South Soho’s One of NYC’s Coolest ‘Hoods—Let Lyndsey Butler Show You Around

Where to eat, shop, and get your hair dyed blue.

“While traditional Soho has big-box stores—the Zaras and H&Ms—South Soho has a lot of new, up-and-coming things. I like that there are a lot of young creatives working in the neighborhood,” says Lyndsey Butler of the cultish leather line Veda. And she should know: She set up shop there and also lives nearby, right around the bend in Chinatown. Here, seven reasons why she’s so bullish on the ‘hood. —alisha prakash

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101 Spring Street
Donald Judd’s studio-slash-home has finally been restored and reopened as part of his foundation. You have to book a time to go see it. I’m from Texas, and Donald Judd also has a big foundation there and lived in Marfa—that’s how the whole art scene got started there. Everything he did was so specific—he was really focused on space and light, and so his Soho loft has furniture that he designed that works perfectly for that space.”
(101 Spring St.)

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Antifurniture
“Antifurniture is by this guy, Nelson, who has a great collection of used art books, zines, and other printed material like old magazines—mostly from the seventies, eighties, and nineties. He has this great archive of imagery that he sets up on the street and sells when it’s nice out.  He’s going to curate a little collection for the store—we’re going to pick things that are in-line with Veda, so punk zines, motorcycle magazines, and stuff like that.”
(Howard St. and Broadway)

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Acne Studios
“I love the Acne Studios store. It’s weird and cool, and they make great basics with a little bit of flair. I love their denim, T-shirts, and sweaters. I like to go in there and see what they’re doing. They usually have cool collaborations and artwork, and they change their displays often.”
(33 Greene St.)

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Suite Caroline
“I’ve been seeing Lena Ott at Suite Caroline for probably three or four years. She’s an amazing colorist–she does all the models and Scarlett Johansson. She just opened this salon not that long ago on Greene Street. It’s designed so well, and the team is awesome. My hair has been blue for the last year or so. I did it myself at first, but she touches it up for me. We have a lot of fun with it. She is honest and is an artist. She knows what’s going to look good color-wise.”
(65 Greene St., 2nd Fl.)

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Smile to Go
“Smile to Go’s coffee is great. If you want to get lunch there, go by noon because they sell out of a lot of the stuff. If you miss lunch, they have coffee all day long, and their cookies are to-die-for. They have a dark chocolate chip with sea salt that’s crazy-good.”
(22 Howard St.)

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Team Gallery
“Ryan McGinley has a show there that looks really awesome. The gallery doesn’t just represent photographers but a mix of up-and-coming and established artists.”
(83 Grand St.)

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BDDW
“BDDW is very pricey, but it’s beautiful. Their furniture is amazing, but their space is worth it just to go inside. There are these tall, arched ceilings, and their furniture is all handmade—it’s a cool mix of Americana heritage with modern details. I’m not doing it justice, but it’s really beautiful.”
(5 Crosby St.)

This Veda jacket is ready to hang in the coolest neighborhoods.

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See All the Rad Details That Make the Veda Store the Coolest

The space might be small, but it’s stuffed with character.

Lyndsey Butler, who closed her Lower East Side shop in 2011 after the lease expired, started itching to open a new NYC store in 2013. “Our collection is very leather-heavy and outerwear-specific, but we actually do a full collection—and I felt like a store would be a great place to showcase that. I wanted people to see the other things we do—sweaters, dresses, and things like that—so I started looking for a space near the office and it just happened,” she says. Though she might have totally stumbled upon the South Soho storefront, Lyndsey was super-thoughtful about how she built it out. Check out how all of the elements came together—and then find some time to go see them in-person. —alisha prakash

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“We had the neon sign outside made. We work with a design company called Arch & Loop—they designed our logo.”

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“From the street, you can see our big sign, but when you walk up, it feels like you’re in the lobby of a normal residential building. You have to buzz in, and you have to walk through this door, which leads you to that lobby area. From there, you walk into the store. It’s one of the store’s quirks, but all part of the charm of the space. We have this little lobby area that anyone in the building can use, but we kind of took it over and redid it. We recovered the chairs in this silver fabric that I think is fun, and then there’s a cement cube side table that mirrors the floors in actual store nicely. The mannequin is a Ralph Pucci mannequin—it’s part of a series he did of Christy Turlington when she released her yoga line. She’s doing tree pose in this particular one.”

