Retail: Talking with Jen Mankins, Bird Brooklyn

April 22, 2016 BY WATM STAFF


Fly. Whether it's a noun, verb or adjective, Bird gets it. The Brooklyn shopping legend has outposts in the coolest neighborhoods, and is a no-brainer for connoisseurs of a a curated closet. They've mastered their mix of big little lines, like Brother Vellies, Marni and Common Projects - the labels we love to revisit, but feel like our own style secret every season. Owner Jen Mankins, began her foray into fashion with an Assistant Buyer position at Barney's, so it's safe to say that she's a certified veteran. If you're also wondering what's coming next for the chic shop, read on. -- Amber Davis


(c) What are the wardrobe staples of the Bird Shopper? Her favorite lines, looks, etc.?

JM: The Bird shopper loves color, texture and prints, but also relies on a great assortment of everyday styles to make it all work together. For women our most popular items are dresses, followed by accessories (bags, shoes, jewelry) and then denim/pants and tops. For men it's all about button down shirts paired back to denim and sneakers. Our top selling brands for women are Dries Van Noten, Rachel Comey, Isabel Marant, No. 6, Ulla Johnson and Raquel Allegra. For the Guys it's Acne Studios, Our Legacy, APC and Common Projects. As for denim ,it's all about Acne Studios, Amo and Frame.


(c) What's the most surprising tidbit you learned in your 10 questions series?

JM: We love discovering more about our designers and their inspirations and their design process. I think it's hilarious that so many of them identify with being an old lady, or look to women of a certain age as their style icons. I think it is about the natural, irreverent and timeless style that women develop over many years.


(c) What inspired your correlation between food and fashion in the food network series your produce?

JM: I think people today are as passionate about what they eat as they are about how they dress. Maybe even more so. The same principles that define Bird and Brooklyn fashion, whether it is local and sustainable production, inventive design or being curious to seek out a new discovery are the same principles that inform many of our colleagues in the food business. The meticulous attention to detail as well as a dedication to top-notch, personalized customer service are other ares that I find very inspiring from my favorite restauranteurs.

(c) What do you think created the cult following of Brooklyn tastemakers? What are your other favorites in your clear borough of choice? (for a cocktail, for a bite, etc.)

JM: People in general always seek out newness. There is a pleasure in discovery, and there is a concentrated community of people in Brooklyn taking creative risks and that's very attractive to a lot of people. I love new restaurants and shops as much as the next person (ok well maybe a lot more than most people) but I also love having a place in a community and going back again and again to my favorite spots. It's about building a history of shared experiences. For breakfast I love the dining room in the Wythe Hotel. The light is just gorgeous, as is the staff and the clientele, and the modern comfort food and the exacting, but still casual service is exactly what you want. Andrew Tarlow is particularly skilled at figuring out what people want and giving it to them before they even know they want it. He's like the Apple of Brooklyn restaurants. For cocktails I love Long Island Bar on the border of Cobble Hill and Brooklyn Heights. It's a perfectly restored landmark bar from the 60s, run by one of the most influential mixologists of the past 20 years Toby Cecchini. It's a perfect bar. For sushi and hand-pulled noodles I always go to Samurai Mama in Williamsburg. I can't get enough of their AB crunchy, shrimp tempura roll. And my favorite new organic wine and snack bar is The Four Horsemen, owned by LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy. It is the literal incarnation of food, wine and music that I love.