Street fashion: Mood Fabrics

Designers and fashion students get down to business at this textile wonderland.

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  • Photograph: Alex Strada

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    Ronnie Batista, 21, visual merchandiser at the Gap, Inwood
    Batista's eclectic style goes hand in hand with her job. As part of the visuals team for the Gap, she has a lot of experience with putting together an outfit.

  • Photograph: Alex Strada

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    Today, most of what Batista wears is from H&M (hm.com), including her leather jacket and scarf.

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    Her job allows her to be "crazy if I want to," fashionwise. That accounts for her bright, floral-printed pants, also from H&M, and a butterfly ring from American Eagle (ae.com).

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    Batista wears boots by Steve Madden (stevemadden.com) and totes a carryall by Roxy (roxy.com).

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    Jeff That, 38, owner--creative director of Ksino, Lower East Side
    The creative mind behind Ksino, That describes his company as a clothing line geared toward "young men to men, cause I'm not that young. It's for the graduate of Abercrombie who can't really afford Diesel," he says. "That's the easiest way to explain it." Accordingly, his shirt is from the brand (ksino.com).

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    "My jeans are, well... Let's just say they're Nudies [nudiejeans.com]," he laughs. "Those are the jeans I usually wear, I just happen to be wearing these today, and I don't want to tell you what they are." We promised not to photograph his back pockets and give it away.

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    The Lower East Side resident wears a shawl-collar sweater by Shades of Grey, and toughens up his look with a nylon jacket from H&M (hm.com). "I like a less dramatic LES style," he says. "I like that style but I'm older and I'm more conservative. Capezios and tight jeans.... It looks cool on some of these guys. This is, like, a tamer version of that I think." His pageboy cap is by his brand, Ksino.

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    His limited-edition Nike kicks (nike.com) add a touch of streetwear cool.

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    Elizabeth Gordon, 19, fashion design student at Parsons, East Village
    Mood attracts its fair share of students, but Gordon's design concentration separates her from the bunch. "I think I want to do bridal and evening wear," she muses. "I've always liked it and I like to sew gowns more than everyday clothes." Her earliest experience constructing a dress? "I did the summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design, and I made a gown out of toilet paper." Today, the budding designer goes casual in a tee from Express (express.com) and pants from Urban Outfitters (urbanoutfitters.com).

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    Now that the temperature has dropped again, she layers up with not one but two jackets. The first is an oversize bomber by Laundry by Shelli Segal (laundrybyshellisegal.com), which she purchased from a boutique in Boston. Her leather jacket underneath is from Forever 21 (forever21.com).

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    Gordon picked up her lime green clutch from Nordstrom Rack (60 E 14th St between Broadway and Fourth Ave; 212-220-2080, nordstromrack.com).

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    Her Steve Madden (stevemadden.com) boots keep the look simple, though the designer-in-training spruces up every once in a while. "I do like to get dressed up sometimes," she says. "I shop for a life that I don't really have."

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    Todd Kelly, 49; sales associate at Mood Fabrics; Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn
    Kelly picks up fashion tips from his customers. "Mood is actually like a school for me," he explains. "Most of the clients that come in here buy for high-end stores." The list of regulars sounds pretty inspiring: "I've met Puffy here, Tommy Hilfiger," he says. "Marc Jacobs comes through on the regular."

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    "It's like, when you see Catherine Malandrino, who's one of my clients, and you walk by the windows of Bergdorf Goodman, you see all of our stuff [from Mood]," Kelly says. "It's like seeing fashion at the forefront." His hat is from Topman (478 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-966-9555, topshop.com), and he wears an Old Navy button-down (oldnavy.com) over an Urban Outfitters tee (urbanoutfitters.com).

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    Kelly sports a solid pair of khakis that he picked up from Macy's (macys.com) with some Sperry boat shoes (sperrytopsider.com). And we couldn't help it---at some point, we had to ask an employee about Project Runway. "We all love Tim Gunn," says Kelly sincerely.

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    Casey Meyen, 28; assistant designer at Aimee G; Fort Greene, Brooklyn
    Though Meyen's been a New Yorker for several years, she grew up in Australia, and her accent is just as endearing as her red coat. "I got it a couple years ago from Urban Outfitters" (urbanoutfitters.com), she remembers. "It's very warm."

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    "I feel like people are more willing to take risks in New York, like wear crazy-high platforms," she says of the style differences between her adopted home and her native one. "It depends on the city that you live in in Australia," she says. "In Melbourne and Sydney, hipster style is at least pretty similar [to New York]. Probably because of the Internet, everything is kind of the same everywhere nowadays." Meyen bundles up in a hat, also from Urban Outfitters, and a scarf from her "mum."

