Complex SHOP X Neighborhood Spot: The Casa Magazines Tee
Founded in 1994, Casa Magazines is a West Village mainstay representing all the things that make NYC great. The independent business is owned by hardworking immigrants from India and Pakistan (Mohammed Ahmed & Ali Wasim), and it’s a print mecca for diverse locals and surrounding fashion, literary, and art industry professionals. Diana Von Furstenberg herself used to shop here, and author Malcolm Gladwell is a regular too.
Apart from Casa developing the reputation as the magazine store that’s always open (6AM-Midnight), the depth of its offerings is extremely impressive. You’ll find the obligatory dailies, obscure high fashion glossies, science journals, art books, and international editions of titles you never thought existed. The melting pot of the city is personified in the magazine racks of this local, independent shop.
For Complex SHOP X Neighborhood Spot’s ongoing partnership to aid local businesses during this difficult COVID period, we couldn’t think of a more fitting business to support. All proceeds from sales will be used to support the survival of this NYC icon.
We had a chat with Happy David of Casa Magazines to discuss the new t-shirt, and how the good people of this city have stepped up in a major way to help out.
How did you connect with Will of Neighborhood Spot for the collab t-shirt?
New York Nico, who’s also been helping Casa Magazines and La Bonbonniere told us about Will. We met up to chat and he assured us that we did not need to worry about putting out any resources, and Neighborhood Spot would do all the heavy lifting. Knowing that he also grew up working in his parents’ small business and understood what we were facing really helped seal the deal!
The design of the t-shirt is great with all those iconic NYC fonts. Can you tell us a little more about it?
Will actually came up with that idea. It features the masthead fonts of all the different iconic New York publications Casa carries. Others have done something similar—I just thought Casa would be the most deserving to use this concept, haha.
2020 has been very difficult for businesses in NYC. How has Casa been coping?
Little things really mattered, especially at this time, when we were forced to close. Our M12 bus driver wrote signs for us to redirect our mail and deliveries. La Bonbonniere took in all our deliveries. Neighbors brought in masks and donated via Venmo and GoFundMe.
MerchAid came in and I pitched in more online to handle all the inquiries and announcements.
Editorial teams made sure to check in with distribution to make sure our supply chain was not disrupted. The Vogue print feature in their September issue: IT TAKES AN INDUSTRY, was really very sweet and brought things full circle.
Didn’t luxury fashion house Valentine also step in to help as well?
Yes, part of the Valentino team, who are also Casa regulars, reached out about a month ago about an upcoming book project featuring their collaborations with independent magazines. Besides the store takeover, they were also going to make a donation from proceeds of their book sales.
They just didn’t do a regular window takeover—they thought through how they could drive more customers and awareness for the plight of print and it worked. It was authentic because we do carry the publications they collaborated with: 032C, Purple Fashion, Another, Cactus Digital and many more.
Even though this year has been extremely tough, what gives you hope for the future?
The outpouring of support, especially from our West Village community, the Fashion industry, people everywhere, has been incredible. Who would have thought that a luxury brand like Valentino would be taking over Casa’s windows?
Casa has been through a lot—Hurricane Sandy, 9/11, COVID (hopefully will come and go)— we hope we can weather all this and continue to be here at this corner for all your print needs.
Shop the Neighborhood Spot collection here.
Casa Magazines is located at: 22 8th Ave, West Village, NYC.
Follow Casa Magazines on IG at: @casamagazinesnyc