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“Here, we’re looking into the store. In the back corner, there’s a standard cash wrap. I wanted something like from the movie Shopgirl—something basic. I also wanted something that was clear, so we can do different displays in there, whether it’s a flower arrangement or a piece of ceramic. Right now, there’s a green pitcher inside, and sometimes it has plants in it.”

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“I wanted the store to feel clean and gallery-like. The walls are white, and the floors are cement—it’s a blank canvas in that way. I loved the idea of all-rug everything. It felt like a fun idea to flip that on its head and do them on the ceiling. There’s a vendor who sells rugs at the Brooklyn Flea—we went out to his warehouse, and that’s where we got a lot of them. We got a few at the ABC Home outlet in the Bronx, too. It’s such a small space, so we tried to put a personal touch anywhere we could. It’s the little things like that that make this tiny little white box feel unique and feel like us.”

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“When we moved in, there were linoleum floors that were falling apart. We tore everything up. I really wanted cement floors. They said it was too hard to do that because you have to pour one to two inches of cement, and it raises the height for everything else. I finally convinced them to do it, and it was awesome. We bought this cool piece of colored marble and laid that down first and then poured the cement around it so it has this floating-island-of-marble effect. This is one of the displays we have in the store—it’s a gradated, mirrored podium. On top is a clutch made of leftover remnants from the rug for the ceiling.”

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“We got these wall plants from the Union Square Greenmarket. I wanted to bring something live into the space. We have a guy who comes in a couple of times a month and makes sure they’re doing well, and if one of them needs to be replaced or replanted, he helps us maintain that. He makes sure all of them are very happy.”

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“The clothing racks are these clear, lucite, open kind-of-cubes. We had them custom-made. They are extremely heavy and cannot be moved and are really fragile, but I love them. They feel like they’re floating in a fun way.”

To see all this awesomeness IRL, head to the Veda store at 19 Mercer St. in NYC.

This Veda jacket needs to be in your life right this second.

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How Lyndsey Butler Creates a Collection

There’s math. And it’s fun.

Sure, there’s a ton of creativity involved, but Lyndsey Butler’s design process is very exacting. “People tend to think that you dream up this idea, and it happens,” explains the woman behind the leather line Veda, which isn’t nearly as tough as the core material implies. Here’s what goes into creating a collection, from start to finish. —erica


A sketch, side-by-side with a magazine editorial that inspired it.

“In the beginning, my team discusses as many designs as we can come up with. The ideas can come in many forms. Some come from vintage pieces—like, ‘Oh I have this thing that I really like that I’ve had for years.’ Some come from pictures or from skins we saw while visiting a factory. It’s a hodgepodge, but usually we have a plan—say, we know we want to design 20 pieces. It takes a few weeks of sifting through that stuff and deciding what we want to move forward with. I like to sketch out everything that I might be into doing and go from there.”


Clothes being constructed in the in-house production space that Veda shares with The Reformation.

“The next step is drawing the pieces we actually want to move forward with in more specific detail—a front, a back, the stitching. I have a girl who works for me who’s a technical designer, and we talk about the waist length, the fit, all of the measurements. I really like the technical part—it’s fun, and it’s kind of nerdy. At this point, we’re picking colors and choosing skins, too. It depends on the shape of the piece and the season. We also spend a lot of time here asking, ‘What’s that one detail we really want to tie it all together?’ Those finishing touches make a collection feel like a collection, not just like ten jackets. Then we do our first samples. About 60 percent of the designs are sent to a factory to be made, and 40 percent of the samples we make here. The most exciting part is getting the first samples back.”


Computer sketches of the fall 2011 collection.

“For the second or third round of samples, this is how we communicate with our factories, our showrooms, and with each other—through these flat, basic, computer sketches that give you the essence of a style. There’s another sheet that goes with them that lists the skin, the color of the zipper, the measurements.”


