A Conversation with Grei
The beautifully dyed scarves, pocket squares and bandanas from Brooklyn-based Grei have been warmly embraced by both our customers and staff on the East Coast and West. Designers Larry Paul and Andrew Spargo talked with us about the mutual love of vintage hankies and bandanas that inspired their Spring 2012 collection. They also shared with us some of their favorite local hangouts.
Where did you grow up?
LP – I was born in Los Angeles and raised in Ojai, California (you know, the home of the bionic woman). I moved to NYC in the early 90s.
AS – Born in Johannesburg, South Africa and raised all over the place. My parents moved the family to the US when I was very young. We moved around a lot for my dad’s work so I’ve been the new kid in the neighborhood in several states.
How did you get into scarves and pocket squares?
LP – For me it started with hankies and bandanas. But for functional purposes versus purely fashion. My dad is a good ole blue collar guy originally from Kansas. He always wore painters pants with a white hanky in his back pocket, a white V-neck tee and boots. I got started as a kid trying to imitate him.
“Grei” is derived from your mutual appreciation of the color grey. What do you love about it?
LP – While many see grey as a somber non-color, we find it to be really soothing.
Our staff and customers are drawn to the texture of the scarves. What kind of fabrics do you like to work with?
LP – For Spring 2012 we used a lot of breathable fabrics that have an airy feel but a substantial hand. The collection includes predominantly washed Italian linens, cotton voile, pima broad cloth and translucent cotton gauze. We do most of the hand dying ourselves and get the best results when using natural fibers.
AS – Our pieces are not meant to be so precious. We enjoy fabrics that get better with wear.
The color gradations on the Indigo Waters and Transparent Boundary styles are really beautiful. What inspires the dye patterns?
AS – We were flat out after Fall 2011 production and spontaneously decided to take a trip to Vieques. There were a lot of influences from the Caribbean combining shades of indigo blue with splashes of color. Last season our indigo treatments had gradual transitions while this spring we moved into a more linear direction.
What are some of your favorite spots in the neighborhood?
LP – The Brooklyn Flea Market. We’re there almost every weekend when the weather is good. Good food. Good finds.
AS - Do or Dine. The fish and chips are delicious. The strip looks a little dodgy but don’t let that scare you away.
LP – Bozu. Andrew is a pescatarian so Japanese is a pleaser. This spot is a tapas hang out on Grand with really interesting dishes. It’s equally good for meat eaters. The Pork Betty is amazing!
AS – Persons of Interest. I go see Tony for clean ups when Larry won’t cut my hair or trim my beard.
LP – Prospect Park – It’s less manicured than Central Park but equally relaxing and gorgeous.
AS - Saraghina. Yummy brick oven pizza and a huge back patio. Best burrata in NYC. Well, second to Dino’s in Fort Greene.
LP – Fresh Kills. One of the original stores on North 6th near the water. I’m glad they stuck it out because the new residents can afford their vintage pieces.
AS – Home Depot on Nostrand. Since we’re always dyeing I feel like we live at Home Depot. I can roam the aisles for hours.
LP – Going to Home Depot with Andrew is like going shoe shopping with your sister.
You can check out more great styles from Grei in our web shop and in stores. Thanks, Larry and Andrew!This entry was posted on Friday, March 23rd, 2012 at 7:13 am and is filed under In Stock, New Arrivals. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.