge on t-shirts, hats and sweaters. Now, it includes velour jumpsuits, Members Only jackets and sweatsuits.
“There’s a lot of pride in every borough, but looking at all the apparel that is sold based on the identity of Brooklyn is really next level,” he says.
This Brooklyn-based menswear brand is known for its sense of humor, its kitsch, campy and yet still maintains its oddly placed classiness in places we wouldn’t expect. Co-founded by Jared Vinik and Peter Sholley in Williamsburg back in 2017, the acronym stands for “forever laughing at nothing.” They bring a playful touch to designer items. They recently partnered with FILA for a pair of sneakers inspired by French toast, while their latest collection includes the Cluster Jacket, patterned in grapes and grape leaves, and of course, a bunch of hoodies.
Hubane (meaning “cozy” in Estonian) is a wild, avant-garde brand from Brooklyn that specializes in handcrafted, individual pieces. The Flatbush-born founder Israel Yanir uses a waterproof material he created called “vernum” for most items, making each item cartoonish, sculptural and otherworldly. One major highlight in Hubane’s collection is their eyewear, which adds a futuristic touch to any outfit. Their V3rnum Aura Biker Glasses look like melting racer frames fit for a music video. It’s really above and beyond your typical designer fare.
This womenswear brand is not only based in Brooklyn, but manufactured here, too. Gabrielson has a team of seamstresses who make the garments in Williamsburg, and designs essential pieces for the modern woman’s wardrobe. From the boardroom to dinner parties, maternity clothing and post-pregnancy fashion, she aims to help cater to women at every stage of her life. The sparkle dress is one favorite, while the riding jacket is another.
Theophilio is a Brooklyn-based clothing brand founded by Edvin Thompson, who wanted to create a brand that speaks to people like himself. He fuses together nostalgia from Jamaica, which is where he spent his youth, with his experience living in New York City. Stars like Dominique Jackson have worn his looks, so has supermodel Joan Smalls. His latest collection for women is all about crochet dresses, leather skirts and mohair pieces. For men, this new season features metallic pants and an unforgettable alpaca vest.
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