City Stories: Alison Lewis

Alison Lewis

Working in the fashion industry, especially running a line, there's never a regular day. Things are always changing, and depending on what part of the season it is, there are always different jobs to be done. One thing that is constant, though, is that I'm always looking for inspiration for current or future seasons, look books, presentations and films (we make a Lewis film to represent each season).

I have a few go-to spots that never fail me. With its vintage clothing, furniture and knickknacks, Hell's Kitchen Flea Market is one of them. Some of my most coveted finds are vintage photographs from the '40s and old yearbooks from the '60s. (I also always bring a few vintage sundresses home with me.) There are some real, old-time New Yorkers who run the booths and are full of amazing stories of "back when."

One of my other favorite spots is Pippin. In front of Pippin is a jewelry store full of old lockets and opal (a favorite of mine) accessories. It also has a collection of old hats and gloves. The real treat, though, is when you walk down the alley next to the jewelry store and find the little cottage. It's full of wonders—from old glassware to vintage radios to furniture. My greatest treasures from Pippin are an old wood jewelry box and a pair of chalkware dancers from the '40s that hang in my living room (their outfits helped inspire my spring 2009 line).

After a long day of inspiration hunting, I love to meet friends for an old-fashioned cocktail. Every Friday, we go to Hotel Delmano in Williamsburg and drink Brooklyn Beauties (or whatever the bartender fancies making that night). The cocktails are a little pricey, but the atmosphere—which feels like a step back in time—and adorable waiters make up for it.

Alison Lewis is an NYC-based designer whose line, Lewis, can be viewed at and is sold at Barneys, Duo and Thistle & Clover, among other shops.