When Hillary France, the founder of the emerging brand trade show Brand Assembly, moved upstate from New York City to the artistic riverside community of Hudson, she fell in love with the area's small-town feel and sense of community.
"I'd say it's more grounded in hobbies and crafts as opposed to jobs and who you know," she tells me. France dreamt of taking over an old 1950s garage that at the time housed a local bar and turning it into some sort of co-working space. The dream came true: At the end of 2019, the lease became available and she started negotiations. Then, Covid hit — but instead of trying to get out of the project, she decided to go full steam ahead. "Obviously, trade shows were taking a little bit of a hiatus," she says.
France's concept became Wylde, which offers a combination of membership and public access and has a café, space for meetings and a curated retail space featuring indie designers like Rachel Comey, Dôen and Lykke Wulf. And while the Hudson Valley was already home to a lively creative community, the pandemic ignited something of a migration up the river from NYC, bringing even more spending power to the area — and more fashion entrepreneurs.
Mix and Match