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    She keeps it simple with a pair of "comfy" distressed Levi's (levis.com).

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    Meyen's sister gave her these quaint knit mittens.

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    Black converse sneakers (converse.com) allow her to easily maneuver around the giant fabric store.

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    Angela Woo, 31, shoe designer for Frye Boots, Upper West Side
    Woo was running some work-related errands when we bumped into her at Mood. "I'm shopping for prints for work, so I'm just looking for anything that pops out," she says. "I'm not really tied down to a fabric." Today's work outfit includes a camel coat from Zara (zara.com), a basic pair of J Brand jeans (jbrandjeans.com) and a sweater from "either J Crew [jcrew.com] or Banana Republic [bananarepublic.com]."

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    She picked up her equestrian-themed scarf at London's Spitalfields Market. Woo admits that designers have quite a bit of flexibility with their work attire. "As long as you're not wearing tank tops and things like that," she adds.

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    Her leather satchel is by Mulberry (mulberry.com).

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    Woo's geometric wooden ring was a score from a street vendor in Soho.

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    Her riding boots are by Frye, naturally (thefryecompany.com).

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    Kwabena Collins, 33; aspiring actor and sales associate at Mood Fabrics; Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
    Collins took a quick break from his shift at Mood to chat about his outfit, but he wasn't eager to part with his coffee. "No way, I need to finish my coffee," he jokes. His jeans and tee are both from Uniqulo (uniqlo.com), and his sweater was a gift from his girlfriend, from "some shop in Nolita that's gone now."

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    The aspiring actor wears two vintage pieces, passed down from his grandfather: a dapper fedora...

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    ...and a family-heirloom necklace.

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    We were impressed to hear that his Swiss Army watch (swissarmy.com) has lasted for more than 15 years. "I'm impressed too," he says. "I didn't plan on that one."

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    On his feet all day, Collins keeps it comfortable with a pair of Puma sneakers (puma.com).

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    Zainab Mahmud, 24, assistant to the head designer of the Sway, Financial District
    When we caught up with her, Mahmud was running errands at Mood for handbag company the Sway, which uses leftover leathers from Pakistan. She pairs two coats for extra warmth. Her outer toggle coat is by Burberry (burberry.com), and the black wrap coat underneath is from a store in Pakistan.

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    Her Topshop hat (478 Broadway between Broome and Grand Sts; 212-966-9555, topshop.com) adds some extra detail up top, while her Free People flannel (freepeople.com) spices up the look with a splash of magenta.

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    Mahmud stays covered up with a long, cream-colored skirt from American Apparel (americanapparel.net), and a pair of boots that she bought at Bloomingdale's (various locations; visit bloomingdales.com).

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    Destiny Brundidge, 21; fashion designer student at Parsons; Harlem
    Brundidge's style is based around student life: "Today I felt a little funkier, but usually I just try to be comfortable because I'm in school for six-plus hours a day---I don't want to be wearing heels."

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    She's a fan of thrift stores, but doesn't skimp on the brands: Her jacket is by Calvin Klein (calvinklein.com), purchased at a thrift store in Queens, and her bag is vintage Nicole Miller (nicolemiller.com).

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    Originally from Washington, D.C., Brundidge knows she doesn't have to go far from home to find interesting jewelry. "My rings are from flea markets in Adams Morgan," she says. "It's a more eclectic area of D.C."

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    "[When I dress], I think about comfort, American fashion, and I also like to think about the '60s and '70s," Brundidge says. These short, stacked heels were originally gold, but the design student changed all that with some acrylic paint.

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    Sarah Pai, 21, fashion design student at Parsons, Chelsea
    Surprisingly, Pai was one of the only people we found wearing an all-black uniform, a New York staple. Her T-shirt is from Forever 21 (forever21.com) and her sweater is from Express (express.com), while her jacket, she thinks, is "from some boutique in Brooklyn."

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    "My friend gave me this," she says as she holds out her necklace, a small silver locket that she thinks was bought at the market in Union Square. Has she put a picture inside of it? "No," she laughs, "not yet."

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    Her boots, from a small boutique on 38th Street, add a studded accent to her basic outfit.

Photograph: Alex Strada

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Ronnie Batista, 21, visual merchandiser at the Gap, Inwood
Batista's eclectic style goes hand in hand with her job. As part of the visuals team for the Gap, she has a lot of experience with putting together an outfit.

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