How Erica Weiner Found Rad Antique Furniture for Her Brooklyn Shop
A hoarding habit we’re more than okay with.
No offense to those peeps with top-notch shoe or stamp collections, but Erica Weiner has likely one-upped you with her stash of antique furniture. “When I see a great display case, I buy it, even if I don’t have anywhere to put it,” says the jewelry superstar. Luckily, her scores now have two homes: A sweet little spot on Elizabeth Street in Manhattan, and a killer new space at 360 Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. See what she’s done with the second place (and pick up some sourcing tips along the way). —alisha prakash
“This big case is curved glass and zinc. It’s from the 1920s, and I got it from a picker in Philadelphia. The mirror above it came from Olde Good Things in Chelsea. The stand this case is on is from an antique store in Red Bank, New Jersey. It’s a wallpaper table—you collapse it, and it’s the exact width of a roll of wallpaper. The zinc-and-glass case just happened to be the exact same length! And the painter’s easel on the side was something I found on the street years ago.”
“These piano light lamps are from a store in Williamsburg called RePop. They’re supposed to sit on top of your piano to illuminate your sheet music.”
“My sister is a painter. This big white mirror is from her studio, which used to be a nunnery. They were getting rid of it. It was old, free, and weighs like 150 pounds.”
“The old Bakelite radio in the back was a gift from a friend who lives upstate. It didn’t work, so we pulled the back off and stuck a Bose in there for our music. The two jewelry cases match, but we didn’t get them from the same place. I found one at Arundel Antiques in Maine, and the second is from an antique picker I work with in Philadelphia called Three Potato Four. A few months before we got the space, Hurricane Sandy destroyed these beautiful wood and glass cases that were in my basement. They were like fish tanks, with living sea creatures in them. We had to dump out all the water and restore them.”
“I wanted to go for an arts-and-crafts, William Morris-type wallpaper look. While researching this, I accidentally found this large-scale, mural-style, seventies leaf-print wallpaper from a store called Second Hand Rose. I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I thought I would put it in my house—but then I realized this store could be anything I want it to be, so I bought it.”
“The typewriter is used to make signage for our jewelry. It’s from an Italian company called Olivetti. I wanted one that didn’t have any glitches that comes with a 100-year-old model, and I found out that Olivetti still makes new typewriters.”
“The door was one of the hardest things to find. We wanted a door that looked like an early-20th-century school door with half glass on top and solid wood on the bottom. This still has the original door hardware with an old skeleton key that works. I got the big case next to it from Olde Good Things. It had just been stripped—it was supposed to be dark wood. They hadn’t finished it, but that’s how I wanted it—it looks really raw.”
Photos courtesy of Michelle Smith McLaughlin.
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When her painter mother gifted her a pair of jewelry-making pliers at eight years old, Lila Rice Marshall became an elementary schooler with a real skill for fixing best-friend necklaces and making trinkets for her pals. Zip ahead a few years, and Lila forgot all about her knack for crafting and, in 1996, headed west from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to UC Berkeley to study sociocultural anthropology. “I did an interdisciplinary study that focused on ornamentation—the things that we wear and the meanings we assign them,” she says.
Spoiler alert: That coursework helped lead her back to jewelry. “When I graduated college, I couldn’t find a job. I was waiting tables and thinking about grad school when I started doing a little bit of metalsmithing, as a therapeutic outlet,” she explains. In 2001, her dabbling became a line, Round Designs Jewelry, a collection that focused on, well, circles. “I think it’s a very universal thing to be attracted to certain shapes,” Lila explains, but in 2010 she had enough of all those orbs.
Now, in Bushwick, Brooklyn, she embraces angles, making fierce cuffs, geometric hoop earrings, and arrow-accented necklaces her namesake line by hand—just like she did in her recess-crafting days. “I like having a personal connection with every piece, but I also think part of it is that I’m a control freak,” she says. “Honestly, it’s just me being weird by myself in my studio, playing with the materials. I never have a plan of what’s going to happen.” —alisha prakash
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We’re not saying that naming your line after yourself is a bad thing. We’re just noting that if you have an un-ironic DJ name you once used while spinning cheesy music from the eighties, that’s a pretty honeyed alternative. Meet Graciela Fuentes—formerly known as La Tirana, Spanish for “female tyrant”—who, even during her beat-droppin’ days, always knew she would be an artist. After earning a BFA from Word University in Texas, landing an MFA from NYU, and dabbling in photography and video production, she found herself drawn to more industrial vibe—one that recalls the backdrop of her hometown, Monterrey, Mexico. “It’s a bit of nostalgia for seeing these machines—you can look at them and see how they work. Looking at my iPhone, I have no idea how I’m even talking on it,” Graciela explains.
