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Among the quaint bakeries, bistros, and specialty shops of rehabilitated Fort Greene, the pint-size B2 Gear seems an unlikely location for cheap, hyper-trendy clothes. Crammed onto the store’s shelves and racks are collections by XOXO and other teen-friendly brand names usually found at suburban malls or in the mammoth emporiums that line Broadway in Soho. This store, however, is part of a non-profit program that teaches high schoolers entrepreneurial skills. Local teens go through several weeks of business training before working in the store, which they virtually run, with limited supervision. For the casual shopper, what this means—in addition to the guarantee that every sales clerk will be younger than you—is skin-tight low-riding jeans that only an 18-year-old could make work, loads of fake gold jewelry, and knock-offs of whatever J. Lo was wearing in the latest US Weekly. Mirrors with wavy borders and a modular revolving display shelf add extra bling to the hip hop teeny-bopper vibe.
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