FUSION STORE FINDS HOME IN CHINATOWN

Byline: Melanie Kletter

NEW YORK — Chinatown is already known as a hub of apparel manufacturing, but now the neighborhood is taking on a new identity with a store and gallery that opened recently at 18 Orchard Street between Canal and Hester Streets.
The open and airy site, also named 18 Orchard, includes an eclectic mix of fashion, furniture and art. It opened to a lively party last week, featuring a fashion show and quirky touches such as wine served in coffee cups.
The store and gallery concept is the brainchild of Roxi Suger, a designer with two of her own apparel lines, and W. Paul Hamill, who also owns two lines.
“We wanted to create a space to promote young designers and other artists,” said Suger, a native of Alabama who was formerly a designer for the retail chain Le Chateau. “We envision it to be a place where artists can come together and we can have music performances and video shows.”
In addition to the lines from Suger and Hamill, which are available for wholesale and retail sale, 18 Orchard also carries some accessories from small designers, a few vintage apparel pieces and even some cosmetics offerings. The space also is adorned with art, sculptures and furniture from young artists and has a raised runway for more fashion shows.
Suger’s two lines are Dig-it, a clubwear line featuring intimate apparel for women and men, as well as logo and studded T-shirts and skirts, mostly in cotton and Lycra spandex blends, and some swimwear. That line carries wholesale prices of $10 and $12. Her other line, called AngelroX, features colorful bottoms in pleather and faux fur, as well as Lycra leggings, tank tops, and skirts, and has wholesale prices of $48 to $65.
For the wholesale aspect of her business, Suger said she is targeting small boutiques, as well as nightclubs and gyms.
Hamill’s two lines — Fluxwear and Nigel Hamill — are primarily knit-driven and feature tops, skirts, pants and dresses in bold colors. Fluxwear, a four-year-old company, targets junior and contemporary customers and carries wholesale prices of $17 to $30, said Hamill, a former dancer. Nigel Hamill, a more expensive line named from the fusion of the names of Hamill and the line’s designer Tony Nigel, launched this fall and features more upper-end knits such as mohair and merino wools.
Flanked by wholesale trading companies, Chinese laundries and a sausage store, 18 Orchard is located a few blocks below the booming fashion spaces that have taken over the Lower East Side. The owners feel they are on the verge of the changes taking place throughout the Chinatown area of Manhattan.
Noted Suger: “We thought this was a great space because the neighborhood is full of people who are our customers.”

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