Started in 2003 by brothers Daniel and Michael Casarella, Barking Irons is a clothing company headquartered in Manhattan’s Bowery neighborhood. The company draws from 19th century fashions, mythology, and otherwise bizarre Americana to form a distinctive style. Barking Irons bases each of their designs on uniquely American art forms, whether it be flags, newspapers, P.T. Barnum-esque sideshow posters, or old naval prints.
The Casarella brothers take great interest in the city’s history and have a passion for collecting antiques and relics for inspiration. Barking Irons aims to create clothing that’s historically authentic, but not costume. Each design is laidback and functional—graphic tees being their most popular item to date. These have been sported by the likes of actors Hugh Laurie, Adrian Grenier, and Bruce Willis just to name a few. Their prints have also appeared as band merchandise for Grammy Award winners the Kings of Leon and most recently for the Ghost of a Saber Toothed Tiger (the musical project of Sean Lennon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s son). Beyond their printed t-shirts, Barking Irons also crafts beautiful coats, knits, dress shirts, and silver jewelry which they call “shines”.
And just what does Barking Irons mean, anyway? The name, we’re told, is turn of the century slang for pistols. That kind of talk could be straight of Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”, but it certainly is fitting for the kind of work they do. You can find out more about the brand and their endeavors by checking out the company blog, The Mulberry Bend, which tracks the Casarella brothers’ train of thought as they look to NYC folklore to inspire their fashions.
It sure is daring to be an independent brand nowadays.