For all the ways fashion has tried to market feminism, it remains a male-dominated industry. According to a 2018 report by McKinsey, less than half of big-name brands are designed by women. “The Glass Runway,” as McKinsey calls it, gets worse when you learn just 14 percent of those companies have female executives.
For all the good screaming about statistics will do, perhaps shoppers can best support women in fashion by taking out their credit cards. There is no shortage of boutiques in New York. Some of the best and most dynamic are, go figure, owned by women. See the 10 very best below.
Upper East Side: 1582 First Avenue
Upper West Side: 57 W 84th Street
Boerum Hill, Brooklyn: 373 Atlantic Ave
Sharone Komoroff named her store—with locations on the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, and Boerum Hill—after the Hebrew word for “simple.” But do not equate that with boring. Pachute’s selections from labels like KES, Xirena, and Stutterheim skew so romantic that each ensemble could very well outfit Julie Delpy should Netflix ever make a Before Sunset reboot.
The pieces are easy to wear, breathable, and pack like a dream.
Lower East Side: 100 Stanton Street
“French girl” style: you know it when you see it. If you need help mastering the unfussy elegance that comes so easily to Parisians (or our idealized American image of them, at least) turn to Gaelle Drevet's Frankie Shop. The former ABC News producer quit her day job in 2006 to launch Pixie Market, a much-loved Lower East Side haunt. In 2014, Pixie Market went online-only, and Frankie Shop replaced the storefront, selling a high-low mix of basics with a twist.
The small space is humble, so if you're turned off by the thought of a mirror located outside the changing room, just shop online.
Soho: 27 Prince Street
Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 145 Wythe Avenue
Alana Branston and Ali Kriegsman co-founded Bulletin in 2015 with the goal of granting female-owned, online-only brands a bit of retail space to play around with. Labels can apply to be sold in the three brick-and-mortar shops. The zeitgeist-y designs include graphic t-shirts with copy like, “Hoes 4 Healthcare” and “Don’t Be a Dick.”
A bonus, if you're into this sort of thing: on a recent Saturday afternoon, a sandwich board outside the Williamsburg shop read, “Impeach Trump, but Make It Fashion.”
Greenpoint, Brooklyn: 71 Franklin Street
The phrase “Cool Girl” is thrown around a lot to describe “it people” so much it has lost a lot of meaning. But make no mistake: Brother Vellies owner Aurora James is really, really cool. The model founded her Greenpoint, Brooklyn accessories boutique in part to showcase traditional African footwear. The pieces are made by craftspeople in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Morocco.
Take one look at Brother Vellies’ boots selection, which includes a healthy dose of accents like feathers, bows, and lace, and you will understand why even Beyoncé is a fan.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 129 Bedford Ave
Shana Tabor founded In God We Trust in 2005. The store has gone through many iterations and locations, but you can still shop online and brick-and-mortar in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Though Tabor has earned raves for minimalist, but still unique, jewelry (see: a wishbone bangle), the clothing exudes a homespun charm.
If you’re looking to get in on the boiler suit trend, look no further than IGWT’s plethora of options.
Soho: 135 Grand Street
Childhood friends Olivia Wolfe and Steph Krasnoff opened this Little Italy boutique in 2012, intent on stocking the clothes they as twentysomethings wanted to wear but could not find. Nearly a decade later, American Two Shot still caters to a young—or young at heart—customer, selling whimsical, often printed designs from indie darling labels Alice McCall, Samantha Pleet, and Lazy Oaf.
Lower East Side: 123 Norfolk Street
Do not be fooled by the spartan white brick walls—Maryam Nassir Zaheh’s low-key Lower East Side shop is a trend emporium. The shoe designer and entrepreneur is partly responsible for a resurgence in '90s-style wedges (thank or curse her as you wish).
Zaheh's store is filled with other of-the-moment styles like puffy sleeve tops, pastel pants, and lots of tie-dye.
Bed Stuy, Brooklyn: 343 Tompkins Ave
Bed Stuy’s Sincerely, Tommy spotlights up-and-coming brands, so be open to learning a few new names as you peruse the racks. Kai Avent-deLeon, who grew up in the neighborhood, adheres to a minimalist, easygoing fashion philosophy. The clothes, which range from $80 tennis dresses to $680 handmade gowns, are simple in the '90s tradition of straight lines and slinky cuts.
Soho: 65 Greene Street
When Alexandra Waldman and Polina Veksler could not find clothes that fit their bodies anywhere in New York’s Fifth Avenue shopping district, the two decided to open their own store. The result was Soho’s Universal Standard, where fit reigns supreme and customers are treated to a much-appreciated dose of humanity upon entering. Free, private styling services are available, but anyone can walk in and shop as they please. Universal Standard excels in everyday workwear, and carries sizes from double extra small to double extra large.
Park Slope, Brooklyn: 198 Smith Street
According to Article&, the Park Slope boutique curates clothing for “the fashion needs of creative professionals.” The selection of summer-ready gingham dresses, flowing tops, and strappy sandals are the kinds of styles that inspire planning a vacation just so you can wear them. As a bonus, the sale aisle is well-thought out, and if your size is still available, you can pick up a sundress for $40 or next year’s winter coat for under $100.