Shopping Ecstasy: Factoriem Boutique

The Lower East Side loves a good hybrid, and while Factoriem may appear to be an intimidating blend of workshop, showroom, and store, once inside the message is straight-forward: totally under the radar indie labels such as IDEEEN, Mew (exclusive to Factoriem), Zoe Twitt , and Alexander Berardi. Don't pass it by just because the piles of colorful thread in the window and stark, low-lit interior may suggest a rather muddled image (er, not to mention errant A/C drainage at the door).

The shop wears its inspiration on its proverbial sleeve -- or more specifically, on its store front.  The decor was inspired by owner Binna Lee's frequent visits to a garment factory during her first years in the industry as an assistant designer -- colorful spools of thread are piled high and a vintage mannequin bust in the front window are pretty literal interpretations of that inspiration.

The shopping experience is an education in New York's future heavy hitters -- in fact, several of the lines carried are industry pals of Lee's, whose past stints at Richard Chai, Tse, and Eugenia Kim.  Neon signs and showroom-style merchandising are also evidence of her industry experience, and ultimately, it's the insidery-ness that makes this store so spectacular.

Factoriem Boutique
is located at 179 Orchard St. bet. Houston and Stanton

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