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Dalaga means 'quintessential woman in her prime' in Tagalog.
A view of the store in the afternoon sunlight.
Some skinny belts displayed on the Victorian armoire.
Spring Trend: Print & Pattern
Michelle will focus on circle prints and Mod looks.
I love the alcove and hanging photos in the dressing rooms.
One of Michelle's trend picks for Spring: sexy platforms!
New deliveries are expected throughout the season.
I was happy to hear that Dalaga's following just keeps growing and growing. I consider Dalaga to be the trailblazer of the new Franklin Street, ushering in what I believe will be many more small creative retail projects in the coming future. The instant success of Dalaga on a street with sparse foot traffic seems to prove the adage, "If you build it, they will come." I sat down with Michelle to talk about how Dalaga came to be and about her vision for Spring/Summer 07.
EP: Talk about your design philosophy and your concept for the store.
MM: My ideas about clothing are changing all the time, so when it comes to designing or buying for the store, it's all about filling the need. I feel like the store is an extension of my own closet. The decor concept for the store is 'boudoir meets mysterious interior garden,' a private space where you can feel free and comfortable to reinvent yourself. [Note: the store fixtures are part of a Victorian bedroom set, which includes armoire, end tables, dresser and headboard which are adorned with silk flowers.]
EP: Tell us about the name, Dalaga, and what you carry.
MM: Dalaga means 'quintessential woman in her prime' in Tagalog. We currently carry 3/4 women's and 1/4 men's. Clothing, denim, shoes, belts, jewelry, bags. We're always looking for Greenpoint designers. People really get into the fact that the person who made this lives in the neighborhood. In the beginning we also carried designers from the Philippines which sold really well. We are working on sourcing more. And of course we carry the Dalaga label which I design.
EP: Tell us more about your design background.
MM: I started sewing at 10, took a Fashion Marketing program in high school and designed my first collection. I attended the San Francisco Academy of Art with a major in Fashion Design. In San Francisco, I was lucky to fall in with a collaborative underground boutique where I developed and produced my designs and showed them at a local club. I followed my [now fiance] to New York and worked as a freelance designer for a missy/juniors start-up for a year. After that I continued to pursue my own label [Dalaga] and tried to find partners. In the meantime, I held sample sales once a month in a warehouse on Green Street [in Greenpoint], which I promoted on Craig's List. I have always thought about having a store, but thought of it as five years down the road. Then one day, much sooner than expected, the time and place were right.
EP: How long have you lived in New York?
MM: Three years, all in Greenpoint. July will be the one-year anniversary of the store.
EP: Name the hottest 3 designers you carry.
MM: CASTE by Micah Cohen out of L.A. He does menswear. DALAGA. MADE IN HEAVEN which is a line of high-rise skinny jeans, recently revived by the daughter of the label's original spokesmodel.
EP: What are the trends you will capitalize on for Spring/Summer?
MM: Cute, sexy platform shoes that are walker-friendly and wearable. Primary color dresses in bold yellow, blue, and red, with a very mod look. Circle prints. And we'll continue the prairy, lacey, eyelet-y looks that we always have going on in the store.
Thank you so much Michelle! As I finish writing up this interview, I am eager to get back to your store and see what's new. Happy Birthday! See you on Saturday for cupcakes, but I think I'll pop in today for a sneak peak.
DalagaDALAGA is the first store portrait in our new "Shopping on Franklin" special feature. Watch for a new store portrait next Thursday.
150 Franklin Street
Greenpoint, Brooklyn 11222
G to Greenpoint Ave
Two of my favorite details in the store: the Victorian tin ceilings
and the elaborate carving above the register
[actually an upside-down headboard-- part of a Victorian bedroom set
which serve as the store fixtures. So clever!]
Fun prints, fun shapes for Spring/Summer 07