The mayor had arrived, but the ceremonial ribbon whose cutting would mark the opening of Neville Wisdom’s new Westville business, Neville Wisdom LLC, (NW), had not yet been made.
Wisdom rolled out a wide bolt of teal-colored fabric onto the massive, new work table he had been wanting for 20 years.
“The table is one of the most exciting and best things here,” he said.
Picking up a pair of fabric shears, he began cutting while Bushra Mahdi, a company seamstress and dressmaker, fashioned a bow for the ribbon with a magician’s deftness.
The new fashion apparel shop, which brings a SoHo vibe to 903 Whalley Avenue, is largely in keeping with Westville’s collection of boutiques and specialty shops. Its manufacturing component, however, sets it apart from other Westville businesses.
New state-of-the art digital “Automatrix” and “Optitex” 3d virtual prototyping technologies will assist in the manufacturing process, minimizing productions costs while allowing for more flexibility and quicker turn-around time. Wisdom said he has been watching the shift to computer-aided production in the fashion industry for over a decade and took classes at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) to help make the transition. Wisdom said the shop will employ a minimum of three mostly full-time dressmakers.
It is the second time around for Wisdom, known to many for his Orange Street studio and showroom and Ninth Square fashion extravaganzas: He owned a Westville shop at 922 Whalley Avenue for four years before moving downtown. Expanding operations to Westville came as a surprise; Wisdom had already signed a lease elsewhere, but problems associated with the third floor space necessitated a change in direction. The Westville location had the advantage of a showroom, allowing for direct sales to the public. He credits fate with guiding him to the new space, about which he is “super-excited.”
So is Lyn Sabatasso, owner of nearby Odeon Boutique. She said she was thrilled to have Wisdom back in Westville: “He’s my buddy. We bounce things off of one another. We don’t compete — we complement one another.”
Also add to that list Lyric Hall’s John Cavaliere, who gave Wisdom a wonderful, towering Antique Rococo revival pier mirror for the showroom interior (pictured above).
Mayor Harp gave a thorough perusal of the fashion offerings on hand. She said she was delighted to see Wisdom expand to Westville:
“Given the recent loss of Delaney’s Restaurant, it is a bright sign of renewal to have Neville Wisdom enliven us with his personal design, but also his manufacturing.”