A Peek Inside Billykirk's First Brick & Mortar Shop
If you're not yet familiar with BIllykirk, you've been missing out on some of the most incredible canvas and leather gear produced in the United States over the last 15 years.
Launched in 1999 by brothers Chris and Kirk Bray, their stock of wallets, bags, belts, and every-day carry goods are hand-crafted (in-house) by a coterie of skilled artisans and a crew of specialized Amish leather workers. And it's thanks to that sort of pedigreed craftsmanship that their gear is the sort you'll be passing down to your kids. Recently they unveiled their first-ever flagship store in New York City, and we were lucky enough to get a look inside. Join us.
The new and overdue standalone digs are located on Orchard Street in the Lower East Side; it's a narrow and stark white showcase for their carefully curated selection of vintage-inspired belts, bags, wallets, cuffs, keychains, and more. Inside, you'll also find exclusive and limited-run stuff that's not available online or anywhere else.
The brothers relocated to the east coast from Los Angeles about nine years ago, and have since expanded their reach far beyond American shores, with dozens of big-name stockists across Europe and Asia. Their old-school industrial aesthetic and attention to detail have also caught the eyes of several hugely popular other brands, leading to limited edition collaborations with the likes of Opening Ceremony, Sebago, and Schott NYC.
While day-to-day operations will continue to be run out of their studio in Jersey City, customers who drop by will be able to scope the newest stock, and even place custom orders for particular pieces.
In fact, the back half of the space is set up as both a meeting area and mini workshop, where select customization can be done on-site.
A far cry from the cliche dark and dimly lit boutiques doused with the ever-popular vintage workwear aesthetic, BK has intentionally left things clean, clear, and bright. It's an effective tactic, too; one that shifts focus directly to their wide breadth of offerings, all of which you'll most likely be salivating over the moment you walk through the door.
Joe McGauley is a senior editor at Supercompressor. This shop is essentially his dream closet.