Trash helped shape the contours of his life, contributing to the occurrence of significant events. For most, garbage isn’t considered a blessing. But the designer known as GGrippo has long understood a fundamental truth: Treasure can be unearthed in the junkiest of spots. “I’ve been a compulsive trash collector since I can remember,” he attests. “Growing up in Argentina, I learned about the importance of using and reusing.”
A Williamsburg fixture since 1997, GGrippo is now a vocal proponent of up-cycling, the act of repurposing garments, accessories, and goods for a second life. The bottom floor of his eco-friendly shop, GGrippo Art + Design, stocks recycled rubber purses from Cyclus and messenger bags made by Freitag out of reconstituted truck tarps.
Mnmur, an Italian label, provides wallets fabricated from former bike tubes, while T.O.M.T. (aka, The Other Man’s Treasures) converts discarded detritus into housewares both functional and funky. Case in point: Antique valises sprout oak legs, morphing into coffee tables. Cocktail umbrellas coil around an old paper lantern, lending it new life as a colorful lamp. And with stitched-on nylon straps, a Hoover vacuum bag from the 70s becomes today’s ultimate hipster backpack.
“My clients are design-educated, confident about choices, and appreciative of novelty,” reveals GGrippo. “We constantly try to introduce beautiful, well-made items that defy trends yet fit eclectic lifestyles.” This includes Trash à Porter products, all personally conceived and manufactured by the artisan in his downstairs atelier.
Locally sourced vintage cashmere sweaters are washed twice, then reassembled into new contemporary shapes. Five lines make up the label: Agua cashmere for babies, KIDs by Trash à Porter, silver label clothing collection(boasting dresses, skirt, pants, jackets, and shirts), Trash à Porter accessories, and HOMEwares. Curious shoppers are invited to watch GGrippo and his assistants cut, sew, and create these pieces, thus transforming the act into a living art exhibit that mimics the shows he hosts in his upstairs space. Sculptors like Steve Keister, Manuela Viero-Gallo, and Cecilia Biagini, plus painters including Anna Lisa Marjak, Luciana Levinton, and Richard Timperio have all displayed work in that constantly mutating venue. It’s gone from pop-up shop to art gallery to gift boutique further emphasizing the principle of evolution that defines GGrippo’s core beliefs. Soon it will be reincarnated as a tea shop.
“I want tourists to come, relax, browse, and leisurely take in what we offer,” muses the 50-year-old. “And I’d love to create a home for locals to enjoy each day.”
“[Our local] streets feel simultaneously modern and old-fashioned.”
Residents are cherished because, like all things, the neighborhood has also evolved. There’s now nearly no need to commute into Manhattan for daily necessities, as we’ve witnessed gentrification and the accompanying explosion of restaurants and retail. The downside? Makers and creators, once able to exist en masse when studios were cheap and spacious, have largely been driven out. Yet the artist doesn’t despair. “I love the energy of Brooklyn, and at the same time,the way it affords me quiet moments to meet and talk with clients and friends,” he enthuses. “These streets feel simultaneously modern and old fashioned.” Circularity seems to exist in all things GGrippo touches.
GGrippo Art + Design
174 Grand Street
WG #44 COVER PHOTO: Model wears a biker coat (grey leather and cashmere), a tshirt (long broiled peyote), and skinny jeans (wool), and carries a leather bag. Outfit by design er Ricardo Seco, from his coll ection ALIVE for the Fall /Winter, in which he combines Hassidic and Hipster cultures. The collection is currently in residence at GGRIPPO + GALLERY through November.
Photo by Jay Marroquin
Ricardo Seco in residence at GGrippo + Gallery
“I was inspired by the multicultural man living in Williamsburg that believes his music and his art is all about creativity, mixed with people who believe in tradition. But it is a similar belief. When they believe, they feel alive.” —Ricardo Seco (ricardosecostudio.com)
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