Q&A with Yosef H Founder, Jared Handler

Nearly 18 years ago when I made the city my home, Jared Handler became one of first city friends. I have always admired his free and entrepreneurial spirit, and the fact that he marches to the beat of his own drum. It was no surprise, then, when he told me he was starting a fashion accessories company several years ago. This month I am featuring him and his company Yosef H which has found great success propelled by his instinct for fashion, passionate work ethic, and belief in his vision. 

JD: As a child, what did you think “you wanted to be” when you grew up?

Jared: I grew up in Merrick on Long Island and I went to school at F.I.T. As a child I always wanted to become a professional hockey player in the NHL. My great Aunt Amina was an expert tailor, who my Mom always compares me to. I currently use her old 1900’s Singer sewing machine to craft every piece. I use the manual wheel with no electric.
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Jared with Paula Abdul wearing Yosef H

JD: What was the path that lead you to starting Yosef H?

Jared: I always wanted to wear interesting/unique accessories that nobody else had or was wearing at the time. I began collecting leather exotics & taught myself how to craft & sew.

JD: What was one of the biggest challenges to starting this now very successful line?

Jared: I had no experience in the fashion industry and was hesitant to leave my career as a medical sales specialist to design full-time. At first my style was raw and unfinished and wasn’t certain people would get it.  One of the best lessons that I’ve learned is to be persistent and not listen to the naysayers. Being passionate & staying passionate is the key to becoming successful.

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JD: In what ways have you refined your craft since founding Yosef H?

Jared: Over recent years I’ve fabricated new hardware & closures in order to refine my designs. I’ve become an expert at sewing so all pieces are stitched with quality craftsmanship. I work with many materials including leather, metal & various fabrics to offer a fresh look. Today my designs are more buttoned up than ever.

JD: Your pieces are classic and transcend the trends of today; what was the inspiration behind the classic designs for your elegant pieces?

Jared: I wanted to make each piece wearable and versatile so they can be worn to many different occasions. It was important to create pieces that could be worn dressed up or down. I’m always aware of current trends but I choose to remain classic. I strive on creating timeless designs so people can wear each piece forever.

JD: What do you love most about the work that you do?

Jared: The ability to be creative. Challenging the mind, thinking outside the box, and executing a vision is what I truly love. Getting reassurance from people that wear my designs is key in regards to keeping the creative feeling alive.

JD: Do you have a favorite piece or collection that you are most proud of?

Jared: I am most proud of my latest Manhattan Villager watch collection. It combines my fascination with art deco pocket watches & exotics. The combination is the perfect contrast of timeless design meeting new age materials. The collection was originally geared towards just men, however women have taken a huge liking to the oversized and classic look.

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Manhattan Villager Timepiece

JD: Each piece is handcrafted; why was it important for you to give each piece the bespoke treatment it receives?

Jared: It’s important that each piece is handcrafted because this makes every piece unique and one-of-a-kind. This captures the feeling I’m going for and allows people to distinguish their own individuality. It’s the feeling one feels from wearing something they know is custom.

JD: Will you make a men’s line one day?

Jared: Yes, I’m actually in the process of creating a men’s line now. With the implementation of bespoke timepieces combined with edgy materials, men definitely have something to look forward to.

JD: Do you have a dream project?

Jared: My dream project is to create a well-known watch brand – Manhattan Villager – that transcends all ages & genders.

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JD: Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?

Jared: I would like to see my work in many high-end department stores, with a huge spread in GQ and celebrities lining up to wear my designs on the red carpet.

JD: Where can readers find your pieces?

YOSEFH.com

JD: Thank you so much, Jared!

Jared: My pleasure, Joe.

 

Fall Events In New York City

Autumn in New York is a romantic, contemplative time; once the temperature dips a bit, the city seems to takes a deep calming breath and time slows down, even as the days become shorter. Every New Yorker has an opinion on their favorite season, and they all have a point; but for many, the New York of their memories and imaginations will always exist in the fall. Here are just a few of the ways to enjoy autumn in New York!

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Central Park. Photo courtesy of the Central Park Conservancy

Central Park

There is never a bad time to visit Central Park, but there is something particularly magical about the park in the fall. The summertime crowds have thinned, the temperatures are mild, and there is no better place in Manhattan to enjoy fall foliage. Fall is also one of the best times to see migrating birds, and Central Park has long been a popular spot for migrating birds and birdwatchers from around the world.

