Spike Lee came back to Brooklyn on Saturday — albeit just to sell stuff.
The filmmaker — who has helped elevate Brooklyn as a brand, though he moved long ago to Manhattan — was the man of the afternoon at the clothing sale he hosted at his production company’s headquarters on S. Elliott Place in Fort Greene.
Hundreds of people lined up for throwback gear including Brooklyn-bicycle hats, “Spike Knows” Nike shirts and other promotional material from 40 Acres and Mule and Lee’s films.
The clothing went quick, but Lee stuck around, donning in an oversize Michael Jackson T-shirt and a “Crooklyn” hat, signing autographs, posing for pictures, holding babies, and occasionally ordering track changes from a DJ perched on a nearby stoop.
Lee may not live in the borough that nurtured him and then served as his backdrop, but he’s still well-loved in Fort Greene.
“He’s one of the big inspirations for me,” said Jason “Lucky” Conway, a fashion designer from East New York.
Nostalgia was in full effect at the event: in this case, the look and feel of the late 1980s and early ’90s as mythologized by Lee’s early films including “She’s Gotta Have It” and “Do the Right Thing.”
More than a few retro kids were on hand, looking like they had walked off the set of either film, sporting four-inch flattops, acid-washed jeans, four-finger rings and large Africa pendants.
But fashion has always been a sidelight of the director, who has collaborated on clothing and ads with brands such as Ecko, Nike and Converse.
Lee turned Sphinx when The Brooklyn Paper tried to chat him up, and security guards wearing “Defend Brooklyn” T-shirts moved in. But if he had deigned to talk, he could have discussed his next Brooklyn-centric film, “Red Hook Summer,” due out in summer 2012 in which Lee will reprise his role as Mookie from “Do the Right Thing.”
Fans think he should abandon Manhattan already.
“I think he should stay in Brooklyn,” said Sealey. “You don’t see him running around with Gucci and Louis Vuitton and Ferrari’s and all that. You see him running around with Nike stuff like all of us.”