Photos from the holiday 2012 lookbook.

“We go through this process until we shoot a piece for the lookbook. Usually at that point, I’ve been touching it, working on it, and spending all this mental energy on it, and I’m like, ‘Get it to the showroom as soon as possible!’ Otherwise I’ll just want to keep doing something to it, like changing the armhole or whatever.”

You’re gonna want Lyndsey’s latest edition! Sign up here so you don’t miss out.

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Lyndsey Butler’s 10 Travel Essentials

She really has the whole packing thing down.

“I try to go out of town whenever I can,” says Lyndsey Butler, the woman behind the suitcase-ready, leather-fueled line, Veda. And while most of her travel used to be business-centric, she’s been able to squeeze in more genuine vacations lately—and is starting to get into surfing. “I’ve been a few times—in Costa Rica and Bali—and understand the concept, but I’m not that good. I can stand up, but I can’t say that I can do much more than that,” she explains. “But it’s fun. Any little progress you make, you feel like you just conquered something—like, ‘I stood up for half a second. I’m awesome.’ I kind of feel like I did when I first started Veda.” Here’s what Lyndsey puts in her carry-on for any excursions that involve sun and sand. —erica


1) A Breezy Black Dress
“I like to pack a lot of black because it just makes things easier—you can dress it up, dress it down. This is part of my spring collection, and I just love it. It has a leather front and a silk back. It’s light enough for walking on the beach but covered-up enough for going out to dinner.”

2) The Latest Issue of The Paris Review
“I try to pick them up every season. I get really into the author interviews. I collect them, but not really intentionally. They sort of feel like books, so I can’t throw them away.”


3) A Teeny Bikini
“I usually like the tiniest bikinis I can find—which becomes a problem when you’re going on vacation with anyone but your closest friends. I just want to get as much sun as possible. I think this one is Brazilian. I got it on the beach in Miami.”

4) A Moleskine
“I usually have some sort of a notebook. I don’t necessarily collect things, but I keep a lot of things in it—mail, pictures of friends, old receipts I don’t want to lose.”


5) A Beachy Lotion
“This Mountain Ocean Skin Trip lotion is always with me, and now my boyfriend won’t stop using it. It’s really nice and coconut-y.”

6) An Oversize Denim Shirt
“On the plane I wear shirts like one I got at the RRL in Malibu with boots and black Citizens leggings/jeans—jeggings, if you will. Then, when I get to wherever I’m going, they pack up nicely.”


7) An Easy Leather Jacket
“Sometimes wearing black in the spring can be a little bit harsh. We’ve been doing this Max jacket since the first collection—I have it in every color we’ve ever made—and for this season, we treated one to look like washed denim.”

8) Too Many Books
“I always bring more books than I need—like five books for the three days that I’m going away. Last night I stayed up until two in the morning finishing Freedom. I’m going to try to finish Flaubert in Egypt next.”


9) A Small, No-Fuss Bag
“On the plane, I’ll have a big bag, but once I get somewhere, it’s nice to be able to just tote around my ID, cash, lipstick, and camera. This Alexander Wang one is great because you can only fit the essentials.”

10) A Bright, Vacation-Ready Cover-Up
“I just got this when I was in Argentina. I have a lot of things like this that sit in a little suitcase, ready to be sifted through when it’s time to go to the beach. You get most of these kinds of things when you’re in an exotic place, so they have a story.”

Come back tomorrow for Lyndsey’s latest edition! So. Freaking. Good.

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Lyndsey’s Guide to Leather

At Veda, skin is in. The designer has even found a way to make the material look like denim.


Lyndsey demonstrating the wear-and-tear potential of a denim-esque finish.

When Lyndsey Butler started Veda in 2008, she decided to start out working exclusively in leather, a choice driven by practicality as much as by aesthetics: She didn’t want to try to master at a dozen materials at once. “Not that I’m lazy, but as one person I really wanted to be able to focus on the shapes of the pieces and get them right,” she explains. “Now that I’ve done that, I can focus on details, linings, and skins and not spend so much time worrying about fit.” Even with just one material, there was plenty of learning to be done, as the term leather covers all sorts of materials, with varying textures, weights, and vibes. “Most people think leather is cow. But usually it isn’t,” Lyndsey says. Here, she walks us through her discoveries—and her favorite ways to add some oomph.

