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Throughout his career as a wardrobe and set designer for productions both on and Off Broadway, Martin Lopez has been tasked with creating troves of elaborate costumes and accessories. After finding himself drawn to the vintage beads and filigrees he often used on the job, Lopez debuted AdornmentsNYC—a collection of handmade jewelry ($10–$225) created from similar treasures—in 2008. Working out of a Long Island City studio, Lopez sources materials for pearl drop earrings ($24) and skeleton-key necklaces ($32–$45) at flea markets, then tweaks them to his liking and sells them on Etsy. Vintage coins that he affixes to long neck chains ($26–$36) are among his favorite accoutrements to work with, as are the brocade fabrics he sews to make lavender and flaxseed eye pillows ($18). Fans of his creations can also catch him in the spring through fall at the Brooklyn Flea (176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn • 27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn • brooklynflea.com), and at the Hester Street Fair (Hester St at Essex St, hesterstreetfair.com) in the spring and summer. adornmentsnyc.com
For those who like their vintage with a bit of rock & roll edge, a trip to Ashley Turen’s two-room boutique may be in order. Since starting her A. Turen women’s clothing label in 2009, the designer has garnered a cult following for her reimagined vintage pieces, including leather skirts ($385) brushed with metallic paint and embellished with studs, denim vests updated with sequined appliqués ($215), and hard-to-find concert tees ($125–$500) commemorating the heydays of Journey ($125) and Mötley Crüe ($398), which Turen modernizes by shredding and painting them. If nothing immediately strikes you—or you’re not quite ready to spring for a hand-painted Balenciaga bag ($800)—Turen will work with you to customize clothing you already own ($50–$500). 85 Stanton St between Allen and Orchard Sts (212-533-8200, aturennyc.com)
An established interior designer born in the U.K., Lorraine Kirke opened Geminola in 2004, using a portmanteau of her three daughters’ names—Gemima, Domino and Lola. Drawing on a knack for retooling curtains and tablecloths she picked up in her previous career, Kirke packs her whimsical shop with women’s apparel ($125–$795), lingerie ($195–$395) and accessories ($195–$495) made with globally sourced textiles from decades past. Special-occasion halter dresses ($795) with elaborate beading and full tulle skirts, silky chemises accented with lace ($325) and winter-ready heavy coats with fur-trimmed sleeves ($325) adorn the racks. In keeping with the clothing’s luxe, retro aesthetic, Geminola is fashioned after a lavish boudoir, complete with chandeliers and decorative floral arrangements. 41 Perry St between Seventh Ave and West 4th St (212-675-1994, geminola.com)
No strip of spare cashmere goes to waste at this hybrid studio and shop, where Gabriel Grippo creates clothing ($70–$850) and accessories ($50–$180) for both sexes. The Argentine artist and designer applies his label’s signature patchwork technique to sweater dresses ($345); feminine, billowy sweatshirts ($195); multicolored men’s blazers ($850); and fingerless gloves with exposed seams ($55–$90). GGrippo also hawks a variety of housewares and gifts, including ceramic shot glasses ($15) and vintage vases wrapped in felt ($65). When Grippo isn’t conversing with customers upstairs, he’s often found at the large work table on the lower level, perfecting his upcycled creations. 174 Grand St at Bedford Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (ggrippo.com)
Mandate of Heaven
Carissa Ackerman may have a penchant for vintage fabrics and Prohibition-era trends, but the pieces from her 11-year-old women’s clothing label, Mandate of Heaven, hardly resemble costumes. Along with boyfriend Ariel Chriqui, Ackerman designs and produces two collections: Opiate, a made-to-order line ($65–$325) fashioned from organic materials, and Mint, a playful assortment of threads ($65–$325) repurposed from vintage fabrics. From the apartment they also call home, Ackerman and Chriqui sell earth-toned tap short rompers ($315) and fringed miniskirts ($120) made from vintage wool. The pair often hosts parties where customers can have a gratis drink, try on items such as upcycled corduroy blazers ($215) and peruse old-school kid’s games in a changing space they’ve dubbed the Toy Room. 595 Kosciuszko St between Broadway and Malcolm X Blvd, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn (347-627-3943, mandateofheavenclothing.com). By appointment only.
Reclaimed Trading Co.
