Uptown Manhattan’s hottest address is ready for its close-up. Glamorous, glorious Harlem has undergone many changes since its heyday in the 20′s, and new generations of trendsetters are rediscovering the area in 2003 as well, cherishing what Harlemade owner Murphy Heyliger calls “the creative energy of the street.” Catherine Malandrino lives there to the benefit of her collections (remember her afro-puff girls, cum church ladies a few seasons back?). The Sistahs Harlem NY label and showrooms like The Brownstone and Soul Brother are catering to clients seeking funky, soulful elegance in their clothing. Harlem’s unique flavor, says Heyliger, is that “we have our own style; we wear our clothes with a certain attitude.” Harlemade’s tees and hoodies are a favorite for numerous hip-hop videos and flavorful magazines like Vibe and Honey. The Brownstone’s deconstructed leather belts and Sistahs Harlem NY’s flirty denim and chiffon tops harken back to a time when Billie Holiday reigned supreme at the Lenox Lounge, and Cultural Revolution hung electric in the air. Want to capture a bit of the spirit for yourself? Look to artists like Alicia Keys and
Eve who personify Harlem’s “nu soul” mantra of offbeat designs with a nod to the past. Or, put a camellia in your hair, don your stilettos, arm yourself with fierce attitude and hop the subway uptown, ready to stroll Harlem’s boulevards and make a little history of your own.
- Kpoene’ Kofi-Bruce
Photo: Sistahs Harlem NY spring 2003