Lyndsey used an awe-inspiring striped lambskin for the vest she designed just for Of a Kind. Check it out—and pick up one of the five in existence—here.


Two swatches of super pliable lambskin—one striped.

Lyndsey’s Go-to Leathers:
+ Lambskin: “Lambskin is lightweight, and the skins themselves are smaller. I like it because it has a drapey, fabric-like feel. It’s so much more supple and luxurious than, say, a cracked leather jacket from a vintage store.”
+ Goat suede: “I think suede can have different connotations, and I stayed away from it for awhile because it felt too retro to me. But goat suede—I don’t even know what it feels like. It’s amazing.”
+ Pig leather: “It’s not something that a lot of people use, but I like it because it has kind of a vintage-y feel. I only use the suede side, which looks different from most suedes and has that very specific, seventies tan color.”


A silver-foiled hide, a piece of rabbit fur, and a swatch of tie-dyed goat suede—all of which are part of the Veda fall collection.

Lyndsey’s Favorite Treatments Right Now:
+ Screen-printing: “This season, we wanted to try printing on leather. We considered florals but got kind of scared—which floral to pick? Then we thought of stripes. The result doesn’t really read like leather, at a glance, but I think that once you see it is leather, it kind of blows your mind.”
+ Tie-dyeing: “For fall, I’m doing a tie-dye. I guess it could feel like spring, but I’m doing it on suede. We started with the cream-colored material and then dyed the black.”
+ Distressing: “For this denim effect I love, you dye one color on the underside and another dye on top. With wear, the color underneath starts to come through. The same goes for the foiling technique we use for metallics. We start with a piece of tan hide that, with time, starts to show. That way it doesn’t feel so metallic, like Tin Man or something.”

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Notes

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How Lyndsey Butler Creates a Collection

There’s math. And it’s fun.

Sure, there’s a ton of creativity involved, but Lyndsey Butler’s design process is very exacting. “People tend to think that you dream up this idea, and it happens,” explains the woman behind the leather line Veda, which isn’t nearly as tough as the core material implies. Here’s what goes into creating a collection, from start to finish.


A sketch, side-by-side with a magazine editorial that inspired it.

“In the beginning, my team discusses as many designs as we can come up with. The ideas can come in many forms. Some come from vintage pieces—like, ‘Oh I have this thing that I really like that I’ve had for years.’ Some come from pictures or from skins we saw while visiting a factory. It’s a hodgepodge, but usually we have a plan—say, we know we want to design 20 pieces. It takes a few weeks of sifting through that stuff and deciding what we want to move forward with. I like to sketch out everything that I might be into doing and go from there.”


Clothes being constructed in the in-house production space that Veda shares with The Reformation.

“The next step is drawing the pieces we actually want to move forward with in more specific detail—a front, a back, the stitching. I have a girl who works for me who’s a technical designer, and we talk about the waist length, the fit, all of the measurements. I really like the technical part—it’s fun, and it’s kind of nerdy. At this point, we’re picking colors and choosing skins, too. It depends on the shape of the piece and the season. We also spend a lot of time here asking, ‘What’s that one detail we really want to tie it all together?’ Those finishing touches make a collection feel like a collection, not just like ten jackets. Then we do our first samples. About 60 percent of the designs are sent to a factory to be made, and 40 percent of the samples we make here. The most exciting part is getting the first samples back.”


Computer sketches of the fall 2011 collection.

“For the second or third round of samples, this is how we communicate with our factories, our showrooms, and with each other—through these flat, basic, computer sketches that give you the essence of a style. There’s another sheet that goes with them that lists the skin, the color of the zipper, the measurements.”


Photos from the spring 2011 lookbook—check out a video of the collection here.

“We go through this process until we shoot a piece for the lookbook. Usually at that point, I’ve been touching it, working on it, and spending all this mental energy on it, and I’m like, ‘Get it to the showroom as soon as possible!’ Otherwise I’ll just want to keep doing something to it, like changing the armhole or whatever.”

