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It’s not hard to fall in love with the times that passed — I’m inclined to do so every so often. Indeed, back then cars were more delightful to look at, same goes for much of architecture, music, and design. In 2009, Kai thought the same about style and started thinking how to turn his fascination with workman style and storytelling into something that people might like. At the time, there was only one shop on Grant St., selling shoes. Today, eight years later, when the street is busier than ever, Kai is launching new pieces every season — and is still adamant about crafting them at his studio at Fashion District in Manhattan.

For every new piece, Kai researches references from the era of 1920s and 1930s: movies, music, books, photography to look for references he can use in his work. Some pieces are only made once or twice to create something people would cherish for a long time.

The shop is an eclectic display of clothing, bags, accessories, and home goods. In each piece, Kai says, there’s a spark of tremendous focus and thinking — from stitching to combining different types of cotton and wool, to picking the style of buttons.

Selection of handkerchiefs

The new window displays designed in collaboration with Kai’s design partner are due this week and the new pieces he’s developing right now will start arriving early March. Here’re some of my picks from the shop:

Aksel Five Button Blazer, $425

KAI D. Utility
Open 1–7, closed on Monday
230 Grand St., Williamsburg
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Designer & photographer based in New York City