Photo: COA

Neighborhood: Lower East Side
Type of Place: Women's Clothing

My friend Jen and I were walking along Clinton Street when we saw a silkscreen print, conveying a few choice words, hanging on a shop's wall. What it said is not printable in a family-friendly venue, but it was intriguing enough to draw us inside.

There we found other similar prints and discovered that they make up a brand-new in-shop exhibit, for which there's an opening party on Tuesday night (contact the shop for details). The exhibit, by local artist Seasick Mama, is called "Don't Become the Things You Hate" and represents the answers she received from friends about how they're weathering the recession. The catch: Their answers could be only 6 words long. But they each managed to pack a lot of zing into their six words, and Jen and I got a kick out of the art before turning to the clothes.

There's a mix of new and consignment items here, but everything has a hip-hop slant. I loved the windbreakers from Moneysevenfifty ($150 for a metallic-gold model and $175 for silver, both with 18K gold-plate zippers!); the funky sneakers, from $150 or so (Jen pointed out a great pair in paisley with turquoise suede); the graffiti-based t-shirts (from $30); clutches from Dolce and Gabana ($200 each, in gold, beige, and white patent—some of the items here are unisex, but women's merch is represented mainly in accessories and footwear); and the great hats from Milk Crate, starting at $25 and designed by local designer/DJ Aaron LaCrate, also DJ, in orange, neon yellow, and other look-at-me shades;

Jen and I played "Name That Rapper" with t-shirts from Twon ($30), a Lower East Side–based designer. He picked a rapper from each of the five boroughs and honored him (only guys, this time around) with a portrait of his and the name of the borough of his youth: Big Al (from Manhattan), Big Pun (from the Bronx), Ole Dirty Bastard (from Staten Island, Biggie Smalls (from Brooklyn), and Naz (from Queens).

There's a lot to love here for hip-hop fans, dedicated New Yorkers, those who want to support local designers, and those who simply want something distinctive and non-chain-related. In addition, keep this place in mind for the friends and relations on your holiday list who fit any of those bills. Your 14-year-old nephew, for example, might just find that one of these t-shirts or hats is the critical item his wardrobe has been missing—and you'll be the wonderful aunt or uncle who gave it to him.
  - Pamela Grossman; Nov 16, 2009

43 Clinton St
(at Rivington)
New York, NY 10002
(212) 673-7060