JAMAICA-BORN DEBBIE HARDY moved to Brooklyn in the 1980s, and ever since she’s made it her mission to spread color throughout the borough. “Color and sunshine,” Hardy says. “Those are my inspirations.” Hardy designs pieces that reflect her travels around the world: floaty dresses in punchy pinks, greens, and yellows, and blanket-like woven scarves in electric hues. After years selling her creations at festivals and markets—Hardy remains a staple at the Brooklyn Flea—she bought a storefront on Nostrand Avenue last year.
In April, Hardy opened the doors of her boutique Martine’s Dream, an airy space that can hardly contain the riot of patterns inside. It is a bright spot on the street, complete with pots of ferns outside the storefront that beckon passersby to glance at the window. Inside, Hardy sells a selection of airy cotton garments, from kimonos to caftans to wrap skirts, as well as delicate brass jewelry. Her clothes have a pleasing looseness, a sophisticated approach to their shape: Stevie Nicks chic. Hardy frequently travels to West Africa and India to source materials and absorb the way color is used in different places. She’s hoping to visit Uzbekistan on a future mission. The idea is to bring a splash of vibrancy to the Brooklyn streets, even in the dead of winter. “Color is for all year long,” Hardy grins. “Not just for summer.”
681 Nostrand Avenue, Crown Heights