Blaze of Glory


Bill Rainey sees a correlation between music and clothing, and he wants to strengthen it in his midtown boutique, B Blaze.

“Hip-hop, skate, emo — a lot of movements in the music industry have a certain fashion that goes along with them,” he says. “So I just try to keep up on that.”

Before he opened his clothing store in 2001, Rainey got to know the local fashion landscape by working at both Imagery and Zuni in Westport. But he also made an effort to figure out what was happening in other cities. “When I was doing research for my store and checking out places in New York and Chicago, the ones I liked the best all had DJs,” he says.

That’s why shoppers find area DJs spinning on Saturday afternoons at B Blaze. Rainey rotates his DJs from week to week so customers can hear a variety of styles — drum-‘n’-bass, electro-lounge, old hip-hop, new wave — while they browse the racks.

As for the apparel, B Blaze sells shirts, outerwear and accessories for both sexes from designers such as Fred Perry, RZST, English Laundry and Spiewak, as well as denim by Wrangler 47, Big Star and Jordache Vintage. Most of these items can’t be found anywhere else in the city — which is music to the ears of fashion-conscious shoppers who’ve been annoyed by the commercialization of the thrift-store-inspired styles.

“The way it is right now, pretty much every high school kid is going to be wearing stuff from Urban Outfitters,” Rainey says of the Plaza’s new clothing chain. “So it’s like, where are you going to go to not look like that? That’s the void I’m trying to fill.”

Rainey also has tentative plans to expand his shoe selection, which includes Royal Elastics, Gola and Macbeth items. “We want to eventually start an old-school sneaker-head shop, with collectible Nikes and other really hard-to-find shoes,” he says.

In the meantime, people who want unique gear can follow their feet to the dance beats on 39th Street.