NEW YORK — The trend toward customization has hit the accessories business.
Badichi, a new boutique in SoHo that opened this month, is offering a unique service: customized belts.
“Today, you can customize anything,” said Yinon Badichi, managing director of the store at 159 Prince Street. “The belt is the last touch of an outfit and most fashion companies don’t pay attention to it. They just put it aside.”
Seeing this as an opportunity, Badichi took a 600-square-foot space between West Broadway and Thompson Street and opened his first U.S. store.
Customers can choose from around 100 different colors and textures of leather, most of which comes from Italy, and over 500 buckles, some of which are hand-crafted. There are buckles sporting precious stones, Swarovski crystals, skulls, handcuffs and hand-painted flowers.
Once a leather and buckle are chosen, a specialist measures the customer, cuts the leather to fit, attaches the buckle, adds the rivets and, within two minutes, the shopper is walking out with his or her individually designed belt. The store can fit any size man or woman, from a waiflike model to a beefy football player, Badichi said.
Most of the belts retail for around $60 but can go up to $400 if exotic skins are used or one of the hand-painted buckles is chosen, Badichi said. The store also offers a small selection of leather bracelets. “We wanted to keep it affordable,” he said.
Badichi said he has spent his career in the fashion industry but knew he had to find something unique to set himself apart. “To succeed, you have to have the passion and fill a need,” he said. Before starting this chain, he worked at the Joseph Kaufman outerwear business and his family has operated a custom belt retail chain in Israel for the past eight years. The Israeli business operates under the Avnet name but Badichi opted to use his surname for the U.S. business.
He declined to provide a volume projection for the U.S. business, saying: “We have great potential to make a lot of money, but we’re in a recession, so we have to be patient.”
He said he’s hoping to open additional stores in the U.S. and is looking for space in the Meatpacking District as well as Union Square. “We believe we can operate in every city,” he said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast