Leather Craftsman Sets Up Shop On Lafayette

By the way, Lafayette isn’t the only newcomer on Lafayette Street. Just a couple blocks away, between Bleecker and Bond Streets, a new shop has quietly opened in the former home of Hip-Hop USA.

Daika features one of-a-kind leather handbags, wallets, sandals, and wristbands, all of which are made by Taichi Shimizu, a longtime maker of “classic European style” handbags who goes by the name Daika.

The handcrafted accessory brand launched in 2007, according to its president, Mai Kano. “We were doing the flea market thing and sold some things at 12 Lions Studio [at 684 Broadway] on the weekend; until Christmas when they told us they’d close. After that, I thought it’d be good to have our own store.”

And they found it just a few blocks away, at 343 Lafayette Street. The creative process is similarly hyperlocal. “We go to a leather shop in Manhattan then to our offices in Long Island City where everything is made,” Ms. Kano explained. The result, said shopkeeper Mariko Nakada, is “simple and functional stuff.”

Most of that stuff is targeted toward women, but Ms. Nakada said the sandals are unisex; and by the fall there will be more options for men.