SEPTEMBER 1, 2016; NEW YORK, NY—NY NOW is a hybrid gift and home accessories show with a nod toward handcrafted (or maybe better thought of as “small batch”) goods. I concentrated on the latter this time around at the Javits Center here, because sometimes the handcrafted goods are harbingers of things to come from the mass producers or inspire fresh thinking about staid licensed categories. That’s where stealing smart begins.

One of the trends gleaned here: Fresh takes on incorporating discarded/recycled/reclaimed materials. This movement waxes and wanes, without ever totally disappearing. But I came across some innovative examples:

Stacey Lee Webber works with coins and found metal objects to create art pieces. Pictured are what she was showing at NY NOW, including a framed display of Abraham Lincoln busts cut from pennies and of nickel buffalo roaming. Not on display but worth taking a look at on her website is a chainsaw fabricated from pennies. Looks like it even works.

Attic Journals uses old book covers, bingo cards, floppy disks and other items as covers for its journals, and incorporates parts of books and old library “book due” cards for its jewelry.

NY NOW journals w:recycled covers

People for Urban Progress (PUP) makes “goods for good,” rescuing “discarded materials [and] redesigning them for public benefit” in Indianapolis. They started in 2008 making messenger bags and other items with material salvaged when the RCA Dome was torn down. The bags, in particular, have a great distinctive look and, if you will, vibe. Product sales benefit various projects the non-profit supports as well as local artists, designers, and others involved in creating them.

Swell Fellow is a Montreal-based company specializing in high-end ties and bow-ties for men (there are a few selections au feminine), some of which feature Scrabble tiles, keyboard keys, and miniature toy pieces such as cans of paint or a Coke bottle. A few ties have a pocket to accommodate a cell phone as part of the fashion accessory.

This one is only tangentially about recycling (“Give old clothes new life!”):

Patricia Vogel and Dominique Serrano’s Button makes . . . buttons. It was late afternoon and I’m thinking snack — when I see this display that looks like very artsy macarons. Well, they’re buttons, hand made in Chile, and they’re sold individually as brooches and buttons, or in pairs, with magnet backing, to use to tie a scarf or spiff up old clothes.

OK, not as good as a macaron, but refreshing in its own way.

Need a fresh pair of eyes to update your competitive positioning? Contact me here.