The Ins-And-Outs Of New York City With Our Boutiques And Designers

There is no arguing that New York City is a magical, fast-paced, concrete zoo filled with bustling creatives in every realm possible. It’s the city that never sleeps and, as any denizen or tourist can attest, has hundreds of unspoken rules that you best know before coming (like don’t make eye contact on the subway, never take a selfie at a museum, and always move out of the middle of the sidewalk if you are a slow walker). It is also home to many of our close friends, the emerging designers and indie boutique owners that live the city day in and day out; the people we turn to for the inside scoop on how to survive manic, hectic, addictive, draining New York City.

To kick off New York Fashion Week, possibly one of the craziest times to be in the city, we wanted to reveal the best of the Big Apple from our New Yorkers. Scroll on for tips on where to escape the madness, wisdom on how to de-stress, and where to get the best cup of joe.

 

WHERE IN NEW YORK CITY DO YOU FEEL MOST PRODUCTIVE?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

New York can be an extremely productive city, and on the other hand extremely playful city,” says Ivan Gilkes, co-owner of In Support Of, a boutique and showroom in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. “The trick comes to knowing when to turn it off, and when to turn it on,” he explains.

Szeki Chan of 7115 by Szeki says her studio is her most productive place. “Quiet, peaceful, and no distractions,” she explains. Assembly’s Greg Armas agrees, saying his Chinatown studio is where he gets in the zone. “It’s nice to be surrounded by the city but slightly isolated,” he says. For designer Nikki Chasin it’s her studio in Chelsea.

But for others, being on the on go is what sparks productivity. Anna Pang, the designer behind womenswear line Index Series, says her brain is best “on the train! I tend to have sudden revelations of what my inspiration, concept, ideas are for collections.” Katie Goldman Macdonald, designer of House Dress, bounces off the energy of the Garment District. “It’s where everything happens. I run back and forth between my factories, button, and fabric stores — as well as coffee shops — and end up feeling pretty satisfied (and exhausted) by the end of the day.”

 

HOW MANY COFFEES/TEAS/LIQUIDS DO YOU DRINK A DAY? WHERE’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT?

Image by Hannah Schneider

At least two,” admits Mandy Kordal, designer of knitwear label Kordal. “I need coffee to start my day, and then around 4pm I either make another batch of coffee or tea,” Luis Morales, co-founder and creative director of The Ensign, is also dedicated to that AM caffeine fix. “I try to limit myself to one coffee a day, but it’s a mandatory request for each morning.” He likes to stop at Café Integral (above) for his one a day. Greg heads to Doughnut Plant. “Creature of habit, I have one Americano every morning… and a doughnut.”

Stacia Canyon, owner and buyer of boutique Canon NYC, which is located on Sullivan Street in Soho has her liquid day mapped out to a T. “One to two coffees a day from Cafe Regular in Brooklyn or Colombe on Prince Street in SoHo, then one matcha latte from Banter on Sullivan Street in Manhattan, and finally one juice from the Juice Press in Manhattan.”

Image by Matt Johnson

Szeki opts for, “just one, two tops!” She goes to, “Caffe Vita if I’m close to our LES location, Ninth Street Espresso if I’m at the studio in the East Village, and Sweatshop (above) if I’m at the Williamsburg location.” While on the other hand Katie’s average is, “five coffees a day.I love Madman Espresso on 35th, Grumpys on 37th and Culture on 36th in the Garment District. Sometimes if I’m feeling too caffeinated, I’ll sneak in an herbal iced tea or kombucha.”

As for the non-coffee drinkers: “I drink fresh juice in the morning from Kabila across the street from my studio then I drink water throughout the rest of the day. I don’t really drink coffee unless I’m trying to stay up really late or pull an all nighter to work,” explains Dominic Sondag, the designer behind menswear line S.K. Manor Hill.

Adeniyi Okuboyejo, the designer of Post-Imperial, also prefers a fruity option. “I usually get smoothies from the bodega around the corner of my apartment.”

 

WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET FRESH AIR?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

Escaping the concrete craziness is essential. “I love to go to Jefferson Park for fresh air. It’s a beautiful garden on the grounds of what used to be an infamous women’s prison, a hidden jewel. I’m also often at Washington Square dog park,” says Kelly Colasanti, owner of Fairlight, a beautiful boutique located in the West Village of Manhattan.

