(Check out the WINNER of the NYFW Giveaway HERE)
NN: Harriets Alter Ego is synonymous with Brooklyn, can you explain to those who aren’t familiar what Harriets is all about? SHAE: We started out selling our line of women’s clothing at street fairs in Brooklyn 9 years ago, which enabled us to begin to build the Harriet’s community early on. In 2002 we opened up shop on Flatbush avenue and instantaneously became a community hub, we were a destination for those looking for an alternative to mainstream fashion and mass marketed goods. You knew if you came to Harriet’s you would find one of a kind clothing and accessories. We then started doing events at our shop, offering yoga classes and sewing classes and that’s really when we moved from being just a clothing company and boutique to being a lifestyle brand. Once we relocated to our new space in 2005 we started taking things to a whole different level, we opened up the art gallery, started a fashion incubator program for emerging designers and began producing monthly events and truly became a destination for fashion and art enthusiasts.
NN: As a Brooklyn staple for over 6 years, was it a difficult decision to close your brick & mortar location?
SHAE: It was a decision that made sense considering the economic climate. We looked at was going on with the economy and assessed our place it, with rising overhead costs and less money being spent shopping we felt it was what the current retail climate dictated. As a person and business you must adapt to a changing environment and be willing to change with it. I did not see our closing as a set back, EVERYTHING is an opportunity and the possibilities are always endless.
NN: You recently launched your new venture Society HAE, how did this brilliant idea come to fruition?
SHAE: With everything that we do our intent has been and continues to be to incorporate emerging art of all mediums into the daily lives of the community and encourage people to interact with one another in new and creative ways. Society HAE adds another layer to the Harriet’s community enhancing its collective experience.
NN: Harriets is known for hosting some of the dopest indie music,fashion and art events around, will you continue this tradition even though you have made the transition to the web?
SHAE: Definitely! We will continue to produce events and are working on several projects now, we also plan on producing events in Philly and DC. We’re working on all the details now but this summer folks can expect some really cool events. Just keep checking SocietyHAE.com for the details.
NN: What do you want folks to experience and take away when they visit Society HAE?
SHAE: Society HAE is a point of convergence for the creative community and those who appreciate art, music and fashion. You come to SHAE to discover and experience art of all mediums. We screen independent film shorts on a weekly basis as well as feature interesting people doing interesting things all over the world. But the best part of the SHAE experience are our diverse group of members, live all over the world.
NN: There were many successful SHAE events throughout the summer, the 1st Annual BK All Day BBQ is memorable in my mind! What are you cooking up for the new season? SHAE: We’re taking this show on the road and spreading the SHAE goodness from city to city, country to country and continent to continent. I’m sure for some it might be a laughable idea, but I truly believe that Society HAE can and will connect the global creative community. Why couldn’t a DJ in Capetown, connect with a Graphic Designer in Sao Paulo & a Fashion Designer in Brooklyn and decide to collaborate on a project that furthers all their creative endeavors. There are so many phenomenal, virtually unknown talents all over the world, I would love to be able to provide a platform to showcase what they do and I see the SHAE website and events as the perfect way to do this.
Our next event is Philly PoP on October 11th, which is part of a series of “PoP Up Experience Shops,” that serve as a one day installation of fashion, music and art by emerging artists of various mediums. Folks can also be on the look for Harlem PoP on Oct 17th and Shop N Mingle in Dec. At the present we’re plotting out our 2010 schedule and I’m really excited about all the events we got planned and the direction we’re moving in.
NN: Any Shout outs you’d like to give? SHAE: EVERYONE needs to log on to www.SocietyHAE.com, we’re building a movement!
Many thanks to Ngozi Odita for this interview, please log onto Society HAE and become a part!