Take a look at the drapey vest Lyndsey designed just for Of a Kind! There are only five of them, and once they’re gone, they’re gone.

comments, reblogs & likes

Notes

33 notes

Lyndsey Butler’s 10 Travel Essentials

She really has the whole packing thing down.

“I try to go out of town whenever I can,” says Lyndsey Butler, the woman behind the suitcase-ready, leather-fueled line, Veda. And while most of her travel used to be business-centric, she’s been able to squeeze in more genuine vacations lately—and is starting to get into surfing. “I’ve been a few times—in Costa Rica and Bali—and understand the concept, but I’m not that good. I can stand up, but I can’t say that I can do much more than that,” she explains. “But it’s fun. Any little progress you make, you feel like you just conquered something—like, ‘I stood up for half a second. I’m awesome.’ I kind of feel like I did when I first started Veda.” Here’s what Lyndsey puts in her carry-on for any excursions that involve sun and sand.


1) A Breezy Black Dress
“I like to pack a lot of black because it just makes things easier—you can dress it up, dress it down. This is part of my spring collection, and I just love it. It has a leather front and a silk back. It’s light enough for walking on the beach but covered-up enough for going out to dinner.”

2) The Latest Issue of The Paris Review
“I try to pick them up every season. I get really into the author interviews. I collect them, but not really intentionally. They sort of feel like books, so I can’t throw them away.”


3) A Teeny Bikini
“I usually like the tiniest bikinis I can find—which becomes a problem when you’re going on vacation with anyone but your closest friends. I just want to get as much sun as possible. I think this one is Brazilian. I got it on the beach in Miami.”

4) A Moleskine
“I usually have some sort of a notebook. I don’t necessarily collect things, but I keep a lot of things in it—mail, pictures of friends, old receipts I don’t want to lose.”


5) A Beachy Lotion
“This Mountain Ocean Skin Trip lotion is always with me, and now my boyfriend won’t stop using it. It’s really nice and coconut-y.”

6) An Oversize Denim Shirt
“On the plane I wear shirts like one I got at the RRL in Malibu with boots and black Citizens leggings/jeans—jeggings, if you will. Then, when I get to wherever I’m going, they pack up nicely.”


7) An Easy Leather Jacket
“Sometimes wearing black in the spring can be a little bit harsh. We’ve been doing this Max jacket since the first collection—I have it in every color we’ve ever made—and for this season, we treated one to look like washed denim.”

8) Too Many Books
“I always bring more books than I need—like five books for the three days that I’m going away. Last night I stayed up until two in the morning finishing Freedom. I’m going to try to finish Flaubert in Egypt next.”


9) A Small, No-Fuss Bag
“On the plane, I’ll have a big bag, but once I get somewhere, it’s nice to be able to just tote around my ID, cash, lipstick, and camera. This Alexander Wang one is great because you can only fit the essentials.”

10) A Bright, Vacation-Ready Cover-Up

“I just got this when I was in Argentina. I have a lot of things like this that sit in a little suitcase, ready to be sifted through when it’s time to go to the beach. You get most of these kinds of things when you’re in an exotic place, so they have a story.”

Check out Lyndsey’s exclusive design for Of a Kind! It’s leather, it’s striped, and it’s amazing.

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Veda

Lyndsey Butler is not one of those devout fashion girls who’s been drawing dresses ever since she could hold a crayon. “I studied philosophy and religion at NYU. I liked the philosophy better because the texts are so dense. It was fun to go to class and hear other people’s opinions—you’d think, ‘I didn’t read that into that line,’” she says.

The Texas native fell into working for Yael Aflalo, who created Ya-Ya and now runs The Reformation, during her senior year in college. Lyndsey quickly discovered she had a knack for—and interest in—the industry. “At first, I was like, ‘This is a stepping stone. This is just to have a job out of college.’ But I really liked the clothes and being a part of the whole vibe,” she explains. Eventually, Yael convinced her to put off going to grad school and to stick around for a while. After spending a few years working on the business side of things in New York and L.A., Lyndsey delved into design, launching Veda in 2008.

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