Lifelong thrifter Rhianna Tycholis routinely canvases flea markets across the country for the best vintage finds, culling an assemblage of choice garments that she reconstitutes into casual women’s apparel. The result is a mélange of affordable tops ($10–$40), bottoms ($15–$25) and dresses ($20–$40) that make up her Reclaimed Trading Co. label, which the FIT grad started in 2010. Sold on Etsy and at the Brooklyn Flea (176 Lafayette Ave between Clermont and Vanderbilt Aves, Fort Greene, Brooklyn • 27 North 6th St between Kent Ave and East River, Williamsburg, Brooklyn • brooklynflea.com), Tycholis’s cache of redesigned duds includes a patterned cropped blouse ($25) and matching calf-grazing skirt ($10) cut from the same silk dress. With help from her husband, Frank, Tycholis hand-dyes some garments, as she did with a pair of drawstring pants that cinch at the ankles ($20). reclaimedtrading.com
Conceived by Yael Aflalo, this sustainable L.A. label opened its first NYC store in 2009 and a second one in September. With clothing racks suspended by chains and faux-cowhide throws covering rustic wooden floors, the boutiques mimic the brand’s stripped-down sensibility. Whether a preexisting design is modified or a new one created using deadstock fabric, all of the women’s garb ($45–$425) is produced locally in either L.A. or New York using vintage and surplus materials. Highlights include vibrant cropped silk tanks ($65), muted off-the-shoulder dresses ($175), upcycled wool sweatshirts ($65) and skinny jeans ($175) revamped with ankle zippers. 156 Ludlow St at Stanton St (646-448-4925) • 23 Howard St between Crosby and Lafayette Sts (212-510-8455) • thereformation.com
Helmed by actress-turned-entrepreneur Shareen Mitchell, this hidden boutique, located on the second floor of a townhouse, is New York’s iteration of the vintage savant’s two L.A. shops. The star of Planet Green’s Dresscue Me deconstructs and recrafts vintage pieces, which are offered alongside an expertly curated selection of untouched finds from the 1920s through ’90s. Beloved by celebs such as Christina Hendricks and Busy Philipps, Mitchell’s refashioned designs include two-piece patterned play suits ($58) and taffeta party skirts ($68–$88) with shortened hemlines. Far from traditional, Shareen’s stock of wedding dresses ($300–$600) are made by stripping old frocks of their lace and layering it into Mitchell’s signature halter silhouettes, complete with adjustable leather straps. Such gems can only be tried on in the open (there is no dressing room), but a strict “no boys allowed” policy is heavily enforced. 13 W 17th St between Fifth and Sixth Aves, second floor (212-206-1644, shareen.com)
While searching for a marketing position earlier this year, Brooklynite Joshua Adam Brueckner found a solution to having a somewhat limited job-hunting wardrobe: He took the clothes he already had and tailored them to achieve a modernized look. His friends were particularly impressed with his slimmed-down ties—so much so that Brueckner started getting requests to trim theirs. Inspired by their enthusiasm, the part-time musician launched Skinnyfatties (pronounced “skinny fatties” or “skinny fat ties”) in July. His online shop’s assortment of 1960s-through-modern-day neckwear includes solid and patterned ties sourced from vintage shops ($45 each), along with original styles made from new fabric ($60). For $30, you can also send your own tie for Brueckner to trim. As Brueckner’s days looking for a gig remain a poignant memory, he donates $1 of every tie sold to Career Gear (careergear.org), an organization that helps low-income men reenter the workforce. skinnyfatties.com
Some Odd Rubies
Named for its vintage-obsessed proprietors Summer Phoenix, Odessa Whitmire and Ruby Canner, this indie label launched in 2003 with a collection of women’s garb ($98–$365) fashioned from deadstock vintage fabrics. Today, the brand is sold from its namesake shop, which shares a space with designer Lindsey Thornberg and also houses new ladies’ apparel ($95–$1,900). The upcycled garb remains a draw, as evidenced by house-line lace maxiskirts ($210), floral peplum bustiers ($165) and plaid coatdresses ($235). Also look for items from the SOR Select line of one-of-a-kind reworked vintage pieces, including a cropped silk blouse with a flirty back slit ($105). 174 Ludlow St between E Houston and Stanton Sts (212-780-0227, someoddrubies.com)