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Shop Talk: a.b.k., Homies Wonderland, Pat Field and More

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A hand crafted leather backpack at a.b.k.
A hand crafted leather backpack at a.b.k.

Here’s Lo-Down contributor Jessica Delfino’s weekly roundup of Lower East Side shops, sales and new collections to keep your eye on.

a.b.k. (105 Henry Street)

Every time I walk by this place, I stick my head in. It feels like taking a step back in time. Two women from Belarus, a small country cradled by Poland and Russia, make everything by hand in this little shop. Belts ($215), purses ($650), Moleskin covers ($135), wallets ($165), vases with leather cozies ($95-$145) and more are carefully crafted here.

In addition to being truly beautiful work, I find this admirable at a time when nearly everything we buy is made shoddily and often by children, in a far away factory.

a.b.k. is open Wednesday through Sunday, 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Homie’s Wonderland (15 Essex Street)

Now that I’m writing this column, I’m obviously paying closer attention to what’s happening in the neighborhood shops. That’s why when I saw four cool looking, handsome dudes lounging outside this shop, I swear, I wasn’t gawking over their lithe, lean muscles, I was actually doing research. The Czech duo behind the store are entrepreneurs with varied business interests.

There are now at least five (!) skater boy/street wear shops in the neighborhood, but as I like to say when it’s time for dessert, “There’s always room for more.” The clean looking store is just opening, so be sure to stop in and say welcome to the neighborhood.

Homie’s Wonderland is open 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Pamela Barsky / Urban Cricket (29 Essex Street)

You can’t help but adore the small canvas zippered bags hanging in the windows of Pamela Barsky / Urban Cricket. Barsky’s bags are hand made in the back of the small store the two businesses share. (Urban Cricket makes very some funny tee shirts.)

Each bag sports an adorable screen-printed quip that ranges from “twee” to serrated to succinct (though there are, notably, a lot of make-up and bacon themed memos). I bought two for friends recently, one said “I Fucking Love You” and another said “Only in NYC can you walk down the street dragging a piece of toilet paper on your shoe and someone will compliment your fashion sense.”

You can grab one for $16 at their Essex Street location, or at  their summer stand in the South Street Seaport.

Patricia Field (306 Bowery)

This woman is my hero because her clothes make me feel like a crazy, fearless beast. Many of her designs turn the wearer into a human billboard, but that doesn’t stop me from buying things here.

If you’re looking for a headband that says “Haters” ($25), a pair of see through stripper-esque heels ($60), or rhinestone elf ears, a la Reverend Jen ($16), you can find it here. If you’re not sure where to find it, go to Patricia Field’s. It’s real deal weird.

Check downstairs for lucky deals starting at just a few dollars. Once, I bought a Ghostbuster’s uniform there for $10.

Patricia Field is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays.

Whole Foods (95 E. Houston)

Most people don’t think of clothing when they think of Whole Foods, they think of a massive salad bar and ethical peanut butter. But you probably know by now that Whole Foods Whole Body section of the store on the second level features yoga wear, creams, lotions and sundries up the wazoo. It’s also an official carrier of those trendy slip-ons, Tom’s shoes — when you buy a pair, Tom’s gives someone in need a pair.

I’d probably personally never buy clothing at Whole Foods, it feels a little weird to me. But it’s one of the few places I can go for a hot, cheap cup of decaf coffee, and their baked goods and rotisserie chickens are incredibly tempting. Plus, it’s kind of nice that the items you do score there are, at least for the most part, ethical, poison and toxin free, and will make you feel like a hipster-y hippie-ster, if that’s your thing.

Whole Foods Whole Body is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. 7 days.

Jessica Delfino is a comedic musician who has lived and performed in the LES for like, forever. She first fell in love with beautiful clothing as a kid when her mom let her dress up in her vintage stash. Jessica was called “One of NY’s 50 Most Fashionable People” by Time Out NY. Check her out at here or email her at: jessica@thelodownny.com. She’s also @JessicaDelfino on Twitter.

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