Archive for the ‘Inspired By’ Category

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.


Live, Work, Create. A New Tumblr

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

One of our favorite new projects we’ve been working on here in our studio and around Brooklyn is our new Tumblr: Live, Work, Create. Unlike most other Tumblrs that pull from other websites (something we don’t mind at all), LWC is comprised of content 100% produced by our design team. So pardon us if we’re a bit excited.

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

From the Archives

Monday, June 25th, 2012


We dug up a few print ads from the archives the other day from 2005 that still looked really great. The above pic was of BKI cofounder Lexy Funk shot by Ports Bishop in the style of a portrait from the medieval times. Shot in a studio on Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, this series was produced for the launch of our outerwear collection at the time.

The ad from this campaign taken the same year was inspired by the postwar German Fluxus artist, Joseph Beuys. On top of the sculptural elements, the graphic overlay also paid homage to the artist.

And this last one speaks for itself. Live, Work, Create – our motto we still live by. Compare that with Banana Republic’s old ads.

New BKI Sunglasses on La Jetée

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012


What’s our favorite accessory for the summer? Shades. While summertime in Brooklyn is legendary, the bright sun can be brutal – especially after the endless rooftop BBQs, Rockaway trips, and late night dance parties. When we’re feeling lethargic with our attire, sunglasses are always the easiest fixer upper for outfits. And with the protective case, they’re the perfect portable disguise – for whatever neighborhood you wake up in!

For our recent shoot in Greenpoint, we headed to the ferry landing with our cameras and shot a short movie inspired by the classic surrealist/post apocalyptic 60′s French film, La Jetée. On the vast expanse of the ferry landing, our models got to show off their thespian side, embracing and running down the pier in wedges and sunglasses, and dodging commuters with our photographer/CEO, Lexy Funk chasing after them with both hands on the camera – the perfect combination of hilarious, and dangerous.



The Seed Dress – Made in Brooklyn, Made to Bury

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

Do what you love. Know your own bone; gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw it still. – Henry David Thoreau

While we love designing garments and bags and making them available for people to purchase, sometimes it’s fun to do things just for the sake of doing it. A few months ago, a bunch of us were sitting around the studio when Aaron, our Women’s Designer told us about this great company called Greenaid in California that his friends run that makes Seedbombs, and how we should write about them on our blog. Our CEO, Lexy suggested that instead of just promoting them, we should use them to make something. It was then that the idea for the Seed Dress was sown.

Three dresses were then designed and handmade by Aaron and our design team to be put on display in our Union Square, Smith Street, and Park Slope store to celebrate Earth Day, after which a ceremonial burial will take place at a nearby park. All the components of the dresses are earth friendly, from the locally sourced organic cotton voile, to the seeds embedded in fabric cut into flower shapes. The beads themselves act as the enclosures eliminating any zippers or plastic buttons. Aaron’s inspirations for the design drew from spring, femininity, and environmentalism, and the look is slightly vintage, girlish, and light, with a modern fit and styling – a design that would look great both on a woman and underground.

For Seedsbombs you can purchase, check out our Seedbomb bracelets and vending machines available in stores at Union Square, Smith Street, and Park Slope.

Brooklyn Roasting Company and Brooklyn Industries Brew Up the Java Tote

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

This week, we’re proud to launch the newest item in our Made In Brooklyn series, the Java Tote.  The idea sprung from a coffee bag that our Creative Director, Vahap Avsar found while on a recent visit to Turkey. During a midday coffee break across the street at our favorite coffee spot, Brooklyn Roasting Company, we noticed a bunch of coffee bags spread all over the floor with amazing graphics on them, and before we knew it, one of the owners was kindly offering us a few to take with us to experiment with. It was a great moment of supply and demand harmoniously synchronizing.

Brooklyn Roasting Company

We took the bags back to our studio and began cutting and sampling, immediately noticing that each graphic looked different based on how we cut the bag. The graphics themselves were a mystery to us – where did they come from, who designed them, or what thought went into the designs? For a company that normally labors over graphics for long periods of time, we were happy to embrace the mystery of the designs’ origins, and were loving the different designs each cut produced.

The limited edition bag comes with either a pink, American manufactured handle that provides an appealing contrast between organic and industrial, or an Italian, black leather handle. A 100% cotton lining and a recycled Jute outer shell finish each upcycled, unisex bag.

Each bag’s distinct design was created from a variety of coffee sacks coming from Bali, Mexico, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Papua New Guinea or Peru. With the launch of this bag, Brooklyn Industries partnered with an organization that supports farmers within those very areas. The brand joined forces with the Kiva organization due to their mission to bring about change within the farming industry by directing the economic cycle back to farmers. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the Java Tote will go to Kiva.

Learn more about the each bag’s country of origin here, or shop the Java Tote here.

Prepare for the Crash Bag

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Following on the heels of the well-received Sunnyside Bag, we’re excited to announce the release of our newest item in our Made In Brooklyn line, the Crash Bag. The design of the signature handbag drew inspiration from J.G. Ballard’s 1973 novel, Crash, which was designed to directly reflect the themes present in Ballard’s novel, and at its most basic level, resembles the twisted metal remnants of a highway accident. The collision of humanity and technology, and the effects of modernity are represented by the combination of high-end materials and heavy duty industrial fabric used to create the bag. The artistic craftsmanship of the Vachetta Italian leather handles and trims are layered on top of the hand painted industrial canvas that has been hand cut and sewn one piece at a time to create a limited edition bag rooted in a Pop concept.

Shop the Crash Bag instores or online here.

Saraghina Shares a Passion for Repurposed Furniture – and Delicous Pizza!

Thursday, January 26th, 2012

Saraghina 435 Halsey St.

While most diners flock to Saraghina for its outstanding pizza, this quaint restaurant in Bed Stuy also provides a unique setting that our waiter gushed as both “charming and sexy”. Taking cues from the neighborhood it resides in, Saraghina’s décor is constructed from found and repurposed tables, cupboards, and chairs (on both the floors and the ceiling) that are often found lying around the streets of Bed Stuy. Designed by the previous owner Massimiliano Nanni and his wife, Paola Citterio, the restaurant and its furnishings are painted in a classic black and white palette to tie the aesthetic together. Throw in a wood-fed brick oven alongside the salvaged furniture, and not only will you get a stomach full of some of the most delicious pizza in New York, but a head full of DIY design ideas.

With an opportunity to design the spaces in our stores, we also get excited about the possibilities of incorporating upcycling, like in our Philly store where we constructed fixtures from shipping palettes and tables from thrift store finds. Find out more about some of our upcycling designs here.

BKI Philly 1525 Walnut Street

Our Bag Designer, Nancy Phan, Discusses the Making of the Sunnyside Bag.

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011