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George McCracken Knows Where Ralph Lauren Gets His Inspiration

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New York City has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around our fantastic city that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.

Image via Putucos

George McCracken was once a painter, is now a designer, and has always been a New Yorker. His clothing line is committed to a heightened focus on fabric, construction, and cut, sourcing from the best of the best of Europe and Japan. But as a strong supporter of local manufacturing, he produces everything in the finest workshops in and around NYC. Throughout his discoveries, he found this gentle elderly woman who has been hand-making leather sandals and accessories in the East Village for what seems like forever.—Yale Breslin

Barbara Shaum is a tough but really sweet old lady. In fact, she's a New York legend. Ralph Lauren has been knocking off her hand-made leather sandals since the 1970's, and she still makes all her sandals, belts hand in her East Village workshop (best of all, she can do custom orders). It's rare these days to be able to walk in to a shop, and talk to the craftsman who's actually making the thing that you're going to wear. She hand-cobbles these incredible leather sandals, and also makes bridle leather belts and bracelets in her EV outpost. Meeting her gave me a much greater appreciation for leather craftsmanship.
· George McCracken [Official Site]
· Barbara Shaum Leather [Google Place Page]

Ralph Lauren - Rhinelander Mansion

867 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10021 Visit Website

Barbara Shaum Ltd.

60 E. 4th Street, New York NY 10003