>> With all the fuss about locating knock-off designer bags, many people forget that New York City is the home of great fashion designers. The smaller ones, unfortunately, are not that easy to find.
Dutchess, of Dutchess Designs, is an example of a fabulous designer in an out-of-the-way place. Her shop is actually a sidewalk push-cart operated Friday through Sunday in SOHO.
Before joining her family here in 1997, Dutchess lived in Cambridge, England. She was inspired by the '70s fashion scene when her mom and aunt made their own far out party clothing. Hardworking during the day, and dancing by night, these two women had a colorful, carefree attitude that Dutchess wanted to capture.
It took Dutchess a while to be freely creative, however. First, she acquired a business degree, following it with desk-bound jobs. It was only after moving to New York and meeting artist Sir Charles (Chucky) that she started exploring materials and designs.
Today, she makes fanciful leather purses, vests, cuffs (wrist-bands) and belts. Even though she is a push-cart merchant, her purses have been featured in major magazines, such as Honey, 17, Black Elegance Magazine, and Glamour, to name a few.
Why was she recognized? Although very humble, her outdoor location puts her in front of media, theater and recording stars. When you meet her in person, ask her about who owns her merchandise!
All her pieces are one-of-a-kind. The base for most of her work is Italian leather, which she combines with other materials. Fully lined, her purses look delicate, but are professionally stitched and quite sturdy.
At approximately $60 each (prices vary), they are a true find with the flare of high-end fashion. That said, if you prefer indoor shopping that includes clothing, you will find her work in Vlada (Stanton Street by Ludlow), Apollo Braun (Orchard Street by Houston), and Metro Glam (8th Street and 6th Avenue).
You can, of course, meet the artist herself and see much more of her work at her push-cart on Broadway, between Prince and Spring in SOHO, Friday through Sunday. While there are a lot of push carts in the vicinity, I'm sure you'll be easily able to pick out hers.
Questions or comments?
~ Example of the push-cart display ~
Push-Cart Designer Fashion
Seen on Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Between Prince and Spring
near 557 Broadway
New York, NY