MILADY HARTMANN’S two young girls are exactly who she had in mind when she began designing children’s clothing. In the bigger picture, though, she sees her daughters as representing the colorful young faces that comprise the fabric of Brooklyn. Hartmann is part Haitian, part French, and her husband, Philippe, is part Canadian, part French, so their daughters represent the mosaic of faces that gives Brooklyn its tenacious but hard-to-label identity.
This mosaic and “brownstone Brooklyn culture” are the themes of her new children’s clothing store, Rainstone, set to open in August in the Bed-Stuy brownstone where she has an office studio. The shop will carry raincoats, boots, hats and bags for kids in patterned fabrics that reflect the idea of different cultures mingling and blending.
“Afro-Asian, Afro-Caribbean, West Indian-Asian … the patterns in the textiles represent the children in Brooklyn,” said Hartmann. “We are focusing on finding clothing children can identify with.”
The clothes are made locally, for now, but Hartmann sees that a tricky economic climate might drive her to relocate production overseas. She hopes to avoid this, and is working with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to find an avenue for filling larger orders locally.
“I think Brooklyn is the thing of the moment,” she says. “It’s in the forefront.”
This sentiment was roundly upheld at the recent “Branding of Brooklyn” panel led by Brooklyn Brewery’s Steve Hindy. By attending the discussion, in which notes were shared between new and established business owners about what consumers expect when they hear “Brooklyn,” Hartmann was encouraged that she is thinking the right way about blending Brooklyn into Rainstone’s image. She hopes her multi-ethnic approach to clothing, despite the cut or style, will inspire a sense of authenticity — the key word at the panel — as a true reflection of Brooklyn’s citizens.
Speaking of authenticity, Hartmann says about her family, “We are a reflection of the brand.” That’s a real start.
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EAST NEW YORK NATIVE MICHEL MARTIN made her New York radio debut on June 30 when WNYC added her NPR program, “Tell Me More with Michel Martin,” to its 2 to 3 p.m. weekday slot. In the award-winning journalist’s first local segment, Martin took a nostalgic walk through her childhood neighborhood with a former neighbor and classmate, Leslie Groves, who had returned to sell her parents’ home. On the talk/news show Martin and guests generally discuss the day’s headlines affecting local communities and the world.
Martin is no newcomer to news. She spent 15 years at ABC News as a correspondent for “Nightline” and other programs. Before that, she covered state and local politics for the Washington Post and worked as White House correspondent for the Wall Street Journal.
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ON JULY 1, SCOTTO FUNERAL HOME AND THE INTERNATIONAL LONGSHOREMEN’S ASSOCIATION rededicated the flagpole that stood in front of the ILA Medical Center from the building’s 1963 construction until its demolition this year (now the site of controversial 340 Court St. development). Prior to the demolition, John Heyer II, parish historian and archivist of Sacred Heart and St. Stephen’s Church, proposed salvaging the flagpole as a way of memorializing the historic presence of the longshoremen in the community. Together with Buddy Scotto, he arranged for Jabus Construction Corp. to donate its time to relocate the flagpole down Court Street to the funeral home. A bronze plaque tells passers-by about the link between the flagpole, the longshoremen and the neighborhood. The Xaverian High School Band played the National Anthem as the American flag was raised on Tuesday.
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BAY RIDGE NATIVE WILLIAM A. TRAMONTANO has been appointed the new provost and vice president for Academic Affairs of Brooklyn College, making him the college’s chief academic officer. A distinguished educator and researcher in the biological sciences, Tramontano attended the Jesuit Brooklyn Preparatory High School, today the site of CUNY’s Medgar Evers College. He comes to Brooklyn College from Lehman College, where he has served as Dean of Natural and Social Sciences since 2003.
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IN OTHER BROOKLYN COLLEGE NEWS, FORT GREENE RESIDENT DAPHNE BRUNET, a member of the Brooklyn College women’s volleyball team, was selected as a 2008 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Award recipient by Diverse: Issues In Higher Education. On the court, Daphne has been a key contributor for the Bridges during the past three seasons. During the 2007 season she was third on the squad in both kills (1.21 per game) and assists (0.45 per game). In the classroom, Daphne is a Dean’s List student with a 3.49 overall GPA as a film major.
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ON JUNE 30, DEBBY KUHA received a Meritorious Service Award from the Highland Park Community Development Corporation (HPCDC) for her dedication to improving the quality of life for the families of the Highland Park community. Kuha is the Forest Park and Highland Park administrator. “We are tremendously proud of Debby for receiving this award in recognition of her hard work and dedication to Highland Park,” said Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe. HPCDC is a neighborhood organization that provides programs in youth leadership, education, drug abuse prevention and health-related services.