Quality Mending Embraces Art and Fashion at New Bowery HQ

Posted on: February 18th, 2021 at 5:00 am by

Photo: Eddie Panta

After 16 years at the corner of Prince and Elizabeth Streets, vintage clothing shop Quality Mending, like many other small businesses was forced to close amid the pandemic.

As previously reported, owner Oliver Harkness departed his long-time headquarters with a patriotic “blue-hat” salute to the neighborhood. His final public art project brought community voice to the artwall that he had curated over the years.

Now reborn on the Bowery, Quality Mending is continuing its neighborhood tradition to supply shoppers not just with the rare vintage threads, but with a showcase of art that represents the longstanding nexus of art, music, and fashion in the Lower East Side and beyond.

The reboot of Quality Mending at 329 Bowery includes an art space dubbed “Check This Out Gallery,” by Harkness and curating partner Rich Jacobs, whose raw, colorful work was the subject of the launch show.

And the third installation is opening in the coming days.

Photo: Eddie Panta

Their first group show, “How About That?”  included “No-Wave” film legend and director of Wild Style Charlie Ahern alongside a collage-art piece by punk-rock luminary Kosmo Vinyl.The exhibit of 33  artists was an eclectic display of not just local artists, but also hung alongside each  small work was an actual a piece of memorabilia that inspired the artist. In case you missed it, you can catch up with it “Hey Check This Out Gallery” Instagram page.

This new show, FLAT EARTH, takes inspiration directly from the streets as much as possible. Bobby Puleo’s solo at the new art space exhibits the artist’s exploration of discarded artifacts of everyday life. Puleo arranges and frames that which litters the streets in a way that brings new life to the pop art tradition.

To keep business going during these rough times in retail, Quality Mending is also diversifying and expanding its brand. The brand last year launched the eyewear line Eye-Rish, a nod to Harkness’ Irish roots. And the shop will also continue to offer Quality Mending branded socks and other accessories.

The collaboration between art and fashion at Quality Mending’s new storefront should come as no surprise. Oliver Harkness is simply continuing the tradition that began his retail career in vintage clothing. Quality Mending actually grew out of the now-legendary Alleged Gallery in the Lower East Side back in the mid-90s. It was there in the late-night street art and skate punk gallery scene that Harkness initially showcased his quality, vintage threads.

    Photo: Eddie Panta

Whether NYC street regalia, old school punk, grunge flannel, or 1980s New Wave fashion is what your searching for, Quality Mending seems to have it.

Let’s hope this collaboration continues to express the roots of fashion, punk, and art that have defined this neighborhood’s identity.

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