Back Issue__ Project No. 8

June 01, 2009 | By

Photos: Rory Gunderson

New York City's Chinatown is a cluttered place in a cluttered city. But with its spare sensibility, Project No. 8, manages to stand out.

A shared interest in the distribution of design and ideas spurred married couple Elizabeth Beer and Brian Janusiak to embark on their eighth joint project—a shop that’s somewhat out of the way but definitely worth finding. They chose the obscure location on a very short street in New York City’s Chinatown based on the feeling they got from the block. But it also meant cheaper rent, which allowed for more experimentation. ‘Being out of the way is also its own editing mechanism. People need to find you, which is fun and a little rare when everything seems so instantaneously accessible,’ Brian says.

Project No. 8, which opened in 2007, feels more like a gallery or an art space than it does a store. The collection of exclusive under-the-radar clothes, accessories and design products fill a clean white space. Obscure past items include jewelry pieces made from vintage horn like Bison by Chris Bundy and conceptual men’s underwear from Peter Weismann, a young German designer. They also choose designers that are underrepresented in New York—not an easy feat in a city overloaded with fashion. Before adding new lines to the store, the couple will monitor designers for a couple of seasons. They’re shocked when they find out a lot of the designers they carry do not already sell in New York.

Some of their earlier projects include No. 1 and No. 2—their children: Nuala, 14, and Orla, 9. No. 4 was a line of imaginary souvenirs and mementos from countries Condoleezza Rice called the Outposts of Tyranny in 2005, including Iran, North Korea, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Belarus. Their youngest daughter, Ona, marks project No. 14.

The pair is currently working on opening [Project] No. 8b, which will concentrate on men’s clothes, represent the German furniture line e15 and feature more books and objects. They also hope to host more events. No. 8b will be open by mid June—fingers crossed, according to the pair.

Name: Project No. 8

Employees: Lydia, Daniel, Janita, Gio, Nicholas

Location: 138 Division Street, New York, NY 10002

(Some) Brands: ... Arielle De Pinto, Bless, Boudicca, Christian Wijnants, Kostas Murkudis, Maison Martin Margiela, Saskia Diez, Stephan Schneider, Tom Scott.

Nearby lunch spots: Brown (61 Hester), An Choi (85 Orchard)

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