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'Real Designer Market' Brings Brooklyn Flea Experience to Nolita

By Andrea Swalec | March 18, 2013 9:43am | Updated on March 18, 2013 10:47am

NOLITA — A rebranded weekend market on Mulberry Street is bringing a bit of Brooklyn Flea flair to the fashion-forward neighborhood by selling authentic local wares rather than generic goods.

The newly renamed Real Designer Market brings dozens of local artists and food vendors to the gym behind St. Patrick's Old Cathedral every Saturday and has a new "by designers, for designers" focus, organizers said.

After changing management multiple times since 2001, the market previously known as Young Designers Market reopened on March 2 with an emphasis on showcasing clothing and art made by New Yorkers, while excluding generic items like the feather earrings and faux-pashmina scarves often found at New York flea markets, co-organizer Sara Keiser said Friday.

"We want to be known as the destination for items that are authentic," she said. "We're not going to be accepting anything that's a resale or wholesale item. You may as well go to Canal Street for that."

Clothing and accessories at the market include brightly colored turbans by designer Shawna McBean, "steampunk" jewelry by local artist Diane Diraimo and sleek handmade bags by Elaine Arsenault.

Prices start at $40 for some photographs and $25 for T-shirts available from companies like Vernakular, which features contemporary photography of city scenes like empty subway cars.

The latest food offerings at the Real Designer Market include pastries from the Upper East Side shop Le Churro and chocolate from Truffles by Coquette.

"More food is on the way," added Keiser, a Lower East Side resident who sells clothing from her own line, Box 185, at the market.

The designer market is a good compliment to the mass retailers in SoHo, she noted.

"If you're going to run to the chain store, you can stop by here and see something else interesting."

The Real Designer Market is open at 268 Mulberry St. from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.