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The 54th New York Film Festival
September 30th – October 15th

For the 54th consecutive year, the Film Society of Lincoln Center will bring the best in new independent and international film to New York. This year’s feature presentations include Mike Mills’ 20th Century Women, a “texturally and behaviorally rich new comedy” starring Annette Bening and Billy Crudup, as well as Ava DuVernay’s criminal justice doc The 13th, the first nonfiction work to open the festival. Tickets are currently on sale.

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Open House New York
October 15th and 16th

Urban adventurers, amateur historians, and architecture and design buffs should appreciate Open House NY, a community organized event dedicated to giving New Yorkers a glimpse into the corners of the city that don’t always necessarily get the appreciation that they deserve. On October 15th and 16th OHNY will take travelers on a guided tour of some of NYC’s lesser known treasures while providing a nuanced glimpse into the city’s storied history. According to the website-“For two days each October, the annual Open House New York Weekend unlocks the doors of New York’s most important buildings, offering an extraordinary opportunity to experience the city and meet the people who design, build, and preserve New York.”

Have a look at the official Open House NY event guide here.

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NYC Wine and Food Festival
October 13th- October 16th

There’s little mystery as to why this is one of New York’s most popular and highly-anticipated annual festivals. For the ninth time in as many years, the NYCWFF will bring big-name culinary talents like Bobby Flay and Rachael Ray, and a party atmosphere, to locations around the city. There’s no better way to taste all of the flavors that the Big Apple has to offer. Here are a few of the best events to check out during the four day festival.

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Image courtesy of spoilednyc.com

Spa Week
October 17th – October 23rd

No one really needs an excuse to go to the spa, but during Spa Week, the city’s premier spas will offer a range of treatments for as low as $50, so there’s no excuse not to. Treat yourself! Book your spa day here.

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Photo courtesy of New York Botanical Gardens

Scarecrow Nights at the New York Botanical Garden
Through October 30th

Artist Ray Villafane’s new outdoor installation at the New York Botanical Garden traces the history of the American scarecrow in a series of larger-than-life animatronic sculptures that are as terrifying as they are educational. Advance tickets are recommended.

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Cider Week NYC
October 21st- October 31st

What’s more autumnal than a fresh batch of apple cider? Cider Week NYC kicks off on October 21st, with over 50 participating bars, pubs, and wine sellers throughout the five boroughs hosting workshops, food pairings, and free tastings.

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Image courtesy of spoilednyc.com

The Village Halloween Parade
October 31st

The iconic Village Halloween Parade will once again make its macabre way through the heart of Greenwich Village beginning at 7pm on Halloween Night. It tends to get a bit crowded and rowdy so get there early, and get ready to witness a spectacle that is truly surreal and quintisentially New York. It’s one of those demented scenes that every Manhattanite should run into by mistake at least once (the New York City Marathon on November 6th  also comes to mind).

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City Circle Line, Bear Mountain / Onboard Oktoberfest
Saturdays and Sundays through November 6th

See resplendent Fall foliage like never before on this scenic day cruise through the Hudson River Valley. The ship will dock at Bear Mountain Park, where visitors can access a wealth of hiking trails and boating options, or just enjoy a picnic in the grass. Passengers will also be treated to an Onboard Oktoberfest celebration complete with a German band. Tickets are currently available.

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Spider-Man. Photo courtesy of mcall.com

Balloon InflationMacy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
November 23rd & November 24th

I know that the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is a pretty big deal and all, but if you want a little bit of that Thanksgiving Day Parade magic without having to brave the crowds, get out to the American Museum of Natural History the night before, and watch the Balloon Inflation instead. It’s a lot less claustrophobic, the whole family will love watching their favorite cartoon characters slowly plump up into existence, and you can check out the holiday window displays at Barneys and Saks 5th Ave on the way home.

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The red and white tents of the Union Square Holiday Market. Photo courtesy of cbslocal.com

Union Square Holiday Market
November 17- December 24th

The Union Square Holiday Market has certainly worked its way into our hearts over the years; and while it’s always a good idea to support small businesses, that’s perhaps never more true than during the holiday season. The market is very popular among tourists and city-dwellers alike, but it’s never so crowded that the experience isn’t pleasant (even when it’s freezing, somehow), and if you’re looking for that special gift, there’s an excellent chance you’ll find it here. Happy hunting!