Top of the Pops

By Mary K. Zajac

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Vinegarooned leather and selvage denim. Verdigris-dyed oxford shirts. Bow ties and pocket handkerchiefs fashioned out of vintage fabric. These are the haberdashery Emily Bihl ’13 has introduced readers to on her blog, Rye & Rivet. Created in the summer of 2011, Rye & Rivet has been Bihl’s platform for sharing profiles of heritage craftspeople, small batch spirits, and recipes for retro cocktails—all in a warm, intimate, fresh voice befitting a Writing Seminars and English double major who now works writing copy for fashion designer Ralph Lauren.

But reading about the handmade goods of, say, Utah-based company Don’t Mourn Organize, is not the same as feeling the length of their natural, veg-tanned horsehide belt between your fingers. So for three days in July 2013, prior to leaving Baltimore for New York, Bihl created the Rye & Rivet pop-up shop as an extension of her blog and a way to spotlight products and makers showcased there. For the kick-off party at The Old Bank Barbers in Hampden, a DJ spun appropriately retro LPs, cocktails were served, and a carefully curated array of dry goods for sale from seven artisan brands, including John Ruvin sunglasses, pocket squares from Fox and Brie, and Railcar Fine Goods selvage denim, were on display. Some companies, like Don’t Mourn Organize, that normally don’t sell independently, created custom items specifically for the pop-up shop; other craftspersons made personal appearances in the shop.2_PopUpJHU0420

“It was really amazing to have a meet and greet with the craftsmen,” says Bihl. “A huge part of buying handmade items is knowing the story behind them—that’s what drew me to hosting the pop-up shop. It brought people together.”

With the success of one pop-up, is there another in Bihl’s future? Possibly, she says. She’s had requests for another from both vendors and buyers. But most of all, she adds, the shop was an exciting capping off to four years in Baltimore. “It was great as a last hurrah,” she says, “a wonderful farewell to Baltimore and my time there.” In the meantime, Bihl continues to blog at ryeandrivet.com.