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If you have a girl-crush on Kai Avent deLeon, join the club. Ever since she launched her boutique Sincerely Tommy a year and a half ago, her face has appeared in every major US fashion publication worth their salt - that's Vogue, The Coveteur, Huffington Post, W Magazine, to name a few. She's the type of girl that can rock an oversized men's bomber jacket as well as an Acne coat and somehow makes a gold vagina necklace look unbearably chic.
Kai is Brooklyn all over. There's no doubt she's a New York woman - smart, savvy and stylish - but she has the laid back vibe and eclectic nature of the city's coolest borough.
The good news for you is that Kai's character and personal style translate perfectly to her boutique. Sincerely Tommy is located on the corner of Monroe and Tompkins, the street she grew up on in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.
After finding a lot of the same brands in most of the 'experimental' and 'innovative' retail spaces in the city, Kai began craving something new. "New York is at the forefront of fashion and a lot of people come here to break through in their career," she says. "I kept thinking 'where are those designers?' and 'where are these new people who are starting lines?'"
At Sincerely Tommy, you'll find some of the most exciting emerging designers in New York in store, plus interesting international brands and quirky homeware pieces that Kai has picked up while travelling abroad. She even launched her own line called Sincerely Tommy where all products costs less than $200 dollars.
The store's reputation (and Kai's constant stream of press) has kept visitors to New York venturing to Brooklyn. And for locals Kai has introduced ST coffee into the neighbourhood. "I want it to be like a community centre for young creatives," she says. The designer holds events, stocks a number of zines and magazines and has a small exhibition space for upcoming artists. She has effectively turned a high-end designer concept store into an accessible local hangout.
If she wasn't your girl-crush before, she is now. Here Kai highlights some of the standout designers in store:
Designers at Sincerely Tommy
Manushka - a brand from Budapest that has done really well with us. It's a line we've stocked since we first opened and has very classic pieces.
Sincerely Tommy - Under $200 and still good quality. We do classic pieces but still try to keep it fun. We do things like cute cropped jackets and mod-style pieces for this season.
Arthur Arbesser - This line is from Vienna. His pieces are fun, playful and super feminine. He plays with metallics and unlikely fabrics.
C.F. Goldman - This is a designer based in New York. I like to see who is daring enough to be attracted to some of these pieces.
Tuza - This is a jewellery line from Mexico City. It is one of our newer lines and I'm really excited about it. Her pieces are really fun and playful. She has a boob one, a blunt and a penis one. I wear the vagina everyday; it's a great conversation piece!