Designer Ulla Johnson, another Bird staple, calls the store’s closing “a real loss for the Brooklyn fashion landscape.” (In the ultimate sign of the times, the original store location is currently a COVID testing facility.) “Right now, mid-range businesses are kind of disappearing,” Mankins points out, citing the closings of Colette, Creatures of Comfort, Steven Alan, Jeffrey, Barneys, TenOverSix, Opening Ceremony and Need Supply. “Every store that was my contemporary is now gone.” She dreads seeing blocks that are just big- box stores and bank branches, though “another part of my brain that is the entrepreneur and the optimist is like, ‘Oh, my god, there’s gonna be so much opportunity, because there’s 25 empty storefronts.’” What’s missing—because of COVID, because of the constriction of these independent stores—is the alchemy of discovery. Once, “it took longer for things to be everywhere, and now things are so pervasive, whether it’s an aesthetic of a type of chair or even just a color,” she reflects. “The trend cycles are just so much faster that they exhaust themselves. Every single ad I get on social media or in my email, whether it’s for a dentist’s office or a new toothpaste brand, looks exactly the same. And it’s just so… not interesting.”
Mankins says her goodbye letter, posted on Instagram, made people think she had another business plan lined up, but for now she’s happy to take a beat. And content with her legacy. “The thing that I’m going to be most known for is clog boots,” she jokes, “and I’m OK with that.”Style Points is a weekly column about how fashion intersects with the wider world.This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io
The route to work is always the same. Leave the highway and turn right on Sandra Bland Parkway. Follow it to its end, past the location where a state trooper stopped Bland’s car—the confrontation that would lead to her arrest and ultimately her death—and drive onto the campus of Texas’s Prairie View A&M University, one of 101 historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. Once there, I see what Bland must have seen on her first day of college, and what I saw on the first day of mine nearly 30 years ago: a beautiful campus with lush oaks and stately buildings that tell the story of a people whose freedom has been forged in the face of injustice and whose joy is political resistance.
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