Informed by her upbringing in New York City’s Chinatown neighborhood, the style of up-and-coming fashion designer Sandy Liang can be described as playful, process-driven, and eclectic. Her bespoke garments reference a fusion of cultural signifiers and emulate this diverse locale. It’s no wonder that Liang’s first brick and mortar flagship should incorporate a broad material palette that reflects both its context and her approach. Brooklyn firm Almost Studio designed this 1,500-square-foot Lower East Side boutique as a “playground for a fashion designer.”
Transforming a former laundromat into an expansive, multivalent retail space was a family affair. While Almost Studio coprincipal and Liang’s life partner Dorian Booth was responsible for the complete retrofit, her father’s company Sun Sun Contracting Inc served as the builder. These deeply rooted connections ensure that the project is seamlessly embedded within the community and is as true to the fashion designer’s locally-inspired vision as possible. The new boutique is within walking distance of other family businesses and homes.
Booth and Almost Studio cofounder Anthony Gagliardi implemented a layered scheme that distinguishes different areas with layered materials and curvilineal partitions. These depth-defining mesh and semi-translucent curtain walls are broken up by half-archways, allowing for an easy flow between designated clothing display areas, points of sale, dressing rooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, and an office. “Booth described this mise en scene “as a stage set with overlapping backdrops.”