There was a time when names like Vena Cava or Phillip Lim were hard to come by (remember if you will). But the rise of the indie designer has made it possible now for lesser-known names to become major players in the fashion trenches. On the flip side it makes breaking into the market that much harder?which is where NoLIta's newest retail addition, Début, comes in.
Part store, part gallery, owner and F.I.T grad Lisa Weiss became inspired by all the budding talent she saw during her school days, and felt there was a need for a retail space that could properly showcase these undiscovered talents. "There is so much fantastic talent out there, and I realized the Début platform was a real necessity," says Weiss. And the shop owner's stock list reads like a United Nations of up-and-coming fashion with labels from as far as India (Cue) to as close as Williamsburg (French Me), and some names are slightly familiar, like Caroline Hedaya and E.Y. Wada.
Designed by Zivkovic Connolly Architects, the shop is a departure from traditional retail, in that each designer is given their own display space. Other features, including a wall printed with the designer's names for that season, and individual description plates for each collection add to the installation vibe. "We wanted to create an experience that highlighted the uniqueness of each designer's artistry," says Weiss. Jewelry also has a strong presence with mixed metal and stone pieces from Experiment 101, an industrial line from Esha Soni of India's brand Poonam Soni, while clutches from Canadian Jessica Jensen and hats from Jill Courtenmanche round out the shop's mix of add-ons. As for future plans, Weiss will bring in new labels each season. "We're scouting for new designers absolutely everywhere," she says. "But you can't beat good old-fashioned word of mouth either."
Début, 298 Mulberry Street, no phone yet; www.debutnewyork.com.
A new venue for emerging designers breaks ground in NoLIta.