LOWER EAST SIDE — Art galleries and clothing boutiques will capture the energy of Fashion Week at a local event next week called "Opening Night: Art + Fashion," set to coinicide with the style extravaganza farther uptown.
The Lower Eat Side Business Improvement District will host the pre-Fashion Week event on Sept. 5 as galleries launch their fall exhibitions and fashion stores tout customers with special deals in a festival-like atmosphere. Shoppers and gallery goers will also find snacks, drinks and live music at the approximately 40 participating venues around the neighborhood between 6 and 9 p.m.
"What I think is unique is that there are so many independent designers that even make their own clothing on their premises," said Natalie Raben, the LES BID's marketing and communications coordinator, about shopping in the neighborhood.
As Fashion Weeks rolls into the city, bringing with it Fashion's Night Out on Sept. 6, much of the crowd will focus on the city's shopping centers in SoHo, the Meatpacking District and along Fifth Avenue. That leaves the unique clothing stores on the Lower East Side lacking much of the action, organizers said.
"We can't really compete with Fashion's Night Out," Raben noted. “So we thought, why not get the party started early."
The event will also use galleries, which often attract similar crowds as boutique shops, to draw people into the neighborhood, she added.
Jumping on board the BID's initiative include rocker-style leather clothing store The Cast and menswear shop By Robert James, which are both on Orchard Street. Art spaces such as gallery nine5 on Spring Street and Pocket Utopia on Henry Street will also be participating.
"People are already here from Paris and Milan, and they are looking for something to do," said Brian Bennett, the co-owner of Pilgrim on Orchard Street, which sells its own line of clothing along with high-end vintage items.
Without the pull of celebrities and huge sponsors, the Lower East Side remains largely quiet as the city pulses with Fashion's Night Out events, Bennett explained.
"How do you compete when Teen Vogue has a runway show down Bleecker Street?" said Bennett, describing of one of the promotional events that occurred at a recent fashion event.
More than 20 galleries and 14 boutiques will be involved in the event, according to Raben, with more likely to sign on before next week.
"The fact that we don't have an anchor store like Diane von Furstenberg or Topshop maybe prevents people from exploring," she said.
"We are trying to reverse that."
Here's a list of some participating stores and how they will celebrate “Opening Night: Art + Fashion.”
By Robert James — Mark-downs including $40 off all Red Price shirts, pants and jackets. There will also be a live DJ spinning dance, rock and club hits.
Earnest Sewn — 25 percent off of everything and Belvedere Vodka mixed drinks.
The Cast — 25 percent off of select items in the store.
Delicate Raymond — Official Grand Opening celebration of its brand-new flagship. Expect cocktails and a gift-with-purchase.
Skunkfunk — 50 to 60 percent off everything in the store.
The Great Frog — Free drinks ranging from rum, tequila, whiskey and beer.
MissInna — Purple cupcakes will be served.
Feltraiger — The store is teaming up with VICE magazine for a PBR-sponsored party.