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Couture Breathes New Life into Classical Music

November 22, 2011

Nouveau Classical Project (NCP) members backstage before their performance (Left to right: Mariel Roberts, cellist, and Samir Zarif, guest saxophonist) / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

The entryway to a five-by-nine dressing room glows backstage at the Galapagos Art Space in Dumbo, just a few blocks from the Brooklyn Bridge. Damp socks are scrunched into rain boots, and unlaced sneakers find edges in the tiny room. Street clothes are traded for hooded cloaks, draping mini-dresses, and velvet leotards with large puffy sleeves.

Members of the Nouveau Classical Project (NCP) were getting dressed for their October performance of “From the Margins, This, Unmentioned”—a musical work originally by Bryan Senti for a multimedia production that included music, video, poetry, and fashion. The eight-person ensemble re-created the piece, narrowing it down to two ordinarily independent components: classical music and fashion.

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Produced by Teresa Mahoney

DISCUSSION: BLENDING FASHION & CLASSICAL MUSIC

November 22, 2011

The Nouveau Classical Project explains the role fashion plays in classical music when it comes to performing and acquiring grants. The ensemble collaborates with fashion designers to create custom clothing to wear during their performances—a modern twist on the traditionally all black conservatory attire.

Hard Times for Wholesale T-shirt Hub

December 23, 2011

The upper floors of Building 1165, on 27th and Broadway, have been a hidden hub for wholesale T-shirts for nearly 30 years. Many tenants say high rent, volatile cotton prices and a down economy have threatened business [VIDEO]. / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

Naveed Ahmed adjusted his thick bifocals as he leaned into his lap with an X-acto knife. He was separating the perforated edges of a plastic decal, carefully peeling the excess material around several rows of lettering that read, “Jesus Was a Capricorn.” He placed the completed sheet in a pile on the four-tiered, ceiling-high storage shelf disguised as his desk. He repeated the process—59 times—to fulfill a custom-printed T-shirt order for a small, New York-based clothing company set to launch this holiday season.

Though Ahmed has mastered the detail-oriented process of custom printing—from decal-making to heat-pressing—he didn’t always perform such laborious work.

Ten years ago, he started a wholesale plain T-shirt business, similar to what the nearly 25 other tenants run in this five-story landmark building at 27th and Broadway.

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Produced by Teresa Mahoney

VIDEO: HARD TIMES FOR WHOLESALE T-SHIRT HUB

December 23, 2011

Volatile cotton prices, rising rent and a down economy have resulted in an approximate 50 percent drop in business for plain T-shirt wholesalers in Lower Midtown. 

Naveed Ahmed, owner of Cotton Mine, is one of about 25 business owners in a five-story wholesale T-shirt epicenter on 27th and Broadway who copes with declining sales. Within the last year he’s downsized his business and started offering custom printing services to differentiate himself from other vendors in the building.

Watch as Ahmed discusses the wholesale T-shirt business model while fulfilling a custom printing order for an emerging designer. 

Spandex House Attributes 20 Years in Business to Hindu God

November 29, 2011

Hindu god Hanuman / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

The notion of a fashion icon typically stirs thoughts of Madonna, Sarah Jessica Parker, or Lady Gaga.

For Spandex House, the stretch-fabric retailer located on 38th Street in the Garment District, their fashion icon is a bit older—by about 5,000 years.

Upstairs, beyond the scattered rainbow assortment of two-way and four-way stretch, mesh, and the other thousands of varieties of spandex; you’ll learn the definition of fashion icon in its purest form—a nearly five-foot, immaculately buffed and polished golden statue of Hanuman, the Hindu god of power and strength.

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November 29, 2011

SPANDEX GOD

Produced by Teresa Mahoney

Spandex House employee, Keshan Persaud, discovers an abandoned Hindu statue that helps bring the spandex fabric store economic success. Persaud explains the personal significance of a typical prayer to Hanuman, god of health and strength.  

Financial Industry Worker Digs to the Back of his Closet

November 25, 2011

Richard Ambrosio, JP Morgan trader, rotates through the collection of shoes he bought when he earned four times more / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

Forty-nine-year-old foreign exchange trader, Richard Ambrosio, has put shopping on the backburner. His scuffed brown shoes, $30 Macy’s sale shirt, and balling up wool jacket tells the story of how his shopping habits have changed since he was laid off almost eight years ago.

Ambrosio used to work for UBS making about $400,000 a year as a Wall Street broker. This year he was hired by JP Morgan Chase and earns about a quarter of what he used to—about $40,000 a year less than the median salary of a foreign exchange trader. To cope, he dresses from the large wardrobe he accumulated when times were brighter.

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Chanel’s New Microsite Has a Coloring Book

November 21, 2011

Chanel Camelia Flower Coloring Project / by Teresa Mahoney 

Is Chanel reaching out to younger consumers with a coloring book? Not quite. But their new microsite does have a section called Kid’s Space which offers a coloring book with seven imagesfrom clutch purse to stilettoto digitally color by selecting from a palette of 36 shades. 

The site was created to complement the “Culture Chanel” exhibit (running through December 13th) at Beijing’s National Art Museum of China. Over 400 works will be exhibited including paintings, drawings, jewelry, and some of Chanel’s historic private collections.

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Audio by Teresa Mahoney

OCCUPY FASHION

November 18, 2011

The Department of Sanitation cleaned out Zuccotti Park November 15th because it was deemed “unsanitary”. For one Occupy Wall Street protester, Sparrow Kennedy, that resulted in a big fashion faux-pas. Click to hear her account that involves a missing vintage Dior bag, lamb-skin gloves, and more of her favorite clothing.   

If there were a fashion award at Occupy Wall Street, Sparrow Kennedy would be in the running.

Just because winter’s creeping in and she’s had to sleep in a tent, that doesn’t mean she can’t be stylish. Kennedy selects a few key pieces—a wool coat, cashmere turtleneck, leg warmers, and cowl-neck scarf—to stay chic during the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Some of her favorite vintage clothing and coats were collected after the police raid this week, however. Despite the Department of Sanitation’s efforts to organize items for pick-up at their garage on West 56th Street, like many others, Kennedy was left empty-handed

Kennedy helps coordinate the Comfort Community for OWS which provides protesters with warm clothes and toiletries. She works with a $100 daily budget to put together care packages.

Even with the minor hiccup, Kennedy says she’s still passionate about the movement and won’t stop protesting.

Under the Tents: Runway Meets Occupy Wall Street

October 17, 2011

Sergio Davila model at Fashion Week / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

Occupy Wall Street protester / Photo by Teresa Mahoney

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