PLACEText: Rei Inamoto

The month of November marks the end of autumn and the beginning of the holiday season. The holiday season, to many people, means gathering of families, getting some rest. On the surface, that is. But in reality, the holiday season means shopping to a lot of people.

Back in January, I wrote about Prada taking over a cultural institution in downtown New York. Culture overwhelmed by commerce is an ironic yet unavoidable situation of a modern-day living in New York City. The trend of many fashion merchants nowadays such as Levi’s Red, Adidas, PONY, Stussy is to bring culture into commerce in order to 1) look cool and 2) sell their stuff.

ISA, a small clothing store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is one place where the line between commerce and culture seems to blur (on a much smaller scale than the Prada store in Soho, though). Many of the items on the rack, although they are likes of Missoni, St. Laurent, and Marc Jacobs, are hard-to-find vintage and “arty” pieces that bear unusual drawings and paintings on them. They even carry a pair of hand-painted Gucci loafers. Where else but in Williamsburg can you find such righteous items?

Isa does bring culture into commerce but not so overtly and does so very tastefully. The recent poster announcing their fall/winter 2003 collection is a black and white hand-drawn poster that humbly illustrates the brands they carry: Adidas Originals, Katayone Adeli, Paper

One Friday afternoon, I received an e-mail from a friend with an attachment. It read “A.P.C. Over stock sale in NYC.” A.P.C., French fashion label known for its simplicity of clothing style, is gaining popularity among New Yorkers. The next day, I headed over to the location where I found a line of people outside in the cold waiting to get in. My friends and I waited about an hour to get into the crowded space (which is usually a salon but for the occasion, they turned it into a rather crammed bare store). On the way out, I found this poster on their counter stacked rather carelessly.

What I appreciate about stores like Isa is the lack of pretentiousness. And it’s evident in things like posters that they use to advertise themselves. Let’s just hope that they remain way they are for a long time to come.

Address: 88 North 6th St., Brooklyn, NY 11249
Tel: +1 718 387 3363

Text: Rei Inamoto

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