J, M, Z at Essex St.
It’s easy to walk right past the subterranean Con Artist—the entirety of its signage is a light stencil of the name on a dingy metal grate outside. Owner Brian Shevlin opened the store in spring 2010, to sell the kind of clothes he’s been collecting for years, along with original items from members of his art collective, Connected Artist. The collective has their workspace behind the store, so when they’re not crafting documentary shorts or taking photos or jewelry making, the group votes on what should make the cut to be sold up front. As a result, the selection is small, but the stock has a handpicked, one-of-a-kind feel. You’ll find everything from screen-printed t-shirts to buttery soft buttondowns, plus accessories and quirky gift items.