When designer Emily Bode and her partner, Aaron Aujla of Green River Project, heard that the neighborhood café was retiring, they were understandably distraught. The classic cafe on Hester St. was right next to the Bode retail store and around the corner from the couple’s apartment. Open for over 40 years, this was one of those spots that had survived several waves of gentrification and become an institution, with prices that seemed straight out of the George HW Bush administration. Also: “The coffee was excellent,” says Aujla. They passed almost every day. But owner Carmen Morales was ready to spend more time with his wife and the final service was set for Christmas Eve.
So when Morales’ lease came into effect, Bode and Aujla both felt a chance to fulfill one of Bode’s long-held dreams, which was to have his own tailoring shop and to preserve the spirit of a local institution.
The Bode Tailor Shop, which opened yesterday, is the second outpost in Bode’s growing menswear empire. Customers at the nearby store can bring in new purchases for touch-ups, and owners of Bode’s delicate lace shirts and antique quilted jackets can bring them in to mend. “With the tailor shop, not only can we create a community in and around our store and serve that community, but we can also extend the life cycle of our products to the fullest,” says Bode, whose own closet is full. of emotion. sweaters and jackets that were lovingly mended rather than thrown away.
The space will also serve as a local sewing shop, although run by people with practically doctorates in restoring and repairing old textiles. “I want to be able to use our expertise not only on our own product, but also on products that we didn’t originally make,” says Bode, whether it’s a 19th-century heirloom quilt that needs repair – the brand has an extensive archive of period-specific fabrics for this purpose – or a pair of blown APC jeans.
Above all, the cheap coffee will continue to flow. Morales left Bode and Aujla his drip coffee machine, and the store will serve plain java in a walk-in window, just like Morales did. “There is a need for this type of cafe in the neighborhood,” says Aujla, who designed the space with his interior design firm Green River Project.
As with all Green River and Bode collaborations (Aujla and his creative partner Benjamin Bloomstein also designed the brand’s retail store), there’s a heavy dose of autobiography involved, with Aujla seeking inspiration in his cafes. and favorite sewing shops in India. “The materials were utilitarian, very easy to clean, affordable, but stylish at the same time,” he recalls. So unlike the lavishly appointed store next door, the materials here are a bit more humble: the walls are paneled in tobacco-colored luan, the cafe counter is aluminum, the sturdy furniture is vintage, and the original wood-paneled ceiling. polystyrene remains. A list of nostalgic Indian sweets and a tea that Aujla’s grandmother served are also ready to join the menu.
The tailors are seated in the back, next to a velvet-draped cloakroom that will be the site of many photos of the morning cup of coffee – and Bode’s new custom costume experience. Over the years, Emily has created dozens of wedding suits for friends and clients, and now anyone can book an appointment for Bode’s bespoke tailoring, which will involve three unique fittings and exclusive fabric options. and rare. Like a Savile Row store, Bode will keep a customer’s designs so they can easily order new coats and pants.
In a way, it’s a throwback to Bode’s roots as a supplier of sublime unique jackets made from reclaimed old textiles – when things improved dramatically, when she launched the brand four years ago, almost every piece sold by Bode was unique. to the bearer. But Bode also sees the tailoring program part of the deep tradition of bespoke clothing that once populated the Lower East Side. “The history of this neighborhood revolves around the garment industry and the fabric and textile industry,” she says. “It would be great to be able to bring this tradition back.”
As Bode employees were loaded into boxes of magic masala Lays Aujla potato chips found in Jackson Heights on Thursday, Morales himself stopped to take a look. His verdict? “Good, really nice!” Morales said. “I mean, it’s a whole different thing. Except for this part, ”he said, gesturing to the coffee machine. “This part is the same vibe I had.”
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