With its bright yellow awning, one storefront located in the Bronx evokes the image of a bodega. It's actually an apparel store, which celebrates the borough, its people, and yes, its grit.
The Bronx Native shop sells Bronx-branded items, from stylish t-shirts and hats to books by Bronx authors
"We not only wanted to sell our Bronx-based merchandise, but we [also] wanted to create an interactive experience,” said Amaurys Grullon, a Co-founder of the Bronx Native.
It all started three years ago, with a conversation between siblings Amaurys and Roselyn Grullon. Amaurys is a graphic designer, and his sister is a fashion designer. They were looking for streetwear with a Bronx edge. And when they couldn't find it, their brand Bronx Native was born.
They began with a pop-up store, and it proved popular enough for the Grullons to open a shop 15 months ago, and an online store.
The siblings say their success is tied to the pride Bronx natives feel and the possibilities that may follow from the surge of development in the borough.
“I feel there’s a renaissance right now in the Bronx, creativity in the Bronx,” said Amaurys. “We’ve been working here forever. The Bronx was once burning and now that it’s burning and blossoming with creativity and all of these great things, it’s important for us to step up."
The siblings say they consider themselves to be cultural curators. Items familiar to anyone who's grown up here, like so-called "quarter waters" are used for decoration, as are photos of notable Bronxites. The graffiti walls are open for tagging, too. One spot on the walls has Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's signature; She stopped by on her way to winning a congressional seat last year.
There’s a good mix of both old and new Bronx meant to conjure nostalgia, like this lip gloss which did it for me. It was my very first makeup and it only used to cost $1 each.
After hours, the Bronx Native store is used for open mic nights and networking events, bringing together creative and concerned residents who share a love of fashion and the borough.
“I just want everyone to feel that pride and to never be scared to say they’re from the Bronx and be proud,” said Roselyn. “They become a symbol themselves when they wear our brand.”
Like this story? Sign up to get similar ones delivered to your inbox every Thursday evening with our Boro by Boro newsletter.