Costume Shop That Was Too Sexy for Bushwick Finds Home in Bed-Stuy

By Paul DeBenedetto on October 8, 2013 6:25am 

Slideshow
 Suzi Gerber's Bed-Stuy costume shop was denied a lease in Bushwick for being "too sexual."
Costume Shock/the Beauty Ritual Is A New Costume Shop in Bed-Stuy
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BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A latex-filled costume shop whose owner claims she was denied space by the Hasidic landlords of a popular Bushwick art space for being "too sexual" has found a home in Bed-Stuy.

Costume Shock/the Beauty Ritual, a costume and makeup shop, is moving into a space at 749 DeKalb Ave.

Its owner told DNAinfo New York in July that she was rejected from Bushwick's Shops at the Loom because the landlords felt the store violated their religious beliefs.

"It cost me a lot of money and a lot of time to start up again," said owner Suzi Gerber, 30. "And the way they handled it was very nasty."

Gerber said her brick-and-mortar store, which will carry her handmade Klawtex brand latex duds, will be a "high-end Halloween shop" that is slightly more toned down than her fetish-filled website. The store will sell clothing and makeup for people with a more outgoing sense of style all year round, Gerber said.

"I am not into shock rock, or offensiveness," Gerber said. "It's our emphasis on the unusual, the rare or the bizarre that make [the clothing] more costume-y, but there are people who aren't afraid of making that their daily look, especially in New York."

Gerber said she was already approved for her space at the Loom when the owners, FPTK LLC., began to express concern over the more "sexual" items in Klawtex's inventory.

Despite Gerber's assurances that those pieces would not be part of the store, the landlords allegedly refused to rent the shop to her on religious grounds.

The building's management denied the allegation on Monday, declining to discuss details but calling the issue "complicated."

"There was a lot of miscommunication between brokers," said a spokeswoman from Bushburg Properties, which represents FPTK, adding, "it's no ones' business, the tiny, little details."

Gerber, who was raised Jewish, hopes she can put the drama behind her — except when it comes to her store's products.

"A high-impact, dramatic look is really in right now," Gerber said of her shop. "I see people walking down the street all the time wearing goth makeup or Japanese street style."

Outside of costume components, Gerber said the shop would also focus on community events such as garment-making classes and makeup sessions, including how to put on zombie-style movie makeup.

The shop owner said she was even interested in hosting "mommy and me" classes, and is selling kids makeup just in time for Halloween, when she said the shop would also host a Halloween party for neighbors and patrons.

Gerber, who lives on the same block as her new store, said she just wants to make sure her neighbors feel comfortable.

"Everyone here is super-friendly, and I think they've been really receptive," Gerber said.

"You're not a 'weirdo' for shopping here. It's definitely for people who want a little more glam in their life."

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