Could a shopping outcropping be taking place on Greenpoint's Franklin Avenue? Joining the ranks of its neighboring Brooklyn hoods, Greenpoint, too, seems to be under the spell of urban changeover. And the newly opened shop Alter is likely just the beginning of more fashion-friendly additions to come. Owners Tommy Cole and Roy Caires, friends from fashion school in Boston, share an obsession with taking what's old and making it new, but wait…it's not as typical as you think.
They started their collection This Old Thing? three years ago reworking men's vintage items into elegant bespoke conversation pieces. Their miniscule storefront, a former house of ill-repute, is now a two-room shop and an homage to their elegant recut-and-resewn obsession. It's filled with their deconstructed designs, as well as a smattering of jeans and T-shirts from Cheap Monday, exclusive champagne-diamond jewelry from Fetty ($45-$125), and hand-picked men's and women's vintage ($25-$100). Found objects get the same once-over. Like the trench that became a cropped jacket ($98), an old wooden chair sawed in half becomes an artful display with black roses, one-of-a-kind sweatshirts, and, even, a sweater dress ($120).
Look straight through the unfinished dividing wall, hung with perfect plaid flannels ($20-$45), to a handhewn wooden, well, altar, which serves as a desk or DJ booth. The back wall is hand-painted by Tommy with large, graphic, jumbled words. "We work almost hand-to-mouth and on demand," said Roy about their offerings. Merchandise is added weekly, but the lot is essentially seasonless and based on what they find in the Goodwill that week. Funny enough, their creativity is unmistakably catching—after a visit, you'll find your own mind churning with new ideas about what they should do next.
A new shop points the way to a more retail-ready Greenpoint.