The Chronicle

Q & A: Kai Avent-deLeon of Sincerely, Tommy


Kai Avent-deLeon has singlehandedly put Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn on the fashion map with her year-old boutique, Sincerely, Tommy. We at Tetra are continually inspired by her well-curated mix of emerging designers and sculptural objects, not to mention the inimitable personal style of Kai herself. So much so, in fact, that we asked her to host one of our private launch events this fall. 

We caught up with the trailblazing retailer in between New York Fashion Week shows to ask about a few of her favorite things.

What are you listening to lately?
I am listening to a lot of Azymuth, Amy Winehouse, Tame Impala, and Soulection mixes. I love old soulful house, disco, and jazz. I listen to jazz 80% of the time while I am working.
What are you reading?
Currently I'm reading Courage by Osho. My boyfriend just bought me Black Like Me, so that's next on my list.

What will your look be this fall?
I am always looking to be as comfortable as possible. I am going to be doing a lot of flared sleeves and high-waisted pants, though. I am obsessed with the mod look coming back.
Where do you find your inspiration lately?  
I get most of my inspiration from travel. I recently visited one of the Luis Barragán homes in Mexico City and I was awestruck. His use of color and natural materials is phenomenal. I am obssessed with the furniture he designed, too.
What's your smoking ritual?
I am a lightweight smoker so I usually use a one-hitter — something one of my closest friends introduced me to. I either watch bad movies or put on some Fleetwood Mac.

Photo courtesy Backyard Bill

Spotlight: Andrew O. Hughes's Polytope Ashtray

What is a polytope? As glass designer Andrew O. Hughes puts it, it's "a geometric term that begins with the extension by analogy into four or more dimensions, of the idea of a polygon and polyhedron respectively in two and three dimensions. 

The concept inspired the Polytope Ashtray he created exclusively for Tetra: a three-dimensional form made of bollicine glass. As the below video shows, its color changes as you view it from different angles or in different types of light (natural versus LED versus fluorescent), while its elegant shape has a sculptural heft. An instant conversation piece for the coffee table. 

Hughes also counts the California Light and Space sculptor DeWain Valentine among his major influences, and in the Polytope Ashtray, it shows — click here to see exactly what we mean.