When Pharrell and NIGO met in Japan, their creative worlds collided into what would become an amalgamation of American and Asian cultural influences realized through style, attitude, and an overall lifestyle.
In 2005, Pharrell and NIGO celebrated the first year anniversary of BBC ICECREAM with an unveiling of our first ever flagship store in Hong Kong. In 2007, we opened up our first U.S. flagship store in NYC —456 West Broadway. We’ve called SoHo home since—the same neighborhood where one of the most culturally rich enclaves exists, Chinatown. And in 2016, we moved to 7 Mercer St., just a few steps from Canal Street, where some of the most popular Asian businesses keep Manhattan's economy bustling.
Since 2020, businesses in our neighboring Chinatown were devastated with the hardships of the pandemic, but more than just financially, they were increasingly targeted with violent attacks and extreme biased loss of business. Hundreds of businesses permanently closed down, but some resilient remained. These businesses, while some are small, have carried generations of families from immigration to first-time college attendees and business owners. Chinatown's community is its own ecosystem that continues to serve incredibly important socio economic functions; as a gateway and home, as a guardian of art, history and culture, and as a refuge from discrimination.
It's the reasons mentioned that Welcome to Chinatown was formed in 2020. As a non-profit organization, WTC's initiatives are to highlight and promote Asian businesses in NYC's Chinatown. Their digital directory not only lists businesses, from tailors to bakeries and fish markets, but also highlights owners and the stories behind their journeys.
Today, we're proud to announce our partnership with Welcome to Chinatown for a special weekend of discovery that invites fans to support small Asian businesses in Chinatown, NYC.
We worked with WTC to curate a special directory of small Asian businesses in Chinatown for New Yorkers to visit and support, and tapped Slim Cinema to highlight a number of the respective owners. Fans are encouraged to purchase items from the ten listed businesses for a chance to receive a commemorative t-shirt with designs by Asian graphic illustrator, David Park. The t-shirt will be available as a giveaway at the BBC ICECREAM NYC Flagship from September 18th-19th, only to those who participate in the BBC x WTC Discover Chinatown Scavenger Hunt.