After a few years working primarily on computers with digital media arts, Graciela yearned to create something physical. One carved alabaster ring later, the creative spark caught fire, laying the groundwork for Tirana Jewelry. Her favorite part of her process: Sourcing antique pieces from flea markets the world over. Those scores, kept in a sacred drawer in her Williamsburg studio, are then molded and cast in recycled silver, gold, and bronze to be sculpted and soldered into brand new pieces—for a line that’s romantic, steampunk, and tough all at once. “I like the idea of a female tyrant because I don’t think it has a bad historic connotation like the male tyrant,” Graciela says. “A female tyrant is a little bit more of a woman in power, a woman that knows what she wants, a woman that can get her way.” —jackie varriano
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Jimmy + Maeve
“Making has always just been a part of my life,” says Liz Hobin, the creative force behind the one-year-old scarf-centric line Jimmy + Maeve. Raised by a grandmother who showed her the knitting ropes and a master-quilter mother, Liz, with her “genetic instinct to create,” was pretty much destined to go the DIY route, and, after leaving L.A. to study public health in SF and Portland, she settled down in Greenpoint in 2010 and established her label in 2011.
But, really, why scarves? As Liz explains, “coming from L.A., living in Brooklyn means a big comfort sacrifice that I’m not willing to accept—scarves are like comfort food.” So much so that Liz spent the entire summer knitting scarves on the beach. “I’m inspired by anxiety—if I’m not making something or reinventing a project, I go crazy,” she says.
Don’t let her fool you: Jimmy + Maeve, made of the softest materials Liz can find—wool, alpaca, cashmere, merino—is not just a Xanax alternative. It’s a biz, with a team of three hand-knitting from her studio, which, conveniently enough, happens to be located in her apartment. The ultimate goal: “I want it to be like having a blanket for your neck and face,” she says. —alisha prakash
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A Tour of Annie Larson’s Brooklyn Pad
The designer just made a big move last year—and she’s feeling right at home.
“I’ve wanted to move to New York ever since—well, for a long time,” says Annie Larson, whose career started at Target HQ in Minneapolis, where she eventually launched her bold knitwear line in 2009. “This place is just so exciting—nobody can deny that.” What’s also exciting is that she and her artist BF, Eric Carlson, scored themselves a borderline-palatial Bushwick, Brooklyn, home last October. “We came out to look, and we found a place in the first half day. We just went shopping for the rest of the time,” Annie adds. Take a look at how they set up their pad when they moved in. —erica
“This is sort of our office. My computer is the desktop, and Eric’s is the laptop—we sit on either side, like relationship corner.”
“That graphite drawing is one of Eric’s pieces. He does illustration, he does book design, he does physical installations, and he’s done skateboards and snowboards. We really had to pare down our record and tape collection when we moved—records are especially heavy. John Lennon is always on heavy rotation, and George Harrison has been getting some more play recently. I love classic rock, almost exclusively. Eric has more diverse taste.”
“We don’t have that many closets, so before we left Minneapolis, we bought 12 of these uniform white boxes that we call our deep storage. We each have six. I have one that’s called the Fashion Time Capsule. I’ve wanted to throw away so much of my old work over the years—stuff from college, stuff from before college, stuff I was working on when I was at Target—but I’ve dissuaded myself from it.”
“That crazy quilt has been in my family a while. We’re trying to figure out how to store shoes—that’s been a major issue.”
“There are some pretty amazing rugs on Etsy—I bought this one there. I found an acrylic one from the seventies in the shape of a tiger that’s so amazing. I had it in my basket, but when I showed it to Eric, he wasn’t into it at all. I think that if he came home and saw a tiger in our apartment—if it was already there, which it very easily could be at any time—what would he do, throw it away?”
“That’s my studio. I actually got rid of like 60% of my yarn stock before I left Minnesota. I recently bought a new knitting machine and some software. Now I do all my patterns on a computer and plug the machine in. It’s amazing—I can do so many different things.”
“The cast-iron rack actually came from my parents’ basement. We did a major sorting out of our hangers before we left. I got all of our hangers onto one rail and walked through like, ‘This one’s gone, this one’s gone, this one’s gone. We’re not keeping any that are electric blue, we’re not keeping any that are white, and we’re not keeping any that are thick.’ My whole theory of moving is not to move anything we don’t want.”
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Saturday Mornings With the Sovereign Beck Twosome
How what they do apart influences the line.
