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Williamsburg Fashion Yin and Yang
by Sarah Frances Kuhn
Click to enlarge,
Details are below

1. Really, really, I'm not as stuck up as everyone thinks.

2. Hold on there sweetie, what makes you think I'm even looking at you.

3. Oh how cute, a fiesty one. Cut the act and I might just surprise you with a little treat.

4. Well alright, I like surprises.

5. It is so nice to finally
find love.

Hi my name is Tim and it's...no, no, no that sounds so lame.

Um, let's see, 1 bag, 2 bag, 3 bag.

Is he still following me? I wish he'd just introduce himself already.

Hi my name is Tim and it's really nice to MEAT you.

Ahh TOPS, our neighborhood grocer!

The infinite struggle of dynamic opposites that maintain the balance of the New York fashion universe

Last week there was a ruckus that occurred at the corner of Bedford and North Fifth when the fashion circus came to town. A slew of high-paid models, producers, production assistants, caterers, stylists, hairstylists, makeup artists and photographers littered the area in order to craft a commercial for the multi-million dollar enterprise, Macy's department store. The scene was both intriguing and disturbing. For me, it provided yet another glimpse of the inherent superficiality of today's corporate fashion world. The Williamsburg fashion fortress was being invaded by the very forces of mainstream mediocrity that unintentionally inspired its construction in the first place.

The real models of forward fashion sat nearby in the Verb Cafe, drinking their coffee with a blend of amusement and embarrassment as young frisky fashion models giggled, pranced, and paraded themselves about wearing high-priced designer clothes with the heart of our neighbourhood as a backdrop. At one point, the pretty girls and boys clapped and bopped along to music provided by Earwax, innocently making references to a time when teens had just discovered rock, roll and rebellion. I am guessing the organizers wanted to infuse something creative and fresh into their products. The neat and calculated planning of such a scene right in Williamsburg's backyard made me stop and think; is Williamsburg a sub-cultural community formed around certain ideals of fashion and aesthetic sensibilities that will stand up against this attempted assimilation or just a transient playland that will eventually rot and decay like Coney Island?

If you want to see the true inhabitants of Williamsburg, you may have to escape the catwalk of Bedford Avenue. United Bamboo and Clarendon can both be found off the beaten path on North 6th. And, if we go to the local supermarket, Tops on the Waterfront (on North 6th as well) pick up a colorful basket on our way in, glance at the notice board ('merengue cabaret','room available for recording studio') and take a look at the customers down the aisles, we will see that even when they are doing something mundane, the local Williamsburg residents have styles that are the substantial evidence of an aestheticized lifestyle. In the chilled meat and dairy section the bubble reappears around this microcosm of Williamsburg where experimental fashion seems safe and real again and the armies to the West have retreated, at least through dinnertime.


1. Steph's skirt is by United Bamboo. Everything else is from her own closet.

2. Mikal's pink shirt is by Clarendon. The other stuff belongs to him.

3. Stephanie wears a skirt by United Bamboo. The rest of the clothes are her own.

4. Mikal's shirt is by Clarendon. Steph wears her own clothes.

5. Mikal wears a Clarendon shirt and Stephanie still has on the same United Bamboo skirt with her own clothes.

United Bamboo and Clarendon shirts can be found at
ISA 88 N 6th Street Brooklyn, NY 11211

6. Tim wears shirt by Matt Made in the U.S.A.

7. Jenny wears shirts by Clarendon and Taavo

8. Tim is wearing a shirt made by Matt Made in the U.S.A.
Jenny is wearing a shirt by Taavo.

9. Tim is wearing the Matt Made in the U.S.A. shirt still and Jenny is in the Taavo shirts that also have sayings such as 'Dependently Wealthy' and 'Destroy Electroclash' or he can also do any saying that you ever dreamed of having on an inside out second-hand t-shirt.

10. Tim is in a Matt made in the U.S.A top and Jenny is in a Taavo shirt. The rest of their clothes are their own.

STYLING: Sarah Frances Kuhn
CONCEPT: Sarah Frances Kuhn and Todd Netter
MODELS: Tim, Jenny, Stephanie, and Mikal

A special thanks to Michael at TOPS, which is located on N.6th in between
Berry and Wythe.

The witty Taavo t-shirts and Clarendon T-shirts, as well as Matt Made in the U.S.A's things are available a stone's throw away from Tops Supermarket at ISA. Please see above for location and contact details.

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Free Williamsburg© | 93 Berry Street | Brooklyn, NY 11211
[email protected] | June 2003 | Issue 39
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