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Slow Fashion Looks So Good On You! Inside Bushwick’s The Butterfly Club

Founder Maddie Gubernick is slowing down the shopping experience and inspiring conscious consumers from her Bushwick storefront.

Fashion has a “fast” problem. In a world where nearly all facets of life move at rapid speed, it can be tough to stop and think about how your shopping habits impact both communities and the planet.

The solution? “The future of conscious consumption is slow and safe,” says Maddie Gubernick, founder of The Butterfly Club, a store that is home to dozens of brands who design vintage, upcycled, handmade or ethically-produced products in Bushwick, New York.

We recently caught up with Maddie at the store to learn more about her mission.

Born and raised in New York City, Maddie Gubernick has been a fashion lover for as long as she can remember.

With a background in public affairs and a passion for solving the issues faced by her community, Maddie began The Butterfly Club as a blog to find, share, and promote small, lesser-known sustainable brands. “When I started the blog back in 2020, a lot of the sustainable marketplaces out there were not places that I actually would want to buy from,” says Maddie, who yearned to bring her love of curating small businesses to a larger audience, much of which was new to the sustainable shopping space. 

As the blog grew, Maddie began building relationships with the brands she featured, who, during the COVID-19 pandemic, were looking for new ways to sell their products in a rapidly changing environment. “Living in New York City at the time, I realized that a great solution for these brands was a pop-up shop where they could sell their products,” she comments. “That pop-up shop ended up lasting for two and a half years.” Today, The Butterfly Club is a fashionista’s candy store, filled with brightly-colored clothes, glassware, and accessories.

In December, The Butterfly Club moved from a tiny, 150-square-foot boutique in the East Village to the open, airy space that it now calls a permanent home. “The new space in Bushwick is much more conducive to workshops, fashion shows, and other hands-on activities,” says Maddie, who believes that sustainable fashion has to be experiential. 

But sustainability is a word that Maddie likes to avoid. “In many ways, ‘sustainable fashion’ is an oxymoron,” she comments. “On the other hand, slower and safer fashion is what I’d like consumers to start thinking about. For most of us, ‘sustainability’ can feel really scary and sometimes impossible.”

Every aspect of the shopping experience at The Butterfly Club is meant to be slow and encourage a mindset shift – consumers are prompted to think about who made an item, what it’s made out of, and the community in which it was made, both online and in the physical store space. “What makes The Butterfly Club different from other marketplaces is a focus on finding designers that either hand make their products, upcycle their products, or have their products produced ethically in really small rounds. To me, there’s nothing slower and safer than that.” 

Sign inside the butterfly club that says Slow Fashion Looks So Good on You!

As the store continues to put down roots in the Bushwick community, Maddie is eager to continue hosting events and workshops in partnership with The Butterfly Club’s brands. In April, the store hosted its first Slow Fashion Week show, which featured colorful sustainable looks with a medley of pieces from the store’s many designers, including Run and Follow, Laila Textiles, LAMSA, and more. Maddie also enjoys bringing her love of crafting through workshops – since the store’s opening, she has already hosted a beaded jewelry workshop, a plant-dyed garments workshop, and more, bringing the slow fashion experience to the Brooklyn community in a hands-on manner. 

To stay up to date on The Butterfly Club’s events, brands, workshops, and more, follow them at @thebutterflyclub.co.   

–Sara Marsh


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