Type of Place: Women's Clothing Jewelry
"Made in New York" sounds better than ever in the current economy. We have no lack of gifted artists and crafts people here; and they need and deserve our support. Besides, clothes and accessories created in small studios right here that aren't available in every chain store across the land will always have distinct appeal. And so I was happy to visit Designers' Collective, which features the work of local artisans.- Pamela Grossman
The cozy shop has a ton of great stuff on the counters, racks, and walls. I loved (and coveted) brightly colored crinoline tutus (made in Harlem and on sale now for $28); chunky statement necklaces made from large silver beads and pendants ($38, from local design line Etenity); an asymetrical blouse ($38) in brown with black polka dots from Mari J Brooklyn; hand-dyed silk bracelets with silk flowers from Tarmet ($35); and, on the very intriguing $10 rack, a pale pink skirt with beige scallops down the front. (With a simple top in ivory, tan, or pale grey and heels in similar light neutrals, this will make an elegant and expensive-looking inexpensive outfit!)
As I looked around, designer Carmen Webber was setting up for her Sistahs of Harlem trunk show later in the day (http://www.sistahofharlem.com/), and I admired her work; these particular pieces were whimsical matchings of menswear styles and feminine flourishes. "I want to honor and uplift women with my work," Webber explained, "and I use fashion as one of the platforms." Her designs start at about $50 and are manufactured exclusively in Manhattan and Brooklyn. Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Avril Lavigne, and Eve have been clients, and it's not hard to see why Sistahs fans would gravitate toward the clothing's craftsmanship and fresh, empowering point of view.
I left Designers' Collective with a big wish list and a big desire for more and more such shops. This is a great time to support local talent...and to look fabulous doing so.