Karma Chameleon

I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Bushwick, but let me tell you something: everything they say about the neighborhood is true. If Williamsburg was once known for its industrial, barren landscape, Bushwick is a desert, a bleak, concrete mass of converted factories and dubious warehouses, eerily void of any human interference. There’s no foot traffic, barely any trees, even the streets have boring names… Except for this little block. It’s buzzing. Twenty-somethings are sitting on the landings, set up with tables to sell their home decor castoffs, their bicycles chained to nearby parking poles. Roberta’s Pizza is packed. It’s as if a community of migrating settlers decided this was the spot to plant the hipster flag. Still, it’s a lot of granola…

Berrin Noorata moved to Bushwick because she needed “to get out of the Lower East Side. It started to feel like the Meat Packing District and that’s just not the vibe I want to live in. I wanted a quiet place with big windows where I could have lots of plants and trees.” Her place is sunny, to say the least. There are no curtains to speak of, even though she’s been living here since August. “I love waking up to the sunlight pouring in,” she says calmly. And she got her plants. The previous tenant even had a tree in the living room but “he took it with him…” Her roommate Evan, a Cooper Union student and occasional, excellent, vegan baker, is a discreet yet consistent part of the Noorata household.

Berrin is Turkish for “pinnacle of heaven”. She is the youngest of three siblings born and raised by Brighton Beach with pure Uzbek roots. And though most of her family has now relocated to places like Pakistan and Turkey, she hangs on to her heritage with great pride and treasures the matrimonial influences. “I grew up in a conservative environment. The women on my mom’s side of the family only had custom clothes made for them and so when I visit I do too. My mother also made a lot of the clothes my sister and I wore growing up. She did not like the clothes we had available to us in the malls so we spent a lot of time in fabric stores. I remember for my 6th grade graduation I desperately wanted a poofy metallic dress from the mall and she refused, actually laughing and decided to make me a mod, red and white polka dot mini dress instead. I hated it at first but I think it changed my entire direction in style.”

These days Berrin is a chameleon and her style “very moody”. As the Brand Developer at Searchers Group, a small PR and marketing company, she has access to some of her favorite brands. She loves Rick Owens because she was “a goth growing up, so working with his collections is a dream come true”, Repetto because “they are the original heritage brand” and Surface to Air because she can always “find something casual and cool to wear.” And as far as vintage is concerned, she collects pieces as she finds them. There is no rhyme or reason to it. Her most memorable pieces are a leather daddy hat she got in Berlin and a vintage bike from the flea market. Just the things one needs for a painless Bushwick invasion.

Scroll down to watch Berrin’s video story.

April 25, 2012

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