Kelvin Goncalves, Retailer and Designer Behind Elkel


Kelvin Goncalves

Daniel Dorsa for The New York Times

Name Kelvin Goncalves

Age 25

Hometown Poços de Caldas, Brazil

Now Lives In a three-bedroom apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which he shares with a freelance designer and a yoga instructor.

Claim to Fame Kelvin Goncalves is a fashion retailer and designer behind Elkel, an upstart boutique that features up-and-coming designers with a distinctly queer sensibility. The cutting-edge items have gotten the attention of some celebrities, too, including Bjork and, who bought a high-concept shirt with detachable arms by the gender-blurring brand MLTV ($299).

Big Break An avid internet shopper, Mr. Goncalves would go online to buy avant-garde brands like Julian Zigerli from Zurich and Dusty from Finland, because he couldn’t find them for sale in New York. “I realized: ‘Oh. Here’s a business opportunity. There’s a niche there,’” Mr. Goncalves said. Inspired by his father who opened a bakery in Brazil, he started Elkel in 2015 as an online boutique devoted to new, gender-bending brands. To generate buzz, he opened a tiny pop-up on Stanton Street with a window display created by the transgender artist Bizzy Barefoot. “It can’t be just a store,” he said. “It needs to be an experience and needs to be visually interesting.”

Latest Project In April, Elkel opened a permanent storefront at 48 Hester Street, a minimalist white box to display a colorful mélange of innovative brands like Walter Van Beirendonck and Julian Zigerli. While the store carries mostly men’s wear, some items are decidedly unisex, like a sheer black-mesh basketball jersey by Krizia Robustella ($229).

Next Thing A designer himself, Mr. Goncalves is working on a T-shirt project with the artist Mars Hobrecker. Due in June for gay pride month, the shirt is made from a single panel of triangular fabric, and will…

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