Making It in Independent Retail

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In the spirit of celebrating high quality fashion and design made in America, the blog StyleLedger has launched a documentary series profiling independent businesses. In this episode the owners of Modern Anthology, a menswear and home decor boutique in Brooklyn, reflect on what makes their business unique and successful amidst competition from bigger retailers. John Marsala and Becka Citron share an eye for clothing, accessories, and design objects that tell stories, a Wes Anderson-style mix of vintage childhood knickknacks and equipment for the gentleman explorer. The video series is directed by Matthew Edginton and produced by Style Ledger's Brett Fahlgren, who discusses the inspiration for the project in an interview below. 

The Atlantic: What was the inspiration for StyleLedger, and what motivated your decision to start a video component?

Brett Fahlgren: It began somewhat as an online journal, simply cataloging things I found interesting and has grown from there. A lot of my career has been spent working on projects for others that have had a commercial function, selling a suit, promoting a brand, etc. Matthew and I met on one of these projects and realized we had a shared vision and wanted to work on editorial projects that were journalistic in nature.

The co-owners of Modern Anthology in a still from the video

What are your goals for the series?

Our goal is to promote and highlight people who are genuine and have a skill that others might learn from. We're both discerning and straightforward and want our films to have a simple, matter-of-fact tone. We let the characters and subject matter be the charm and avoid over-styled music, treatments and graphics.

 

In A Factory in Brooklyn, StyleLedger profiles the Martin Greenfield menswear factory in Brooklyn

How do you select the businesses you profile? 

It's all about authenticity and at its simplest: what we find compelling. Our film on the Martin Greenfield factory was very well received because it touched upon a very positive trend right now -- people in this country uniting in support of the underdog. 

What's next for you?

We're focused on extending the series, continuing along the "Made in America" storyline.
 
A still from the video

For more on jobs and the economy, see the State of the Union 2012 issue of The Atlantic, including the cover story, Adam Davidson's "Making It in America," as well as Alan Taylor's photo series, "America at Work."

For more work by Matthew Edginton, visit http://matthewedginton.com/. For more by Brett Fahlgren, see http://styleledger.com/.

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Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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