If you haven’t ventured past 110th street and into the heart of Harlem, you’re missing out on a neighborhood rich with cultural and sartorial history — one that Celia Roach, fashion editor and founder of the lifestyle brand needle+thræd, has explored in depth for nearly ten years. A native of the nearby Bronx borough, Roach has a strong appreciation for the old Harlem, when families dressed up for church on Sunday mornings and literary and artistic greats roamed the streets.
Roach founded needle+thræd back in 2009 to make an impact in her community and empower the women who both wear and make her designs. And since then, Harlem has become a place of inspiration for Roach, who designs her beaded chokers and home goods right here in New York.
She works side-by-side with a female cooperative in Kenya who not only hand-bead each choker and pillow, but also give their input on the historical Masai aesthetic seen throughout Roach’s recent collections. By getting to know each of these women individually, she has successfully bridged the gap between our world and theirs while also creating a common thread between style and substance.
We tagged along with her to see some of her favorite spots, like a beautiful Jamaican restaurant and a natural beauty boutique catered to the African-American women who live nearby.