Welcome to the open-air shopping mall that is New York City. This fashion capital of the United States attracts both designers and style-savvy clientele to its maze of boutique-lined streets, in search of ready-to-wear fashion and bespoke brands.
With so many alluring shops to choose from, who are the New York based designers of note? Allow me to introduce you. By Kasia Dietz
Kim Phan opened the Yumi Kim flagship store in New York’s Lower East Side in 2008, just four years after launching her brand. Feminine, floral and imbued with colours, Yumi Kim is both playful and sophisticated, representing the downtown woman.
Phan states, “My greatest reward is knowing every woman who wears my designs feels like the best version of herself.” Following the swimwear launch in 2017, Yumi Kim added bridal and maternity collections to her fashionable roster. Yumi Kim, 105 Stanton Street, New York, NY 10002, +1 212 420 5919, yumikim.com
Coming from a long line of shoemakers, French native Sandra Canselier founded shoe brand Coclico in the year 2000. Modern and minimalist in design, the selection includes a sculptural array of timeless leather shoes and boots.
Canselier maintains the traditional approach to shoemaking, with each pair made sustainably and ethically of the finest materials. Headquartered in New York and produced in a family-run factory in Spain, Coclico represents living consciously, artfully and elegantly. Coclico, 275 Mott Street, New York, NY 10012, +1 212 965 5462, coclico.com
A designer at the core, Canadian-born Megan Kinney opened up Meg in 1994, filled with creative energy and fresh out of design school. Her East Village boutique quickly became a fashionable staple in the neighbourhood.
Kinney’s comfortably chic womenswear dresses women of all body types and ages, proving that fashion can last, and dress, generations. Meg also supports and stocks a selection of woman-owned accessory brands. Meg, 312 E 9th Street, New York, NY 10003, +1 212 260 6329, megshops.com
A jewellery designer for the stars and for who the sky is the limit, Crystal Streets is an inspired soul on a journey to create luxurious jewellery for the modern woman. Crystal Streets Fine Jewelry, launched in 2014, features custom-made necklaces, earrings and rings made of solid gold with sparkling diamonds. Her latest collection celebrates the power of SHE (Solar Healing Energy).
This contemporary line hand-crafted in 18K rose gold, diamonds, and pink sapphires, features delicate details inspired by women’s innate power. As Streets says, “What I love most about designing jewellery is that it tells a story.” Crystal Streets Showroom, 15 W 47th ST suite 803, New York, NY 10036, crystalstreets.com
Minimalist inspired brand Grammar was born out of need. Concluding that the perfect garments for her life didn’t yet exist, Althea Simons set out to design them herself, while keeping in mind her philosophy that integrity of a design is equally defined by its ecological impact.
Simons perfect wardrobe essentials began, and ended, with the white shirt. Made locally and sustainably of 100% organic cotton, this collection of 8 tailored white shirts is a staple for any well-dressed woman. Grammar, grammarnyc.com
Rachel Comey’s fashion-forward designs are driven by the relationship between fabrics and the diversity of the women wearing her clothing. Since launching her brand in 2001, Comey continues to create unexpected looks that catch the eye of Hollywood moms and an international array of consumers looking for statement pieces.
An artist at heart, with an ethical mind, one of the questions her team often asks is, “How can we look at traditional techniques and craftsmanship from a modern perspective and reinvigorate the artisanal communities that maintain these crafts?” Rachel Comey, 95 Crosby Street, New York, NY 10012, +1 212 334 0455, rachelcomey.com
Israeli-born ready-to-wear fashion designer Nili Lotan launched her namesake brand in 2003 and has been dressing a roster of A-list clientele ever since. Lotan’s luxuriously stylish separates, with leather jackets and pants among them, are both fashionable and timeless. Not afraid to push gender boundaries, Nili Lotan blends masculine with feminine in each of her collections.
These days you might catch sight of the designer wearing the High Rise Striped Skinny jeans paired with the Jaley leather jacket in a look that Lotan calls “rocker chic”. Nili Lotan, 188 Duane Street, New York NY 10013, +1 212 219 8794, nililotan.com
Upon launching his eponymous label in 2018, Peter Do began breaking the fashion rules, or rather, creating his own. Do’s uniform for the modern woman, in which he takes basics and re-imagines them, is founded on tailoring, construction, and fine textiles.
His latest colourful collection recalls the work of artists including Mark Rothko, Ellworth Kelly, and Clyfford Still, exploring the relationships between tone and shape. His fur and shearling pillowcase bags and multi-chain crystal necklace make a statement of their own. Peter Do, peterdo.net
Creative duo Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhausstarted their label EckhausLatta in 2011, blending fashion, entertainment and the arts. Often considered underground both for their edgy approach to design and their unique fashion week experiences, Latta explains, “We want people who wear our clothes to feel like (our clothes) are adding to them, not defining them.”
Their latest collection dressing both men and women is all about unexpected shapes and textures, creating a look of wearable art. EckhausLatta, 75 East Broadway #206, New York, NY 10002, +1 212 796 2400, eckhauslatta.com
Believing that women should not have to choose between feeling good and looking great, Sarah Flint launched her shoe brand in 2013. Both comfortable and classically elegant, Flint brings artisanal quality to women’s footwear by manufacturing each pair by hand in Italian workshops.
With such a wide selection of boots, flats and heels in a range of leathers where comfort isn’t sacrificed for style, Sarah Flint’s following is strong, celebrities included. Sarah Flint, 372 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012, +1 866 237 8760, sarahflint.com
Chilean-born Maria Cornejo discovered her independent point of view in the design world upon moving to New York in 1998 and opening creative atelier Zero + Maria Cornejo. By cutting fabrics based on simple geometric forms, Cornejo began creating wearable luxury for the modern woman.
It has been said of her work, “In Maria Cornejo’s hands, minimalism is not a bland word… her clothes have a sleek sophistication and always a sense of surprise.” Zero Maria Cornejo, 33 Bleeker Street, New York, NY 10012, +1 212 925 3849, zeromariacornejo.com
Cynthia Rowley built her eponymous brand on the philosophy that fashion should be an adventure. Following her own adventurous nature, Rowley inspires women to take risks and live life fearlessly.
Throughout her decades long design career, Cynthia Rowley’s pretty-meets-sporty collections have expanded to include ready-to-wear, surf, swim, fitness, accessories, and home decor. The latest collections include signature wetsuits and neoprene swimwear, produced using recycled materials and green technology. Cynthia Rowley, 394 Bleeker Street, New York, NY 10014, +1 212 242 3803, cynthiarowley.com
Maryam Nassir Zadeh launched her namesake store in 2008 on the Lower East Side, where this Iranian’s minimalist designs are featured alongside a well-curated selection of independent designers. The MNZ label embodies a modern take on vintage-inspired clothing, shoes and handbags.
Her hand-crafted jewellery made of blown glass can easily be considered art. One thing is clear, Zadeh is not afraid of mixing colours and textures to create an element of surprise. Maryam Nassir Zadeh, 123 Norfolk Street, New York, NY 10002, +1 212 673 6405, mnzstore.com ◼
© This article was first published in Dec-Jan 2020 edition of World Travel Magazine.