Where to Shop on the Lower East Side

Six hip stores with the latest in hats, sneakers, jeans, and more.

A few years ago the Lower East Side of Manhattan seemed destined to go the way of every other up-and-coming New York neighborhood. First a micro coffee brewer opens shop, and then Marc Jacobs comes knocking—giving mass-market retailers the green light to pounce with 10,000-square-foot megastores. Fortunately, that never happened. Tenements that housed immigrants at the beginning of the last century still stand, as do bargain outlets along Orchard Street. The hipster sneaker stores are still going strong, but now there's a new crop of sophisticated boutiques geared toward adults (the successful, downtown kind). You may not recognize the labels—many of these stores carry collections found only in Paris, Berlin, and Tokyo—but you'll instantly recognize the style.

3. Assembly
The store's resident pet, a green parakeet named Sweet Pea, might wander into your fitting room. But that's part of Assembly's laid-back charm, which is reflected in a lineup of worn vintage tees and cutting-edge collections like Henrik Vibskov, Rachel Comey, and Alexander Yamaguchi, who produces some of the most impressive French-terry-cloth hoodies this side of St. Tropez. This fall, Assembly launches its own line of chambray blazers and washed-cotton shirts. 174 Ludlow St., 212-253-5393; assemblynewyork.com

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