At first glance, Only New York is a definitive "city kid" brand. The label was founded in 2008 by Manhattan natives Micah Belamarich and Julian Goldstein, and distinctly represents the interests of urban culture—evident in everything from its graffiti-splashed T-shirts to the grainy aesthetic of its lookbooks. The founders' social media handles, too, reflect a close affinity with the city that never sleeps: Belamarich's Instagram handle is @Micah_NYC, Goldstein's is @IShotNY. But despite its urban foundations, Only is imbued with a surprisingly leftfield influence: fishing.
Sitting in Central Park, beside an unimaginatively named body of water called The Lake, Belamarich recalls his dad strapping him into a chest carrier while he fished in Cape Cod, MA. Meanwhile, Goldstein used to fish with his dad in upstate New York, after his parents bought a home there. During high school, the two would wake up early on weekends to fish with each other's families. "I would cast in the middle of the street when the cars weren't going by," Goldstein remembers of his childhood, mostly spent on the Upper West Side.
It's no wonder, then, that fishing has made its way into Only's designs. One of the brand's first releases, a camp hat, holds special importance for the founders. "I remember going fishing that season and taking our hats with us," recalls Goldstein. "It makes perfect sense to be wearing that type of hat while fishing." Soon, Only was producing its own thick flannels and waxed-canvas jackets—gear for early mornings on the lake disguised as city essentials.
Alongside potholes, pigeons, and paint cans, Belamarich doodles trout, swordfish, and small boats onto the brand's goods.
Only's downtown audience has responded well to the brand's authentic, utilitarian offerings, proudly rocking long-billed hats, "Trout Town, USA" T-shirts, and corduroy jacket collars—popped, of course.
For more, see onlyny.com.