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.