"The more the merrier" is an idea that's trending in fashion these days, with the reemergence of design collectives (in lieu of one designer), à la Belgium’s infamous Antwerp Six. Consider the steady reign of Vetements, the label designed by Georgian brothers Demna and Guram Gvasalia, along with five other friends.
However, since 2008, there’s been another type of collective forming on a particularly hip stretch of Williamsburg real estate—one that involves not just fashion design, but the curation of experiences involving our other essentials: food and music. Enter Kinfolk, a brand formed by friends across the globe (New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo) that’s geared toward creating products and events they desperately wanted but couldn’t find. In their own words, Kinfolk is “a café by day, bar by night” that moonlights as an exhibition space and pop-up storefront, too.
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Any Brooklynite worth their salt will be familiar with the name, as they throw some of the greatest dance parties around (and not of the usual over-hyped variety) in two adjacent spaces: Kinfolk 90 and the larger Kinfolk 94. But in recent months, it’s their streetwear that’s garnered the most attention—the result, perhaps, of great design colliding with millennials’ growing interest in urban, unisex style. Be it the perfect bomber, beanie, or sweatshirt, Kinfolk has it all, with products that will have both you and your guy friends pining.
French creative director Jey Perie heads up this effort, infusing the line with a global appeal inspired by his own experiences living everywhere from Barcelona to Tokyo. As he told Breaks Magazine, "I've learned to appreciate life as a guest. I like being an immigrant," highlighting that perpetual-outsider status that the diverse population of New York can certainly relate to. And Perie is well aware of that diversity, further pointing out: "Every neighborhood in Brooklyn has its own style and identity. There is definitely a certain style that defines Brooklynites, but the nuance within that style is endless."
Indeed, it would be difficult to truly categorize "Brooklyn style," but the team at Kinfolk is certainly onto something. Given the masculine bent of the designs, I reached out to Perie to find out if any female-centric clothing was in the works. "The clothes are designed with a male body in mind, but the real beauty of personal style is in the way the same garment fits over different shapes and sizes," he told me. "We are a menswear label, but we’ve been fortunate to garner a dedicated following among women who enjoy styling men's clothing. That being said, we are in the process of implementing a more a universal fit to our collection, one that works for both our male and female audience." Consider that music (something funky, spilling out under the disco ball at Kinfolk 94) to our ears.
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