The ladies of Duo NYC, Wendy and LaRae Kangas, love to go for, “ a run along the East River. It’s breezy and great for people watching. But for a dose of real fresh air we take a road trip upstate to Woodstock or Hudson.”

“The parks in NYC are the best,” proclaims Ivan. “I have a top four depending on my mood: Grand Ferry Park is a super cute and tiny inlet park in Williamsburg with great views of Manhattan above the Williamsburg Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 has an equally fantastic view of downtown Manhattan and a great lawn for sipping wine with friends. Prospect Park, which in my opinion is better than Central Park, is the best park for activities all year round. It’s great for a picnic and party during the summer and in the winter if it snows you can sled on the Long Meadow there. Last the High Line is a super fun park for people watching and at the end of it you can finish your visit to the park with a trip to the Whitney.”

But sometimes no nature is needed at all. “When I’m at work I’ll step outside the studio to the street on 39th and if I’m at my house I’ll sit on the stoop,” expresses Dominic.

 

DURING FASHION WEEK, HOW DO YOU GET PUMPED UP? AND THEN, HOW DO YOU DE-STRESS?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“The buzz of the shows and the anticipation of the collections generally gets me excited,” explains Luis. Ivan has a similar reaction. “Fashion Week can be an extremely fast paced time during the year. Getting pumped up for it doesn’t take that much though. If there is a brand that I’m really pumped to see I feel the excitement come naturally.” His trick once he feels overwhelmed? “I like to return to my home and watch some TV and tune out of fashion completely. This coming fashion week fall shows will be back I’m sure I’ll be watching How to Get Away with Murder and hopefully Scandal.”

For designers, things can be a little different. “I get pumped up when I have all of my samples ready to shoot,” says Nikki. Katie explains how she’s, “just naturally high on adrenaline (and coffee) for a week straight during Fashion Week.” So undoubtingly needs, “to lie comatose for a few days and drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the tub.”

Getting pumped for Anna starts with, “an early rest and a somewhat substantial breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast and an apple).” To de-stress, she likes to, “light a candle, lie in bed and put on a cool face mask for 30 minutes. I never feel like I have time to actually do this so when I do it feels extra amazing.”

Sometimes after that crazy week, it takes an actual escape. “For de-stress, I usually leave for a bit after Fashion Week, it can be intense,” admits Greg.

 

ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10 HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE NEW YORK CITY?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“My love for NYC is a rollercoaster. I’m from Northern California and that’s a hard place to beat, but I’ve lived here for 6 years and I love it a little more every year. Hot sweaty days where I’m carrying 50 lbs of fabric in the Garment District I rate a four, but when I get home and see the trees of Inwood park out my window, my love surges to a ten,” says Katie. Luis has the same teetering feelings. It’s about a two from January-March, a four in March-April, a solid ten from May-July, back down to one in August, and about an eight from September through December. We have a love/hate relationship, but we somehow make it work.”

For others, their love for the city is undeniable. “Ten. After living almost fifteen years in this city, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. New York has the absolute best of it all,” asserts Ivan. Wendy and LaRae agree, “Eight to ten depending on the day but there’s no place quite like NYC, we’ve got it all here.”

“Ten for sure! I love NYC so much!” professes Kelly.

Both Nikki and Adeniyi went for eleven. “To be honest, I am not sure there is any better city in the world than New York. It keeps me on my toes. It constantly kicks me in the ass to remind me that even with all my accomplishments so far, there is still tons of work that needs to be done,” Adeniyi admits.

“It’s required to 100% love New York City to live here,” states Greg.

Lead and featured image by Michael Cobarrubia

5 fashion pros you NEED to follow this New York Fashion Week

Let’s be honest: New York Fashion Week is fun. The city is flooded with the world’s most stylish, you get a glimpse at the most amazing fashion that’s never been seen before and it’s a constant stream of parties and the coolest, most creative presentations. But behind the scenes, there’s long nights, late hours and a whole lot of Uber getting you from downtown to uptown and back again. Designers are currently pulling all-nighters to get their collection runway ready and the writers behind the reviews you get to read each morning file their stories after the last party ends at 12am. And we love them for every minute. We asked five fashion pros how they keep their heads sharp and their #OOTD on point come NYFW.

