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Brooklyn, New York—Global Icon of Chic


In Brooklyn, New York, a large number of independent merchants played an essential role in creating a unique mix consisting of homes and neighborhood boutiques. Especially among millennials, there has been a huge boost in Brooklyn’s population growth. Along with that, a “retail chic” has developed, and has been responsible for transforming a New York borough not typically considered glamorous into a region known around the world for global retail brands.

As part of the Brooklyn: The Epicenter of Hip, How Millennial Consumers Created the Model for Urban Cool report states, this transformation has been fostered by numerous factors. The change to the Brooklyn borough started seven years ago, primarily due to Millennials moving into the area. Specific to retail, Brooklyn has become a type of incubator for the chic and funky trend known as “Brooklyn Style.”

Hip Retail Mecca

As stressed by Garrick Brown, vice president of retail research for the Americas at Cushman & Wakefield, Brooklyn’s image as a hip retail mecca was made possible by several key merchants, including Sincerely Tommy, Wolves Within, Concrete + Water, Home of the Brave, Apotheke, Bird, Swords-Smith, and others. This unique mixed living opportunity has helped boost Brooklyn’s population over the past 15 years by 8 percent. Today, roughly 2.7 people call this New York City borough home.

Business growth is another key driver for Brooklyn becoming the icon of chic. Starting in 2009 and ending in 2014, approximately 1,900 new businesses cropped up annually in this New York borough—a significant jump over the 900 annual businesses during the nine years prior. The source of the sudden global cache is independent retailers who started businesses and today, continue to thrive. For apparel, high-quality food, home goods, and other products, Brooklyn is now a hub of artisanal production.

Population Growth

Although Brooklyn is well-known for having unique boutique-type shops, growth is being driven primarily by national retailers. As far as the multifamily market, the population growth has had a dramatic impact. In addition to apartment vacancy rate being on the rise, over 6,700 market-rate units are currently under construction in Brooklyn.

More and more Manhattan residents are finding Brooklyn attractive. With the 24/7 work and play environment, urban lifestyles, brand name retail stores, quaint boutique shops, and low rent, it is easy to see why Brooklyn is dubbed the global icon of chic.

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