DUMBO Works: Meet TWO’s Monica Patel-Cohn
DUMBO BID intern Julia Carey recently spent some quality time with DUMBO fashion designer (and resident) Monica Patel-Cohn ...
Walking into TWO's headquarters at 20 Jay Street is walking into a sea of color. Jewel-colored tunics and caftans hang elegantly from a clothes rack, neatly-folded Indian textiles reside in ceiling-high shelves, a sewing machine sits on a craft table in the corner; it is industrial-modern-meets-sari shop. The space is emblematic of TWO's collection; owner Monica Patel-Cohn creates pieces "using handmade Indian textiles with a modern sensibility."
THE STORY OF TWO: The seed for TWO was planted at Patel-Cohn's wedding when she and her friend were admiring her Indian family members' saris. Struck by the fabric and comfortable yet elegant look, they decided to experiment making clothing from the textiles and...
Needless to say, they were happy with the results!
Patel-Cohn has long been part of the fashion world, previously working as a fashion editor at Condé Nast and in advertising at Barneys and Prada Corporate in Milan - so starting her own brand was a natural next-step. However, when creating TWO, she didn't set out to make couture - instead she was interested in creating comfortable and chic pieces that celebrate the beautiful saris she sources in India.
TWO has been a huge success, having been profiled in The Sartorialist, Harper's Bazaar and Vogue. The brand's caftans and tunics can be found on the racks of Barneys and boutiques worldwide. To keep up with the success of her brand, Patel-Cohn recently moved production from her 20 Jay Street studio to the Garment District in Manhattan.
DUMBO HISTORY: DUMBO holds an important place in Patel-Cohn's heart - she moved here from Manhattan with her then-boyfriend(now husband) in the early-2000's. She was drawn to it because it reminded her of Soho with its cobblestone streets and industrial feel. She and her husband have both lived and/or worked in DUMBO since then - their first child was born here. She loves how DUMBO is family-friendly but also retains the creative edge that drew her here initially.
WORKING IN DUMBO: Patel-Cohn has worked in a variety of spaces in DUMBO; when remembering spaces that she's worked in she laughed as she recounted how her husband would rent office spaces for his trade finance business and when he decided to move to another spot in the neighborhood, she would end up occupying it. She loves her current space at 20 Jay Street and said that buyers often remark on how cool the building is and how everyone is so creative who works here. Patel-Cohn looks forward to possible collaborations with other building tenants!
Besides creating kaftans and dresses celebrating Indian textiles, Patel-Cohn also sells her favorite guides for travelers heading to India, Love Travel Guides, on her website. Monica Patel-Cohn's love for India is contagious, as is her love for DUMBO. Thank you for inspiring us, TWO!
TWO's studio is open for appointments, just email TWO to set one up!