If you, like us, have a drawer full of t-shirts that shrank in the wash or tragically stained with ramen-burger sauce (or both), listen up. After a launch party tonight, you’ll be able to head into Greenpoint’s newest art gallery anytime this month and get your favorite tee turned into a snazzy hat.
Allow us to explain.
When Brian Downey’s dream of starting his own clothing line was thwarted by high piece minimums at the factories he approached, he reached back to his DIY roots. After dabbling in making hand-dyed, organic-cotton T-shirts, he started experimenting with making sustainable five-panel hats from various materials. “After a while I didn’t really have any more material so I looked in my closet to see what I could cut up and use,” Downey says. “I tried a shirt and it came out awesome. I got obsessed and transformed 90 percent of the shirts in my closet.”
The Florida native has started a Kickstarter to fund his San Francisco-based company, Falcon Bowse’s latest project: pledge $50 and you get a stamped envelope and pattern kit so you can apply it to your favorite t-shirt. Send it in and you’ll get it back a few weeks later repurposed as a hat.
Downey’s a natural maker. “When I was a kid I would melt crayons and sell them to the other kids as skate wax,” he says. It was something he learned from his mother who began purifying water and making clothes, soaps, detergents and toothpaste from all-natural, chemical-free materials when his youngest of three sisters was born with life-threatening birth defects and allergies (18 years later, she’s living a healthy life).
Downey’s Kickstarter has been so well received that he’s already raised the money he was aiming for. Among his supporters are Rachael Yaeger, who has given her newly opened Human gallery over to him to use as a pop-up shop. Tonight at 7 p.m., there’ll be a launch party sponsored by local businesses like Mast Brothers Chocolate. Before Downey’s residency ends at the end of the month, you can bring him your favorite shirt along with $30 and walk away with a Falcon Bowse original in about an hour. He’ll be at 110 Meserole from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.