Between hustling for their tie brand Sovereign Beck and working their respective full-time jobs—Ryan Sovereign is a print designer for an apparel company, and Will Beck works at Gramercy Park’s Vintage Thrift—these guys try to carve out time all for themselves. “We spend a lot of time together, and some of our best ideas have come out of hanging out socially, without all the tie stuff,” Will says. “But I have no idea what Ryan does in the morning.” Spend a typical Saturday A.M. in the life of the Sovereign Beck boys—separately. —lauren caruso
“I usually wake up around 9 on weekends. Sometimes I’ll go down to the flea market, go grocery shopping, or take a nice long walk. The mornings are usually a pretty low-key affair.”
“Since I work at a vintage store, I have a little more freedom to dress how I want. When it gets cooler out, I like to wear a tie, but during the summer, wearing one is certainly not my favorite thing. I like to dress up when I go out on the weekends though.”
“This is my backyard in Brooklyn. An outdoor space was something I was definitely looking for in an apartment, and I spend a lot of time out there. It’s got the bamboo fencing all around, and it was kind of bare when we moved in. I’m always out there trimming stuff and weeding. There’s definitely a creativity factor to it, and there’s also that nice peacefulness to simply being outside in nature and relaxing.”
“The Triple Decker is a weekend favorite. It’s a huge menu, so they have everything from your basic bacon egg & cheese to their own burger concoctions.”
“We usually meet at our studio, which is also Ryan’s loft, on Tuesdays and Saturday mornings. On my walk there, this is in between Greenpoint and Sunset Park where it gets a little more industrial. Along that stretch, there’s a lot of big walls with work that’s constantly changing.”
“This is where we do our magic. Oh, and also clean with Windex.”
“This is a day in the life of me…on vacation. I’m in Maryland with my girlfriend, who’s a singer. She’s performing with her mother tonight. And I’m going to wear a tie! Of course, I spent the morning drinking coffee next to a ceramic cat on the porch.”
“After breakfast, we went out to a thrift store. Half of it was dedicated to Halloween, so I saw it as a prime opportunity to do some holiday shopping.”
“During a weekend thrift run, I usually comb every single aisle except for kids’ toys. Housewares are usually my first stop followed by electronics, though I never buy anything there because it never works. But it’s cool to check out VCRs and record players. I didn’t buy this album, but I should of.”
“I always check the neckties. We have a whole drawer of ties we just like.”
“This is a portrait of 50 Cent, who I have a soft spot for. I didn’t buy it. I would not want it in my apartment. Maybe we should do airbrushed portrait ties…”
“When we got back from the thrift store, I just saw a pile of leaves and a rake sitting there, so I just got to it. I haven’t raked leaves in about 15 years. It was a lot more satisfying than I remember.”
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In God We Trust
“I remember having a moment with myself, asking, ‘What do I like? What am I interested in?’” explains Shana Tabor, the brains behind the apparel and accessories line In God We Trust. “Designing was a choice I made when I was around 12, not something I fell into.” So, as a junior-high kid with access to thrift stores and a sewing machine, Shana started making her own clothes, which led to summer, jewelry-making classes at Parsons.
When it was time to determine her next move, Shana enrolled at FIT for fashion design, but it didn’t take longer than one semester to realize she wanted to switch her major. “Apparel was something I knew I wanted to come back to, but it needed to be on my own terms. On a technical level, there was so much more I could learn with jewelry,” she says.
“On her own terms” is a theme for Shana: After getting some industry experience post-graduation, she quit the office grind and started focusing on making her own killer pieces out of her sick Williamsburg apartment-slash-studio. In 2005, she opened up her first retail location on Wythe Avenue in Brooklyn, selling both accessories and apparel, and she now has three locations around NYC.
So what’s with the name? “It’s supposed to be a commentary on American commerce and the thought-process behind how people spend their money,” Shana says. “I was working with a bunch of coins. I sat there staring at them and thought it was so weird that it said ‘In God We Trust’ on all of our money. We do get a few people calling thinking we’re a religious institution, and the occasional missionary comes into the store.” —alisha prakash
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The 3 NYC Spots In God We Trust Calls Home
Find yourself an excuse to visit all of them.
