After closing its former brick-and-mortar location in Greenpoint in March 2020, The Break is back better than ever. Founded in 2016 by Hannah Richtman, the retail destination and stylish hangout spot is known for its curated selection of wardrobe must-haves, ranging from vintage classics and even extending to coveted homeware and beauty products.
In October 2021, The Break finally reopened its doors at a new address, this time making the move to Manhattan’s Lower East Side on the top floor of 62 Allen Street. With more than 6,0000 square feet of room, The Break now aims to reimagine the retail experience, serving as a multifaceted space that puts community building at the forefront, inspired by the comfort of home.
After making my way up five flights of stairs, I stepped inside The Break’s new studio and it felt as if I entered my Pinterest moodboard. My first sighting was some sleek leather couches and glass coffee tables, along with a fully functioning (and, might I add, shoppable) kitchen. Making my around, I noticed that the draped curtains served as dressing rooms, while clothes hung on shopping racks and within wooden closets. There was also a king-sized bed that dominated the space in front of a giant window that not only oversees the street and neighboring buildings, but it’s also a good spot to set down your favorite vintage picks so you can keep shopping or take a minute to lounge around.
In just three short weeks, Richtman was able to completely transform the The Break’s new retail-meets-venue space while still maintaining her vision of inclusive fashion and hospitality over the past five years. “This space is much more experimental and focused on intimacy, which is a better home for the future of the brand,” she tells NYLON. “The pandemic shutting down the store in March of 2020 was a big reality check — it gave me the time to really evaluate my life and career, and I realized how close I was to burning out.”
Juggling the demand for The Break’s retail aspect didn’t allow Richtman to pursue her own projects, so she had to reassess for more flexibility between her schedule and the structure of her business. Eventually, she landed on revamping The Break’s location so that it’s a seamless and inviting blend between shopping, hosting events, and experience.
“I want The Break to reflect the person and leader I’ve become since I started the company,” she adds. “I hope that we can create meaningful moments for our community, as well as other brands and artists, and expand our reach exponentially.”
Ahead, Hannah Richtman spoke with NYLON about starting a new chapter at The Break, renovating the studio, putting community first, and more.
First of all, congratulations on your new studio! What made you change locations and how did you find the space?
Thank you so much! The location change from Brooklyn to Manhattan was not planned, but I’m thrilled to be in the Lower East Side surrounded by so many businesses I admire.
We moved out of our retail space in Greenpoint in March 2020 in search of a space where we could realign with our original intention: to be the ultimate host. To me, The Break was never meant to exist solely as a retail concept, but rather a hospitality brand that highlights fashion, food and beverage, furniture, beauty, art, and does so in a space where our community feels comfortable and valued. We looked at bars, restaurants, and different types of retail spaces, but ultimately decided that the future of The Break is way more experimental and fluid. I was shown our new space, which is on the fifth floor of the first department store in the Lower East Side, and when I saw the light beaming in through the windows, the character of the original floors and ceilings, the kitchen, I felt right at home and so inspired, and I hope everyone who comes through our doors does, too.
What was the inspiration behind the design of your new space?
I designed my dream apartment. I’m obviously obsessed with vintage, and this space reflects my appreciation for a slightly ‘post-modern meets mid-century modern’ aesthetic. I love a statement space paired with clean lines and tiny pops of color. Nothing in the space is too fragile or uncomfortable, and while it’s all very bright, I want it to also feel warm and welcoming. Like any apartment, I don’t think it will ever be fully done, but I’m so excited at the prospect of redecorating as pieces sell. I hope the space feels inclusive, flirtatious, and chic as sh*t.
It took three weeks to renovate the entire space, which is impressive. What challenges did you face while doing so and do you have a favorite spot in the store so far?
It was insane! My team is absolutely incredible and we DIY’d as much as we could.
Nothing is level in the space so the curtains needed to be custom made, which my mom did in time for our opening. She’s in Wisconsin, and went out and got the fabric and sewed and shipped everything in like two days. She’s iconic. The bedroom is a favorite because it makes the space feel like a real apartment. The platform that the bed is on are pallets that we found on the street and are painted black. I love seeing people lounge or throw clothes on the bed, it makes the whole space feel that much more authentic.
It was a challenge to design fitting rooms that didn’t make the space feel like a store. We ended up using a flexible track system. When the fitting rooms aren’t in use, the curtains can be pushed back to the windows so they all blend in seamlessly, and it’s like they’re not even there! I wanted a true “closet” moment, and we found this mirrored wardrobe for sale that belonged to an elderly woman in New Jersey. My boyfriend and best friend rented a van and picked it up, but found out it was way heavier than advertised, like, scary heavy. They somehow managed to get it all the way back to the city and had to drive up on the sidewalk to get it out safely. It broke a little along the way, but I don’t care at all! It’s so chic and a daily reminder of how grateful I am for my friends and team.
You mentioned that the space is like an oasis and you wanted to create more of an experience rather than a traditional retail store. How do you plan on using the new space and what can we expect from The Break going forward?
The Break’s new destination is a sanctuary for community, modeled around the comfort of home. The furniture, glassware in the kitchen, clothes in the closet, accessories on the shelves — everything is available to enjoy and buy, curated with love and living in mind. The Break’s mission is to create a genuinely friendly experience of fashion, hospitality, and New York for every person that steps through our door. This setup is perfectly voyeuristic and delightfully experiential, and available to visit and rent. We are focusing on events, and are so excited to produce them for The Break, as well as other brands. Watch out for our weekly drops of vintage online, book an appointment for our Open Studios to experience us IRL, and make room for lots of fashion, food, and friendship from The Break in the year to come.
You can now visit The Break in person by making an appointment at ShopTheBreak.com.