Greenpoint boutique Dalaga, whose name means “quintessential woman in her prime” in Tagalog, is a pioneer of sorts, that is, if you considered the Franklin St of a few years ago a frontier.
When fashion designer Michelle Mangiliman opened the store in July ’06, some two years after she and her husband uprooted themselves from San Francisco for Greenpoint (the choice of neighborhood largely upon the urging of friends). Back then, “there was one bar and one coffee shop on Franklin St,” Mangiliman said in an email interview. “We loved the people, history, and character of the buildings immediately.”
As for the building that currently houses Dalaga, 150 Franklin St, said Mangiliman, “Our beautiful historic storefront in particular was something that caught our fancy years before we actually attained it.”
And now, Mangiliman notes the number of bars, restaurants and shops that have since emerged on this corridor. Mangiliman is forever on a quest to find stylish and affordable merchandise to put on offer to her customers—whom she termed “Dalagas” in our email interview.
“Finding clothes for Dalaga makes me feel like an archaeologist at times. It’s like digging for dinosaur bones in Manhattan,” she said of the sometimes-difficult search. Yet she noted, The recession has only pushed us to do what we do best even better: find really beautiful clothing and accessories at an accessible price.”
Some 95 percent of the store’s offerings are under $100. Dalaga’s average price points for a dress hover in the $65-89 range; jewelry $25-75.
Mangiliman’s personal favorite of the moment, the Freya Structured Wrap Jacket, which retails for $85. Adding to its recession-friendly price point is its versatility.
“It can be a day or evening look. The structured shoulder and belt accentuates your waist.” Or, as she suggested, “wear it tied back for a more casual look.”
Most of the styles she buys are in limited runs, so there’s constantly new merchandise on offer. Among the possible new brands to come on line at Dalaga, is Mangiliman’s own line, which shares a name with the store. In fact, when Dalaga first launched some three and a half years ago, much of the store’s collection was her own line. But Mangiliman, whose fashion design career spans back to age 5, when she started designing clothes for her Barbie dolls, has taken somewhat of a break from designing to keep up with the success of her store, her marriage and eight-month-old daughter.
“Occasionally I’ll make a sample here and there to keep my creative juices flowing,” Mangiliman says, noting that when her full collection is ready for sale, she plans to have it sold exclusively at her store. In the meantime, Dalaga fans can look forward to a new online shop.
150 Franklin Street
12-, Sun ’til 8pm
Check the Dalaga Web site for a link to subscribe to store emails and get 10 percent off monthly sales.