By Rebecca White
The poster said “No Hipsters Allowed.” It was advertising a dance party in the back room of Public Assembly, or what some of you may know as the “Old Galapagos.” I went for two reasons. One: I hadn’t been to Public Assembly yet and I wanted to see how they renovated what used to be one of the first and most celebrated performance art venues of all New York City. The second reason I went was because they were advertising a Street Fighter II tournament. Street Fighter II!? Brings back memories.
There was actually a third reason, now that I think of it. I wanted to see what each Williamsburg hipster’s version of “non-hipster” would be. How would ‘burgites replace the party’s banned ensemble necessaries like tight pants, plaid and dirty sneakers? What qualified as “non-hipster”? A tuxedo? A velvet sports suit?
For me, it meant just wearing my undesirables. Baggy brown pants I bought at Express three years ago with draw strings on the pockets and at the ankles and a North Face windbreaker I love but know a hipster wouldn’t be caught dead on a glacier wearing.
When I showed up, I was shocked to see not only an abundance of hipsterly dressed individuals, but an entire party centered around an ironic t-shirt clothing line. This can’t be right! I thought. But it was right. New Rome Clothing of Park Slope was hosting a release party for a line they launched last summer in the front room of Public Assembly. How ironic that the back room was holding a party with such a contrasting dress code.
Entering what I hoped would be a Street Fighter tournament between tuxedo-wearing gamers, I realized how off my idea of “non-hipster” was. As I tried to push my way towards the stage, a smile grew on my face. Of course! Who are less hipster than hip-hop dudes?!
The dance party was hosted by MC Zeps and featured guest performances by Swave Sevah, Point Dot Period, Phever, Damanilz and 80 Bug. DJ Johnny Mambo played hip hop, reggae, reggaeton and house in-between the performers and towards the end when the Street Fighter II tournament began. There was also a fashion show by Fashion Hurtz. The show was the most entertaining thing I’ve seen in that space and made me really self-conscious about my poorly constructed outfit.
Back in the front room, I happened upon New Rome President Alan Cooper and its creative director, Corey Mintz. “We’ve been throwing a lot of parties around the city,” said Cooper. “It’s a way to get our name and brand out there. It’s a promotional thing.”
Cooper and Mintz are both from Park Slope and have known each other since middle school. The two focus on creating “intelligent designs” that mean something. Some of the shirts in their line put a spin on sports logos. On one shirt, the Mets logo was fashioned to read “Messiah.” On another, the Athletics logo was made into the word “Atheists.”
“We’re not a political machine but we want our clothes to say something,” explained Cooper, who said the modern day political climate was one of their biggest influences. For more information on the line check out www.newromeclothing.com. For shirts with less irony and just as much style, check out www.fashionhurtz.com.
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