Just weeks after the opening of Georgia caused us to remark on Orchard Street’s “increasingly stylish” southernmost block, Billykirk is opening its first brick-and-mortar store across the street.
Back when Gargyle was at 16 Orchard Street, it consistently reordered vintage-industrial-inspired leather goods and accessories from Billykirk. So when Gargyle closed and moved to DUMBO, brothers Chris and Kirk Bray figured the vacant storefront was a good location for the brand they started in Los Angeles in 1999.
The Brays moved to the East Coast in 2005 (they now work out of a studio in Jersey City), and have since found a whole new array of devotees as well as suppliers. “Being able to work with the Amish in Pennyslvania has been a neat experience,” said Chris, explaining that they make a lot of the brand’s small leather goods, as well as bags and belts. “It’s like the 1840s. Everyone wants to be ecofriendly – they’re about as ecofriendly as you can get.”
At the store, some of those items made with antique tools and old-world techniques will be for sale, and you’ll also be able to engrave as well as customize items like hand-stitched card cases by selecting your preferred colors of leather, cording and snaps. The store will also carry some third-party products.
The Bray brothers say they’re excited to join friends Alexander Olch and Anna Sheffield — not to mention incomers like Pies ‘N Thighs — in a micro hood that New York magazine recently said is “feeling more and more like Brooklyn.”
“Just hearing about all the restaurants that are coming in, and with the boutique hotel [on the corner], it just seemed like, all right, rent is still affordable… You go five blocks north and it’s whoa, $15,000 to $20,000.”
Billykirk is expected to open sometime next month.