Archive for the ‘Behind the Design’ Category

Carry On…

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

Like superheroes, all companies have their origin story. For Brooklyn Industries, it began with two young artists – Vahap Avsar and Lexy Funk in a Chelsea apartment in 1996. Staring out the window, Avsar often found his gaze landing on an old Marlboro billboard that had been weathered from months and months in the New York weather.

Sifer-Chyper, 1991, Vahap Avsar

Drawing inspiration from his large body of work that mostly concentrated on the semiotics of visual language, 3rd world bricolage, and upcycling art from common objects, Avsar began sewing the bags in their apartment, and when demand outgrew their tiny quarters, the partners moved to a warehouse in the then gritty Williamsburg where they worked and lived without heat or air conditioning. When the amount of knocks on their warehouse door became untenable, Funk and Avsar opened a retail space that was to become the genesis for Brooklyn Industries.

Last year, the company began re-establishing production in Brooklyn with one craftsman and one sewing machine making one bag at a time. One year later, we’ve set up a small production facility at our current headquarters in Brooklyn called Factory, and are celebrating it with the re-release of the Crypto Billboard Bag. Prior to the re-release of the original line, we’ve released a number of new designs made in house this past year, including the Sunnyside Bag, the Java Tote, and the Corlear Bag. As an added bonus, each bag comes with a limited edition, numbered screen printed poster commemorating the re-release.

Each custom-made, waterproof messenger bag is completely unique with its own different cuts and decontextualized designs. With digital advertisements dominating the visual landscape, Avsar sought to bring back a sense of nostalgia towards tactile messaging. The Crypto bag line is the latest in Brooklyn Industries’ new releases that is helping the company establish a greater local manufacturing presence.

Behind The Design: Japanese Schoolgirl Meets Nouvelle Vague – The Domino Dress

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Shop the Domino Sheer & Pleated Shirtdress

Brooklyn Brewery x Brooklyn Industries: 2 Brooklyn Institutions Come Together for a Night of Dancing

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Mark your calendars – on Tuesday, October 23rd, Brooklyn Brewery and Brooklyn Industries are teaming up to throw a good ol’ fashion Williamsburg DANCE Party at the Brewery’s beautiful brick warehouse. We’ve always been partial to their beer (our recycling bin can personally attest to that), so we were especially excited when they gave us a call and asked us to design a new shirt for them – we one upped them and made two!

The first design, Neighborhood Pint is inspired by the many flavors of the different Brooklyn neighborhoods, that when put together create this great borough of ours. The design also includes the now iconic Milton Glaser Brooklyn Brewery logo.

For the second shirt Beer Tower, our Graphic Designer channeled her father’s old beer stein collection. They say our parents shape who we are, and for Meagan, it’s definitely true, as she brought back six of them from her trip to Belgium last month. “When I first saw a watertower, I thought, ‘how good would it be if it were filled with beer?’ ” Perhaps one day, our two companies can make Meagan’s dream come true.

On Tap – Brooklyn Brewery x Brooklyn Industries

Tuesday, October 23rd from 7:30pm to 10:30pm

Brooklyn Brewery

79 N.11th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn

RSVP at:

The Corlear Bag: a Little Grit, a Lot of Style

Friday, October 12th, 2012

In our opinion, New York City isn’t the same without a little bit of grit to it. That’s why for our new line of made in-house bags, we turned to Corlear’s Hook, an area in the Lower East Side that was originally a Lenape tribe territory, and was settled by the Dutch family Corlaer in the 1600′s. The land was situated on the East River directly across from the Brooklyn Navy Yard and our headquarters in nearby DUMBO, and served as a vital navigation landmark for over 300 years. In the early 1800′s, it became the stomping grounds for many a streetwalker and was the etymological inspiration for the term “hooker”.

There’s a little bit of that Dutch design sensibility incorporated into the design, mixed with a little maritime influence. The collection is 100% cotton canvas with no environmentally damaging fluoropolymers or formaldehyde, with a wax finish and saddle leather trim. All three utilitarian styles: back pack, messenger and tote are perfect for daily use, whether you’re trekking to work or out and about around town.