Shana Tabor has come a long way: “When I first started, I had a tiny corner of my bedroom where I would sit for 12 hours every day and make jewelry,” she explains of the roots of her line In God We Trust, which now tackles apparel, too. But in 2005, about two years after she started working on her line full-time, Shana decided it was time to set up shop—an interest she had from the very beginning. She now has a trifecta of super-influential, crazy-cool locations in Greenpoint, Soho, and Williamsburg that carry the likes of D.S. & Durga, Billy Kirk, and The Hill-Side, beyond her own creations. Here’s how each shop came to be. —alisha prakash
“The Greenpoint store is where all the magic happens. Our design studio is here, and it’s where all the manufacturing takes place. I found this location in search of a bigger studio space. I loved the idea of our studio being attached to a retail space—it’s the best of both worlds. This space is by far our largest location, allowing freedoms not available in our smaller locations. The brick walls were already here. We added one large-scale piece of furniture, and it was done. Greenpoint has a real sense of community that is lacking in most New York neighborhoods, especially in North Brooklyn.” (70 Greenpoint Ave., Brooklyn)
“This store is our first Manhattan location. I was prompted to look in that neighborhood by a fellow shop owner, and when I saw the space was available, I left a note under the gate and waited for a call. Thankfully it happened. This stretch of Lafayette is a place that I used to shop in during the nineties. It’s also an interesting location in the city because we are not quite in Soho and also not really in Nolita. That makes for an interesting mix of people and lifestyles. The space is long and narrow, so there’s not much you can do. The main concern was removing the glass walls and six layers of X-Girl wallpaper (even on the ceilings!).” (265 Lafayette St.)
“This Bedford Avenue store is our newest location, which opened last summer. It is home to our perfect customers—this includes tourists and locals. Can’t help it, haters: This is my home. I have lived in Williamsburg since 2000. I love working in the same ‘hood that I live in—even though I sometimes hate it, too.” (129 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn)
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How Yegang Yoo and Her Brooklyn Factory Made Her Of a Kind Edition
For this designer, getting her hands dirty is half the fun.
“It’s important for me to do everything local,” Yegang Yoo says of her decision to produce her bag line IMAGO-A in NYC. “Otherwise I would be wondering how the production was going or worrying that something would go wrong.” Fortunately, her factory, located in Brooklyn’s Navy Yard, is just a 10-minute bike ride from her house, and it’s full of the nicest people. “She’s great,” says the owner, Roy, as he watches Yegang tear into a pile of leather straps with her scissors. “And a fast learner, too!” Here’s a look at the team as they assemble her Of a Kind edition. —raquel laneri
“I met Roy when I was looking for a factory to produce my handbags. He was one of the first people I talked to, and right away we got along. His aesthetic is similar to mine, and he’s open to my ideas—and open to my being there and working with the artisans, which is very important to me. Here, he’s cutting a sample, which is the first, and longest, part of the process.”
“These are the dies for the Of a Kind edition. Dies have sharp blades in the shape of the pattern pieces. They are made after the samples are done and once all the revisions are made to the pattern.“
“Once the sample has been made and all the issues are fixed, we can start making the actual handbags for production. First, Ramón cuts the leather using the dies. Working with leather is really hard, so all the artisans here are quite skilled.”
“Marcela probably understands the pattern better than anyone else. She works on the sample, so she tells the sewers where the stitches go, where to put the zipper, where all the folds should be, and she lets me know if there are any problems. She also stamps my logo onto the bag using a hammer.”
“My job! I am preparing the straps, cutting some of the leather, and adding the hardware. I enjoy hands-on work, so sometimes when they’re really busy I just jump in and cut myself.”
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Fischer Loves America
And here’s how Kristina Angelozzi proves it.
Despite decades spent earning her indie street-cred, Brooklyn-based designer Kristina Angelozzi is a sucker for old-school Americana—a fascination that finds its outlet in her line Fischer, stocked with chinos and button-downs that could make up the bulk of your wardrobe. Here, Kristina deconstructs the U.S. of A. roots behind her Of a Kind edition. —mattie kahn
Comfy gray jersey, produced in North Carolina.
“For the edition, I used U.S.-manufactured jersey. The cotton is grown all over the United States, but the factory is in North Carolina. I try to source my fabric domestically whenever possible. Most of the companies that I work with—most of the mills and the factories—are still pretty small and independently owned.”
Contrast-collar inspiration, c/o the 1920 Detroit Stars.
“The shirt is kind of based off of a twenties, baseball-style tee. It’s really simple, clean, and athletic. I’m not a huge sports nut, but I love the history of uniforms—how they’ve evolved over the years and how they’ve been styled. My boyfriend and I are both from Baltimore, so he’s a die-hard Orioles fan. It’s fun to root for the underdog. I’ll tag along for the games and buy peanuts, of course, and a cold beer.”
Corozo fruit from the Tagua palm.
“The buttons on the shirt are really rad. They’re called Corozo buttons, and they’re basically a kind of palm tree nut. Nowadays, companies tend to use buttons that are polyester-based and manufactured using a ton of chemicals, but these are totally natural and super durable. They’ve been around since the 1800s, but they got to be pretty major during World War II when they were used on U.S. military uniforms. One of my favorite things is how practicality and the nuances of design and fabric come together to make something aesthetic. This is a perfect example of that.”