Freeman and Manhattan feels like the boondocks, especially for me who happens to live in the “other” Greenpoint. However, the trek was worth it.
Tucked in a nondescript building on Freeman St, lies Artifact. : Cozy from the outside, cozier on the inside. Exposed brick walls, reclaimed shelves and hand-made copper pipe racks are reminiscent of the lost art of workmanship of years past.
The ever-so-mysterious logo of an hourglass encircled by an Ouroboros, fully encapsulates the goodies that Artifact. has: timeless vintage. The store houses works of local artists and designers, novelty items and found objects, as well as hard-to-find zines and books. The owner Josephine Trzaska and her partner Timothy Aaron Huston, both designers in their respective fields, have been roomies and friends for years.
Artifact. is the product of their meticulous eye for design and fused aesthetics. It was such a pleasure to sit down with them and pick their brains over beers in their wonderful store.
GP: What was the history behind artifact? What was the concept behind it?
TAH: The history is that Jodie and I both had cool collections of weird interesting objects, books, housewares, etc. and when I moved in with her a couple years ago, we always had fun showing stuff to each other, then we started talking about creating a brand of found objects turned into furniture and functional art called Hüska (Huston+Trzaska), which is still a future idea … but then we also talked about how cool it would be to actually be able to sell vintage/new stuff that we like, sort of turning our hoarding tendencies into something productive! Fast forward a year or so, she found this space and then we sort of melded the ideas, and 155 Freeman is just Phase One of our Big Plan.
GP: I know you guys have been open for a while, but when is the official opening?
A: We are having the Grand Opening on Feb 28th. RSVP! Special thanks to Dandelion Wines for sponsoring the refreshments!
GP: What sets Artifact. apart from the other vintage stores in Greenpoint/ Williamsburg area? What’s the main focus/ outstanding feature of the store?
TAH: I think Artifact has a distinct personality and we are both VERY particular and idiosyncratic. Oh, and of course the other designers we’ve collected bring their own flavor into the mix as well. The media has picked up on the PBR lip balm as a focus, but that was actually an afterthought. Jodie had them, and I threw them in a little box and marked $5 each on it. I mean there’s not a real focus per se, it’s an amalgamation—we aren’t trying to be the “vintage” store or the “place where you get ………” Things may change with time, things come and go, but you should always get a certain feeling when you visit Artifact. We want to be a destination for the unexpected, and push the boundaries a bit. We aren’t here for “sellable” and “safe” — if we both like it, and it sends out the right vibes, we’ll jump on it. Jodie is psychic and I have a visceral reaction towards clothing & objects I like, so we have a sort of second sense that says “yes” or “no” — not sure if that answers the question. Continue reading →
Beth: I always loved cheese when I was growing up, but when I was in my 20s I discovered *real* cheese. I fell in love with the infinite flavor variations that can come from a few simple ingredients, and became fascinated with the science, history and culture that accounts for all the different styles of cheese across the world. Continue reading →
If you’ve met me, you know I am as tall as a super model (among the little people population) so all my jeans need a hemming. I went to Loren, over on Nassau & Manhattan and while perfectly fitting me, I got to chatting with Loren Cronk, the owner. I’ d heard through the grapevine he had worked for Ralph Lauren, my current employer, but that is not where his long journey that ended him up here in Greenpoint began.
Aside from employment over the years by Levi’s, Polo, Rocawear, Ecko Unltd (my last employer) & Lip Jeans, he launched his own start-ups: Bilt, Beta Project & Civic Movement. With a resume like this, Loren doesn’t consider himself a “fashion designer,” but we can at least call him a denim designer, since he designs his own Soldier & Brave line, which he sells along with a few other brands as well as vintage and custom denim in the store.
Specializing in denim has been successful for Loren’s Greenpoint shop rather than designing full clothing lines. Aside from the financial benefits of a business tailored to creating one kind of product, he is able to work on his own terms. To focus so closely on materials, fits and washes and because his customers buy directly from him, he gets real time feedback, not from a fit model (with perfect proportions), but from real people who wear his jeans.
Aside from selling denim, Loren specializes in custom jeans, for customers he calls “denim heads,” as well as denim repair, which is why I was visiting the shop.
A new product are these awesome denims bags he creates in the store with 19oz “hard to find” Japanese salvage denim in 4 different styles and sizes and the straps are made from old leather belts. With computer compartments, they are perfectly sturdy for toting around your laptop. Most wearable denim is made in the 14oz variety.
He carries local designers as well. The baristas over at 5 Leaves, Carlos and Alston, hand paint onto vintage denim vests; the themes are based on made-up games.
And when Loren isn’t busy working in the shop and hanging around the neighborhood with his family (he lives 3 blocks away), he is out searching for killer vintage finds, like this rad eagle vest or this bad ass autographed Rod Stewart jacket he proudly showcases in the store window.
Its technically in Greenpoint, just across the BQE and before Richardson, and its technically awesome. Slow Fax is a new vintage clothing store on Graham, still in the 11222. With colorful signage and confetti glittering the sidewalk, this store is approachable from the outside and fall-in-loveable once you get in.
Karla, shop owner, is not only pinch her cheeks adorable and a sweetheart, but she knows how to buy vintage clothes that look contemporary and not like you raided granny’s closet. They also sell new designer goods, magazines, records and amazing artwork.
Its good vibes and good shopping.
Q & A with Karla from SLOWFAX:
GP: Where are you from?
K: I was born in central Brazil but moved to SF when I was just itsy bitsy.
GP: How did you find yourself in NY?
K: The people are good and I grew impatient with west coast living.
GP: Why Greenpoint?
K: Greenpoint’s charms are reminiscent of the Northwest which is were I most recently moved from but with a faaaaar more diverse culture. Love it.
GP: You stay open until 12am?
K: I’m a night owl, I can’t be the only one, right? …plus sometimes you’re out, you hate your outfit, and I thought wouldn’t be great if there was a spot to change en route?
GP: Aside from Vintage, what else do you sell?
K: SLOWFAX features one clothing designer, jeweler, and artist rotating quarterly.
Currently in the shop we’re showing off Heaven, an upcycle line from KAILA NILES who works/resides in Berkeley, CA. We carry COCO GANG’S Rose and Bows bags made right over on the island and WINDY FREDA’S jewelry all the way from Marfa, TX. We sell Magazines! Write Here Right Now, a quarterly was celebrating their third issue: 35 Stories based on 7 sentences. MORE HERE: http://writehererightnow.tumblr.com OH! AND WE HAVE RECORDS …
GP: Tell us about the artwork on the walls? K: Luca Nino Antonucci is currently our featured artist. He’s an extremely romantic nerd with a rude (as in rad) sense of humor. For you’re viewing pleasure we’re showing “From Here to There,” repetitions on compact core galaxy M87 (screen prints). His work is exceptional, check it: http://itwillbeok.com