MARI GIUDICELLI – SHOE DESIGNER, MODEL, MUSE

Mari Giudicelli

HOW ARE YOU GETTING READY FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK? After my apartment burned down, I’ve been trying to prioritize things in life. Work is always important but I’m also taking time to myself and to be with the ones I love. But other than that, I’m hydrating my face and feet a lot. I’m also buying film for my camera. I usually shoot some backstage images. Having an organized calendar is also very important.

WHAT ARE YOUR NYFW SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS? Lip balm, tons of it, and hand cream. It’s so cold and dry in NYC, plus all the makeup applications and removals make my skin very dry. A Mophie and charger for my phone, can’t live without it! I also got a new book, for the waiting hours.

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR? I’ll wear my usual clothing. Vintage converse and denim, turtleneck cashmere sweaters and a fluffy warm coat.

Follow her at @marigiudicelli.

 

ALYSSA COSCARELLI – FASHION MARKET WRITER AT REFINERY29

Alyssa Coscarelli from Refinery29

HOW ARE YOU GETTING READY FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK? To be honest, I don’t go to fancy spas or go on shopping sprees or anything crazy leading up to fashion week! I just try to plan ahead so that my work is manageable during that crazy time, but other than that, it’s always just a whirlwind and you never really know what to expect. Obviously getting good sleep is something I try to do all year round, but you could say that’s especially important leading up to fashion week. Oh, and doing my laundry.

WHAT ARE YOUR NYFW SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS? Band-Aids, water, my iPhone and my Mophie case for backup battery on those super long days.

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR? For me during fashion week it’s all about having fun with my wardrobe and wearing things I know not everyone else will have. I’m definitely not above shopping at Zara or wearing jeans and a sweater every single day, but during fashion week I like to break out those special vintage finds or splurge items so that I can look and feel my best and feel unique in a sea of stylish folks.

Follow her at @alyssainthecity.

 

WHITNEY POZGAY – CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF WHIT

Whitney Pozgay designer of Whit

HOW ARE YOU GETTING READY FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK? I’ll be in the factory and at fittings in the sample room around the clock. I’ll try to squeeze in some exercise if I can to help manage stress levels. I can sleep after market.

WHAT ARE YOUR NYFW SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS? Lots of water and peppy music.

whit spring/summer 2016

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR? WHIT of course. In this weather I am all about layering. I’ll probably be wearing a our spring denim items, but over a turtleneck.

Follow @whit_ny.

 

LESLIE KIRCHHOFF – DJ AND PHOTOGRAPHER

leslie kirchoff personal style photograph

HOW ARE YOU GETTING READY FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK? This year I’ve totally swamped my schedule with a lot of work and a lot of travel. I’m going to Miami and then Puerto Rico, both for a bit of vacation and a bit of work. Shoots and gigs sandwiched in between. And then when I get back it’s straight into fashion week!

WHAT ARE YOUR NYFW SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS? Energy drinks, extra camera batteries, and german apple mint cough drops (which are basically candy).

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR? I like to keep it pretty casual when I’m not DJing — I just got some Lanvin leather sneakers that I’ll probably wear quite a bit. Wide leg pants and sweaters are also feeling very tempting at the moment, I just have to find the perfect ones! As always, I’ve left everything for the last minute.

Follow her at @lesliekirch.

 

HILLARY TAYMOUR – CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF COLLINA STRADA

designer collina strada

HOW ARE YOU GETTING READY FOR NEW YORK FASHION WEEK? I just got back from a ten day trip to the Dominican Republic. It was great I needed sometime to really detox and cleanse the hectic energy around me. I regrouped and now hitting the ground running. Hours are long from here on out. Typically working every weekend until the show.

WHAT ARE YOUR NYFW SURVIVAL ESSENTIALS? Macrobars. My favorite meal on the run. Lots of Vitamin C and dry shampoo, haha.

WHAT WILL YOU WEAR? Something black in the collection. I like to keep it super basic and minimal. It’s not about me, it’s about the collection. People should be viewing the clothes on display, not the clothes I’m wearing.

Follow @collinastrada.

Lead image above backstage at Collina Strada Spring/Summer 2016 presentation.

Shop pre-Spring and past season amazingness from 35+ of our fave NYFW designers right here.

