Clothing shop ‘Bird’ closes permanently

Bird, a men’s and women’s clothing store with four locations in Brooklyn, closed its Park Slope outpost in 2020.
Photo by Susan De Vries

The Brooklyn-born clothing store, Bird, will shutter permanently by the end of the month after more than 20 years, its owner announced. 

“As with so many of our friends and neighbors, the ongoing pandemic has proven too much to bear on top of an already challenged, rapidly changing industry, and world,” Jen Mankins wrote on Instagram on Friday. “[I am] heartbroken to post this news today. [Bird] has meant everything to me and has been the core of my personal and professional life for almost two decades.”

The men’s and women’s clothing store — which had four locations in Brooklyn and one in Los Angeles at its height — sold luxe-casual indie numbers by designers such as Rachel Comey and Dries Van Noten, and was known for its interiors by Brooklyn architect Ole Sondresen.

Mankins, who worked as a buyer at Barneys and Steven Alan before taking over the first Bird shop, which opened in Park Slope in 1999, told the Business of Fashion that rising rents and direct-to-consumer competition, all worsened by the pandemic, made business impossible.

Bird’s Park Slope, Fort Greene, and Los Angeles locations shuttered in 2020, and the Cobble Hill store closed last weekend. The Williamsburg and online stores will shut down by the end of the month.

Tributes came pouring in from customers and prominent creatives following Mankins’ announcement on Jan. 8.

“Bird was legendary. You should feel so proud,” posted fashion icon and Barney’s window dresser, Simon Doonan on Instagram.

“Oh Jen so sad!! Bird will be forever missed #legend 💔💔💔” said designer Ulla Johnson, who lives in Fort Greene.

But not all hope is lost for Bird. In her post and an email to customers Friday, Mankins left open the possibility Bird will return in some form or another “on the other side.”

“Pausing what Bird has been for so long is not a decision I made easily nor one that I take lightly,” she wrote. “I hope to be able to use this break to reimagine what meaningful role fashion and retail can have in today’s world. I have not stopped believing in the power and importance of expressing oneself through the act of getting dressed, and I hope to see you on the other side of this with a new vision for Bird.”

This story first appeared on Brownstoner.com