Yesterday, after two decades on East Sixth Street, Love Shine packed up its handmade bags and closed its doors. After hosting a farewell party last week, owner Mark Seamon spent his last days greeting customers who came to say goodbye and wish their best to a person who clearly touched his small corner of downtown’s vibrant scene.
Love Shine’s showroom opened in 1997; after ten years, it moved next door, to its present location. It closed after a 25-percent rent increase and “because the development of the neighborhood, change in demographics, along with the enormous rents and the rise in online shopping, have made it really difficult to sustain a small retail shop,” Mark told EV Grieve in February.
While he wished the brick-and-mortar store could continue, Mark’s home and studio is still nearby, so he’ll continue to create colorful designs in the neighborhood he loves.
For myself, visiting Mark was a trip down memory lane; I met him almost a decade ago when I was a wardrobe designer’s driver for movie and TV productions. Love Shine was a consistent place to get an original handbag, messenger bag or backpack and the pair of sewing machines in the back were always ready to add an extra detail. The results of these and other shopping journeys can be found in projects filmed during the early nineties to late aughts, when there were more of these little custom places in the East Village. Though all of Love Shine’s products will still be found on the internet, less and less New Yorkers will share the experience of hitting the pavement to find the most unique apparel and accessories.