The Postcard Tees Series by Vahap Avsar

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Ali Men’s Graphic T-Shirt

Ali is regarded as a hero by the Sufis in Turkey and posters of this picture used to be hung in almost every Sufi households. Ali was the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. In Muslim culture, he is respected for his courage, knowledge, unbending devotion to Islam, and equal treatment of all Muslims. The image disappeared when the printing company that created the posters in Istanbul went out of business in 1999. As part of his project Lost Pictures, Brooklyn Industries Creative Director Vahap Avsar found the iconic images and started repainting and reintroducing them. This Ali painting was reproduced and the posters were given away at Avsar’s museum show in Berlin this year where the lost images came back into circulation.

Snapshot – Introducing The Click Bag

Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

Kentucky Flood by Margaret Bourke-White

The initial interest in the design of Brooklyn Industries’ new Click Bag line stemmed from our CEO and photographer Lexy Funk’s interest in the historical position of women in photography. Since photography was considered more picture making than an artform in the early days, women were better represented in the field compared to other artforms. Working commercially as documentarians, images from photographers like Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White, the first female war correspondent are now considered artistic treasures.

Our bag designer was also inspired by the boxy camera bags these women carried that seemed timeless in style. The brown color was a nod to more classic, vintage camera bags, while the patent red and blue bags were more of a nod to mod.

The Click Bag - Made in NYC


Behind the Design: The Atticus Parka

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

I wanted to create a heavy duty canvas parka for Fall that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. The Atticus Parka is chock-full of style elements like a quilted pocket and yoke, genuine leather trimmed pockets, and double cuffed sleeves with thumbholes to keep the wind out and your hands free. I designed it for transitional weather with lasting style in mind. -Dale, Senior Designer

Behind The Design – The Abyss Peacoat

Friday, August 24th, 2012

The Abyss Peacoat

Fall has to be my favorite time of the year – the weather has cooled down and I can finally layer again! One of my favorite fall to winter staples is my wool pea coat – it is warm, can be worn with versatility and is always stylish. For fall I designed a fun new take on this classic style, but with a little tougher/cooler, sexy edge. I changed up the silhouette, cropping the body and added some motorcycle jacket inspired details. But by far my favorite feature on the jacket is the contrast shiny patent leather under collar. If you are feeling so bold, flip it up for a playful reveal or if you are inclined to be subtle just let it peek for a flirtier look. Other fine details include matte painted metal traditional anchor buttons and warm quilted interior lining with contrast pop stitching. -Aaron, Women’s Designer

An Optical Allusion

Thursday, August 9th, 2012

For this print, I was inspired by Morse code, and started out with the dots and dashes of the word Brooklyn:

 -… .-. — — -.- .-.. -.– -.  

Once I began layering, splicing and reshuffling them, the  shape intersections and overlapping made it even more visually interesting. The simplicity of the graphic elements lent themselves to our classic hoodie body in a simple, sophisticated colorway. Made from 100% cotton, The Optical Printed Hoodie will only get more comfy as you wear it. -Meagan, Graphic Designer

Do You Dream of the Beach?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

We do! The Riptide Tote is our designer’s recreation of the blue gradients from water crashing on the shore, and if you look closely at the bag, you’d have a difficult time telling the difference between the two. The different hues are also inspired by the vivid blues of the ocean from the view of an airplane. Each bag has a unique tidal effect depending on how we dip it in the dye bucket. The Riptide comes with either an aqua strap, or a pink strap to create the image of a beach at sunset.

 photo by Helena Fang at Jacob Riis Landing/Fort Tilden

A Brooklyn Weekend Getaway

Last weekend my friends and I planned the most ultimate staycation with two days of beaching and one day of camping in the woods. The day started with a 9 a.m. ferry ride on the American Princess to Jacob Riis Landing where we enjoyed a much less crowded part of Rockaway Beach. The water was surprisingly clear and once I got over my initial paranoia about there being some minute East River residue, I jumped in and embraced my inner pisces. This being my first beach visit of the season I made sure to get my year’s dose of vitamin D before we biked over the bridge to Floyd Bennett Field to set up camp. We played some wiffle ball, grilled and rested up for another day of summer bliss. Unfortunately none of us got much sleep because some bird began screaming from a tree above us at 6 a.m. sharp. I am not a morning person so my romanticization of a Walden retreat ended there and soon enough we were back on the beach until we had to catch the last ferry out. Did I mention you can get bloody marys on the American Princess Cruise? Best staycation ever.  -Helena, e-Commerce Merchandiser

Clearer waters in South Brooklyn

Livin’ the lumberjack dream