Corporate takeover or not, Brooklyn’s fashion scene is thriving

As we celebrate our Spring Fashion issue, set in the trendsetting borough, we take quick a look at the stylish Kings County landscape

Bobby Hicks and Keiko Lynn

Bobby Hicks and Keiko Lynn Photograph: Mark Iantosca

This year, we set our annual Spring Fashion issue in Brooklyn. Anyone who's been to the borough knows a hip vibe has been permeating since before InStyle declared it the future of New York fashion last month. The statement was referring to Alexander Wang's groundbreaking show at the Brooklyn Navy Yard—but there's more to it than a high-powered designer bringing Fashion Week to the other side of the East River.

The borough has built up its style cred, thanks to thrift stores full of gems and indie boutiques with a unique, recognizable aesthetic (Bird, In God We Trust, etc.). And even though Williamsburg gets most of the credit, Brooklyn's style goes beyond Bedford Avenue. Walk around Bushwick or Park Slope on a warm Saturday afternoon, and you'll inevitably encounter a blogger shooting street style or a local designer taking photos for a new look book.

But Kings County's under-the-radar shopping scene is changing as big chains catch on. Urban Outfitters is preparing to open a multi-level market in Williamsburg, and Rag & Bone just signed a lease for a Cobble Hill storefront, joining other major shops in the 'hood such as Barneys New York, Sephora and Intermix. Welcome to the future. "It makes things convenient for me," Park Slope style blogger Keiko Lynn (pictured, right) said, responding to Rag & Bone's future opening. "But selfishly, I want Brooklyn to stay small. I don’t want to the boutiques and mom-and-pop stores going anywhere."

Brooklyn's days of being small are over, but even as the shopping scene evolves, indie shops aren't going anywhere. For every store that shutters (R.I.P. Dalaga), a bunch more open; see Budin, Home of the Brave and People of 2Morrow in Greenpoint alone. And existing ones find new homes to keep up with rising rents, like Beacon's Closet, which recently moved a few blocks from Williamsburg to Greenpoint.

There's room for everyone, and events like last week's Brooklyn Fashion Week—where Kings County designers showed their collections over the course of four days—give us hope that local talent isn't losing the spotlight in the midst of the borough's corporate takeover. What else does the future of Brooklyn's fashion scene entail? The conversation continues with a handful of the borough's style bloggers in our Spring Fashion issue, out this week.

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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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