With a bounty of $6 rings, $70 hand-carved earrings and handbags under $200, former Etro designer Emily Levine looks to make her own, irreverent mark on fashion and accessories.
The 27-year-old this week unveiled a Manhattan pop-up shop, introducing her namesake concept to New Yorkers. Her brand offers mid-level-priced jewelry, handbags and decor — much of it produced by female artisans in rural India.
Levine’s three-year run at Etro, where she often worked with Indian artisans on the brand’s bohemian beading motifs, inspired much of her line.
Handbags, like the brand’s signature “Dumpling” style, are fabricated from antique silk saris and take their silhouette from the traditional Japanese Kinchaku bags. They are priced from $180.
“In India I found a lot of antique saris and wanted to upcycle them, they weren’t being used for anything. I wanted them to be really modern, really unique — I found inspiration for the bags when I was in Japan. I make them all myself so I can decide how I would like the fabric placed,” the designer explained.
Levine is also after fellow Millennials. She’s tapped cheery Nineties nostalgia in reviving glass seed bead crafts. Bright floral chokers and delicate cross-body pouches “big enough for an iPhone X” are priced at under $100.
For Levine, who attended FIT in New York but has since relocated to Milan, her pricing is meant to create a sense of fun and ease around her brand.
On Friday afternoon, women of varying ages gravitated toward designs in their corresponding price brackets, with tweens even buying in at the lower tiers. For Levine, these smaller buys are a gateway to bigger-ticket items.
“Living in Milan, living in a design-oriented city, it can be difficult to find nice, affordable brands. I find it really frustrating, personally, when I love something and look at the price and can’t buy it. I did want to study to make the prices affordable, to make them more available to more people,” she said of her strategy.
That ethos seems to be working thus far: “For me, having this competitive price point, things are selling so fast — even though the brand is based in slow fashion and is a one woman show. It’s a bit overwhelming. I’m seeing a positive response from customers who say it’s very refreshing to see this kind of price point.”
Levine’s SoHo pop-up, located at 252 Mott Street, is open through Monday. She is planning to open a permanent flagship in Milan, while also scouting future pop-up locations across Europe and the U.S. The brand’s e-commerce site launched earlier this week.