Know Your Side Street: Elizabeth Street

The recession hit Elizabeth Street hard, but the blocks below Houston are bouncing back with a spate of new businesses.

8. Babel Fair
(260 Elizabeth St.; 646-360-3685)
A studiously international shop with Pima-cotton tees from Peru and San Bernardo snow boots from Italy.

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Erica Kiang turned her affinity for international street style into a career. She graduated from Barnard in 2006, interned at Vogue and Gucci, and landed a retail job at Ann Taylor. After soaking up the local sartorial scene on recent trips to Brazil and Hong Kong, she decided to launch her own boutique, which opened late last month on a recovering stretch of Nolita. Kiang hired freelance trend-hunters in Asia, Europe (one also works for Italian Vogue), and South America to report back on ubiquitous street styles and notable local designers. Unlike other internationally influenced boutiques, the selection here is fashion-focused and truly diverse: You’ll find dresses from Brazil, Denmark, and Australia, jeans from Korea, watches from Tokyo, bags from Ghana, fur vests from Bolivia, jewelry from Argentina, and cashmere from Italy. New shipments arrive on a weekly basis, both from established designers and smaller, new producers. (“Sometimes, I end up taking things home in my suitcase,” Kiang says, laughing.)

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