UZI: Fashion That’s Not Just for Skinny White Girls

David Ball and Mari Gustafson founded their fashion company, UZI, in Denver in 1995, but decamped for New York four years later. They “had made $10,000, which was a lot of money for Denver,” Ball told us, “but very little money here.” They bounced around offices in Manhattan and Brooklyn for years, but “each time we got priced out or they tore down the building.” Until they got to Sunset Park, that is. “Commercial space is reasonable and stabilized down here. North Brooklyn is dominated by real estate speculators that won’t guarantee more than a one-year lease, and you need a longer lease to grow your business.” They’re happy to be in Brooklyn, though. “Paris can keep haute couture and Manhattan can have its mall-ified Fifth Avenue,” Ball told us. “Brooklyn has a much more diverse mix of cultures. Fashion should be seen as more than skinny white girls in peeptoed platform boots.”

Photo Ashley Minette

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