NEW YORK - For Michael Graham, design is personal.
"Sometimes it starts with a material. Sometimes it starts with a thought or a sketch," he said.
At his retail shop for Savant Studios, a T-shirt bears an image of ideas he jotted in pen on lined paper. Another depicts his favorite artist, Nina Simone, along with the sheet music to her anthem "To Be Young, Gifted and Black."
"Everything in here just tells a story," he said.
His business defies limitation.
"Savant Studios is a lot of things. It's a design studio. It's a clothing store. It's a creative hub. It's a community spot," he said.
Hanging from racks is a mixture of new, vintage, reworked, and one-of-a-kind clothes sourced and sewn by Michael and his team of creatives. Many designs draw inspiration from the shop's community.
"What Bed-Stuy is is, to me, the coolest neighborhood on earth," Michael said.
This appreciation is reflected in the carefully-curated art and objects that fill the space.
"When we first opened up, people would come in, and they would say, 'Oh, this feels like Soho,'" he said.
Michael doesn't see it that way.
"It feels like Bed-Stuy. That's what this is," he said.
1463 Fulton St
Brooklyn, NY 11216
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