Kinfolk has been occupying a significant slice of Williamsburg’s bustling Wythe Avenue for some time now, with their event and studio space at 90 Wythe and their adjacent Kinfolk 94, a multidisciplinary space with a menswear boutique at its front. The company’s clothing has a multifaceted basis in streetwear, sportswear, and heritage styles, offering a variety of pieces such as bold and colorful bomber jackets, pastel-hued blazers, Kinfolk-branded Adidas jerseys, and poppy graphic tees.
Born from a team who has lived in Los Angeles, France, Japan, and New York, the brand will now be dipping its toes into the land of the Brits via a “shop-in-shop” with London-based brand You Must Create (YMC). The collaboration brings about several firsts: it will be the first time the British clothing brand is selling their wares in New York, and since YMC offers both menswear and womenswear, it will be also the first time Kinfolk is selling any sort of womenswear collection in their store.
Kinfolk creative director Jey Perie tells me he’s had YMC on his radar for a while. “Once the store was up and running and I figured out what kind of customers we’re having, I was very confident that a brand like YMC would work well in Brooklyn,” he said.
Though Perie has acknowledged women often come into the store to shop for themselves (“Women are more likely to take risks,” he said in a 2014 Racked interview), the shop has never formally sold any sort of womenswear, until now.
This won’t be a permanent change just yet; the YMC womenswear will be sold at Kinfolk until October 5, while their menswear will go on to be a regular offering there for the season. “Kinfolk Store is always going to be mens-focused,” Perie told me. “But I think in the future we’ll definitely grow, slowly offering [womenswear], keeping it in the same kind of spirit.” He added, “It will never be a 50/50 kind of thing. First and foremost, we’re a men’s store– that’s what we know.”
Fittingly, YMC’s “Parallelogram” AW16 collection—commemorating the brand’s 20th anniversary—is inspired by the “transatlantic underground scene” of the 1960s. Designed by YMC’s founder Jimmy Collins and Fraser Moss, the collection mixes pieces like skate trousers and bucket hats with Chelsea boots and psychedelic-inspired ponchos, among others, to form a varied spread of sartorial selection.
Bringing an overseas brand to Williamsburg makes a lot of sense. During weekends, Perie says, his customers are “80% tourists from Europe, Japan, the rest of the US. It’s amazing how Williamsburg is becoming such an important part of New York in the tourist circuit. They’re great customers. They’re here to shop, they’re well-educated.” And Europe has less student debt, so I guess that means they’re more likely to be able to afford a $1,750 horsehide bomber jacket.
The YMC Parallelogram AW16 collection will be unveiled at a launch event tonight from 6 pm to 9 pm at Kinfolk’s 94 Wythe location in Williamsburg. More like an art opening for clothing rather than any kind of big party, Kinfolk staff and members of YMC will be there to show off the collection and interact with customers. And, of course, there will be wine.
Kinfolk remains a brand that does more than just clothes and chill gatherings. The next day, they’re having an in-store release party for designer Eric Elms’s new brand, Powers, and streetwear brand Brain Dead’s new line Drop 5, which will be followed by an afterparty at Kinfolk 90. It’s part of the NY Art Book Fair, so you can feel like you’re doing something intellectual. And at this rate, you can go from Kinfolk to Kinfolk to Kinfolk, rinse and repeat. Just never leave!
The You Must Create pop-up launch event will be tonight from 6 pm to 9 pm at Kinfolk 94, 94 Wythe Avenue, Williamsburg. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.