Off the Broadway Local: a gallery-inspired pop-up for the COVID age

Off the Broadway Local: a gallery-inspired pop-up for the COVID age

Founder Drew Clark in conversation with Emily Conklin‍

November 20, 2020 FEATURES

Off the Broadway Local: a gallery-inspired pop-up for the COVID age

Emily Conklin

The phrase “Broadway Local” may ring a bell if you’ve taken the R or W trains through Manhattan, passing beneath the bustle of the Flatiron District on a Monday morning or weaving your way through the insectile throngs of Penn Station. However, it’s also the namesake of the emerging streetwear and culture brand spearheaded by Andrew Clark, a recent NYU Stern alum with a very non-business school side hustle. Drawn as many are to the downtown scene’s artistic circles, from fashion shows to gallery openings, the New Jersey native has launched his brand of workwear-inspired, hand-printed vintage pieces in collaboration with several local artists. The results that uplift the cultural beats our community creates. And at the heart of the project, it’s not just about the clothes. It’s about making space for community. 

The brand began as a project between Drew and Juliet Sabella (Sabelliet), a self-described  “young, unsuccessful, creative.” At her studio, she taught Drew the basics of screen printing, which launched his first collection of custom-remixed I <3 NYC tourist t-shirts. Ubiquitous on the streets of Midtown Manhattan, these logos mark tourist territory, namely the crowds around Times Square and the Empire State Building, landmarks all served by the arterial Broadway Local train. From that vintage beginning, Broadway Local has expanded to include a large variety of tongue-and-cheek NYC local iconographies, and continues to grow. 

This weekend, Broadway Local is hosting another one of their notorious pop ups in the East Village, inspired by the now somewhat hibernating gallery scene. A storefront on E. 9th street serves as a bisected venue for the clothes to be shared in an IRL fashion in collaboration with local artist Jakada Khalfani. With the front-of-shop showcasing the “greatest hits” of Drew’s collection — from the iconic Wall Street subway sign print to a new scented candle collab — the back will function as a COVID-cautious gathering space: Drew’s vision was originally that of the “after party,” where creatives could unwind and unearth those spontaneous conversations, or bathe in the candid flash of a camera. 

In a time when our artistic communities have suddenly gone virtual, online and digital, the collaborations haven’t stopped, yet we all feel the nostalgia for the studio, the gallery opening, and the countless other venues for creative thought and process with like-minded peers. While our ability to gather is limited, especially as cases are rising in NYC and around the world, it’s inspiring to see collectives like Broadway Local using their platform, network and creative edge to think of new ways to not only bring artists and art lovers together again, but to support each other’s work on the ground. 

When asked for a sneak peek of his newest collection, Drew offered that the clothes are inspired by museum merchandise: think vintage MoMA and Met-wear. To experience Broadway Local’s entire community project (safetly!), join us at 434 E. 9th Street in Manhattan this Saturday and snag a hand-printed piece for yourself.