Our favorite moments from New York Fashion Week SS16

Fashion week in New York City, for all the recent debate about how it’s becoming purely about entertainment and content, was pretty effin’ entertaining. And fashion should be fun, right? Not only did we get to preview some amazing collections for Spring/Summer 2016 (we’ll break down the trends you can expect to see on Garmentory after the fashion pack heads to London, Milan and Paris), but we caught up with some lovely pals, had some great visits with our favorite designers, ate our way through the city, and spotted a few style stars along the way.

Here’s a quick recap of our fave moments at NYFW.

Meet the Designer: Nikki Chasin

The first time we met Nikki Chasin was at a tradeshow in New York City. Her collection’s bold prints, structured sheen and offbeat textures, stopped us in our tracks and we had to know more. Nikki was born in Miami, graduated from Parsons School of Design in 2012 and, rather than following in her classmate’s footsteps into the studios of already established labels, she forged her own path and started her own. The success of her graduate collection spurred her on to create her own namesake label combining classic sportswear, playful textiles and thoughtful details. Just over a year in and she made it into the Racked Young Guns Class of 2014 — a major coup for rising design stars. The best thing about story is that she also happens to be a pretty rad human.

Shop Nikki Chasin >

Behind the scenes in New York with Timo Weiland

“It was full on,” Timo Weiland says, surveying the state of his Flatiron District studio following New York Fashion Week. “We did two shows in 20 hours or less. We had one show at 5pm and then the next one was at 9am. Maneuvering that schedule was really challenging but we made it work and it was great. Definitely the best response we’ve had to date.” He has just showed the Fall/Winter 2015 collections for men and women for his namesake brand which he runs alongside partners Donna Kang and Alan Eckstein, but the studio shows no signs of slowing down.

“I thought the short one was so much cuter,” Donna says as they discuss exclusives for one of their retailers. “It’s younger.”

Timo agrees. “In the black and navy brocade. That fabric’s doing really well. We’re going to have to order more of that.”

Alongside rave reviews from editors and bloggers for their runway shows (“The Timo Weiland design trio has a way of making looser silhouettes and layers seem alluring, and inviting to the girl who doesn’t try (or wants to look like she doesn’t),” writes Style.com.), they’ve gained a following in Hollywood for their cool, laid back aesthetic in a few short years. Anne Hathaway, Tina Fey and Kerry Washington are some of the latest actresses to wear Timo on the red carpet. They also work with stars like Kanye and Pharrell Williams and you’ll spot a few pieces in their music videos. Timo is characteristically sweet and down to earth about it all. “It’s nice having them wear our stuff. It’s cool.” We love a line even more when the sought-after designer is also the nicest human.

We quizzed him on just about everything during our studio visit in New York City, so here are a few things you should know about Timo.

Our 5 favorite trends from fashion week Spring 2015

From front row cameos to backstage beauties, we love everything about fashion month. Twice a year the runways are rolled out for a new season and Spring/Summer 2015 might just be our favorite yet. As Paris Fashion Week winds down, we’ve rounded up our favorite trends for SS15.

1. ALL WHITE EVERYTHING
Keep that Tide pen in your bag. The monochromatic look with shades of white from head to toe just keeps on trending. Pretty much every designer put their own spin on it, from Haider Ackermann to Alexander Wang.

2. GET WAISTED
Whether it was a sliver of skin or a cinched belt, SS15 put a huge emphasis on a nipped-in waist. Kimono belts, like the ones loosely tied at Marni in Milan, are by far our favorite way to wear the trend.

3. GO FOR THE CROP
We were pretty excited when the reign of the skinny jean began to fall this year and the newest pant silhouette has us even more excited. Wear yours a little wider (think A-line) and cropped slightly above the ankle. Rachel Comey nailed this one at New York Fashion Week.

4. NEW LENGTHS
Hemlines just keep falling and this season long skirts and dresses were everywhere. On the street they were paired with classic sneakers and statement flats. Street style stars like Ada Kokosar were loving Adidas Stan Smiths especially. We predict a comeback.

5. FREE THE NIPPLE
The equality campaign has definitely made an impact on the runways as designers across the board showed sheer tops and chest-baring necklines. The key takeaway whether you’re covered up or not: leave your bra at home.

Images via Style.com and Vogue.com