The REAL Designer Market

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Yesterday I visited The REAL Designer Market on Mulberry Street, in the bright yellow Saint Patrick Youth Center gymnasium where the Nolita Market was located for roughly 14 years. I spoke briefly with Chane, a friendly Mississippian who greeted everyone who entered with a sincere, “Thanks for coming in!” Chane is one of three designers who has taken over the task of reviving the market; Nolita closed after a series of disputes soured the owners’ relationship with the church officials who operate the youth center. Another group tried to take over the market’s management last year, with underwhelming results. Now Chane and two fellow designers have relaunched as The REAL Designer Market with a “by designers, for designers” ethos.

Pickings were slim at the grand opening, but Chane assured me that there would be twice as many designers setting up shop next Saturday, and I still found some beautiful items: hand-colored prints and framed photographs, funky silk-screened T-shirts (Chane’s specialty), artisanal chocolate truffles and delicate cameo rings designed by Judy Kaye (who I’m interviewing this afternoon). I positively drooled over Diane Diraimo’s “Steampunk” designs: rings adorned with antique watch gears and coins, and necklaces inset with shards of actual New York City traffic lights. Strange how the red, yellow and green glass gleams like a jewel when they aren’t giving taxis the power to mow you down!

I didn’t get many snaps, but here are a few more photos (click to enlarge):

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