Bangladesh, a mecca of innovative textiles and magnificent colors — New Market Goods, a chic eco conscious brand, brought the spirit of eastern India to San Francisco and the city went absolutely bananas. Their pop-up store in the Mission is conserving the cultural spirit whilst introducing new eyes to the ingenious fabrics of the people. Take a peek inside.
BC: How did you get started?
The brand started two years ago, but my cofounder Albert Ching and I have been working in Bangladesh for about five years now. We co-wrote theses in urban planning school on transforming Dhaka’s informal bus network. We worked with a volunteer group to collect data on the thousands of city buses, and ended up becoming close friends with the group that runs Deshal, a 100-person factory run by three Bangladeshi artists. They’ve been operating their own brand for 10 years, featuring playful interpretations of traditional South Asian garments and beautiful hand loomed textiles. They knew I had a background in product design and would let me sample pieces in their textiles. After a few visits, they offered to collaborate with me on a brand that could be exported to the US. Our first line of popover shirts launched in early 2015.
BC: Where do you see the brand going?
We’ve just started producing a line of handwoven home goods—bed coverlets and table linens. We really love the graphic exploration that working with these textiles allows, such as color blocking or woven textures, so keep an eye out for more of that.
I also want us to start pushing our sustainability measures. We try to design products that make use of all remnant material, or test a textile before doing a production run for product fit. But we still need to make some progress on the sustainability of our material sourcing, starting with raw cotton itself.
BC: How does it relate to a bay area community?
Moving to the Bay has been an effort in learning to layer. We focus the designs to be textural additions to a layered look. The response locally has been great, and we really feel like this is the best place for us to incubate this coastal, workwear-inspired aesthetic.
BC: Favorite pieces from the collection?
Easily our new canvas overshirts—the fabrics range from a rich indigo to our classic houndstooth, all handwoven. The silhouette references classic French industrial workwear jackets. We added contrast pocket lining to keep things interesting.
BC: What inspired “Sun Fog”?
We’ve been trying to figure out how much we want to ascribe to the traditional seasonality of fashion labels, putting out Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter lines, often with smaller releases in between. Being based in the Bay Area has given us a different perspective—San Francisco lacks seasons and instead vacillates between sun and fog depending on the day and neighborhood. We also drew parallels to the scorching sun of Bangladesh’s dry season and monsoon season’s morning mist.
BC: What sets you apart from other designers/houses?
I think the most unique thing about us is that our production partners are co-founders and co-owners of our brand. Ishrat, Kanak, Sabuj, and Muntasir are all equally invested in the success of New Market Goods as we are here in SF. I don’t think many brands can say that.
It’s also a bit of a family affair — my grandmother, a lifelong seamstress, makes our samples. My aunt has been a theatre costume designer for over 20 years, and helps with our style direction. My brother often models for the brand, as well. We had them here for the popup opening weekend, and got to celebrate with a Chardonnay party (my grandmother’s chosen form of payment for her contributions).
BC: 3 items San Franciscans need from the collection.
Our new bed coverlets for an extra layer and a pop of color. Our new tunic shirt dresses in a lightweight, loose-weave cotton. A longer, jacket version of our Madhyaratri Canvas Overshirt, only available right now at the Proefspace shop!
// Need to see the good up close? New Market Goods will be up at Proefspace from May 6th - May 30th, M-F 11 - 7 & S-S 1 - 6 at 299 Guerrero Street.
Story and images by Dustin Soriano — Wanna get out this weekend? Our events calendar spans an entire Bay Area to-do list for the adventurous. No purchase necessary.
Anthony is the founder of Bob Cut Mag and the director of business development. Anthony writes on LGBT, people, and gender issues but catch him also writing about other shenanigans he finds himself in. Want to partner with Bob Cut? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org