chris and reed

February 2024

Blog Home Off The Beaten TrackOTBT: Chris and Reed

Interview | Feb 2024

For this Off the Beaten Track, we caught up with our friends Reed & Chris who share some of their secret spots in and around where they work and live in New York.

Follow their instagrams @chrisjohnmillington & @reedgibson

Your life in a nutshell?

Chris: I’m just an Ayrshire lad doing his best across the pond! In work, I’d call myself a multi-disciplinary creative. I spend most of my time on long walks around the city, taking photographs, making clothes, painting or building my vintage menswear archive. I’m somehow always finding new ways to keep myself occupied. I came here to pursue fashion photography and eventually moved into screenwriting but it’s safe to say that I got a little carried away with a few hobbies…


Reed: I moved to New York 5 years ago from Richmond, Virginia to pursue a career in Art and Design. I work as a freelance art director/designer and in my own time, I dabble in painting. I spend most of my days hanging in Brooklyn hopping from coffee shop to coffee shop, or you’ll find me trucking it on foot with Chris all over the city.

Where do you live and what do you love about the area?

Chris: I live on a really interesting border that separates a few neighborhoods. East Williamsburg, Bushwick and Ridgewood are all a few minutes away from my front door. It’s a popular and rapidly changing area in Brooklyn. The block that I live on is filled with young families from Honduras, the Dominican Republic and Mexico, I really love the community on this street. We all look out for each other, I love that.


Reed: Greenpoint. It’s an old Polish community at the northern tip of Brooklyn. I love it, it feels a little more quiet than most of the surrounding neighborhoods and it sits right on the East River. I’ve always enjoyed being around water, so it’s nice to be able to walk to the park and watch the little waves. Since I moved here two years ago, the neighborhood has changed rapidly. Now, there are a lot more modern restaurants and bars. I’ve been enjoying all of the new additions. The neighborhood has somehow still retained its local community and feel.

Off The Beaten Track is all about getting our friends to tell us about lesser known places in and around where they live or work, can you share any secret spots you love? Stores, restaurants, parks, bars?

Chris: My two favourite spots around here are a small laundromat in Ridgewood and a 50 year old diner on Flushing Avenue in Bushwick. Doing your laundry is a whole ordeal in NYC so when you find your spot, they become a key part of your life. The family that run Cypress Laundromat are the best, I walk almost a mile to do my laundry, despite the fact that there’s another laundromat on my block and about 10 more within a 5 minute radius.


Growing up, I would have daydreams about sitting down at a classic American diner with nothing but a black coffee. Just a couple of minutes away, I’ve got Tina’s. I still love the ritual of going there and finding a spot at the counter. Black coffee & some potatoes, I’m set.


Reed: I should probably be paying rent to Rhythm Zero, a local coffee shop; I spend so much time there. It's my go-to spot for getting work done & it’s the only place where I can truly focus. It’s owned by an awesome couple that have transformed the small space into an artistic haven, decked out with beautiful art and vintage furniture – it’s an absolute dream.


Since Greenpoint is a predominantly-Polish neighborhood, there’s a lot of great options on that front. My personal favorite is Pierozek, their blood sausage “Kaszanka” pierogis are incredible. I could go on and on but some of my favorite recent additions are: San Antonio’s Wood Fired Pizza, Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., Esme, Di-An-Di, Wen Wen, Big Night & Taqueria Ramirez.


You’ve been living in Brooklyn now for a while, why did you move there in the first place and what made you stay?

Chris: The energy and grit of New York always appealed to me, I rarely got to visit Glasgow or Edinburgh when I was growing up, so the mystery of life in cities always fascinated me. For whatever reason, I was always drawn to New York, it still feels surreal that I’ve managed to get over here. When I rented my first flat (in Kilmarnock) as a teenager, I had a print of the Manhattan skyline on my wall. When I started working in fashion,
I always got so many opportunities to work on things in America but living across the pond made it so much harder. I felt like I had to find a way make the move! I’ve been here since 2018 and I’m still as enthusiastic about NYC as I was when I arrived. My first apartment here had the same view of Manhattan that my old poster did, I like to remind myself of that from time to time.


Reed: I think that I need things to do. I have a hard time entertaining myself at home and Brooklyn (New York in general) offers that hectic energy I’ve always craved. When I was a kid, my family used to take trips into the city and it left a mark on me. After college when I found myself on my own, I craved that energy and buzz. The ability to stroll in any direction and stumble upon something exciting and new really satisfies my need for adventure.

Obviously you grew up in Scotland. Can you give us anywhere around there?

Chris: I lived in Glasgow for 5 years, it has developed a phenomenal modern food and drink scene over the last decade. Every time I go back I’m absolutely amazed. I have to recommend 1841 Coffee in the West End, their owner Grant Dick pulls the best shot of espresso I’ve ever had. Nobody comes close. If you’re looking for something for dinner, Ox & Finch in Finnieston serve some of Scotland’s greatest culinary offerings and the pricing is superb for the level of quality. I’m always blown away by their kitchen.

Where’s top on your list to travel to at the moment and why?

Chris: I’d really like to go back to Alaska this year. I’ve been building a collection of original and reimagined garments that I have been calling “ALASKA” since 2014. The plaid jacket with the tassels that I’m wearing in the photographs is an Alaska piece that I made last year. I’m really proud of how it’s all coming together. I’ve been dreaming of making these pieces for 10 years and I’m finally getting around to really doing it. Going back there would be a nice way to finish the project.


Reed: I've been tossing this question around for a while but right now, Japan takes the top spot for me. I've been lucky to explore outside the U.S. and dive into different cultures but Japan feels like such a departure from what I’m used to. I'm craving that total immersion in something unfamiliar. Plus, the food and vintage scenes there are a major bonus..

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?

Chris: Florence! I’ve always loved Florence and I’ve been fortunate to run into you guys a few times there during Pitti Uomo. Every time I arrive in the city I feel a genuine sense of joy, I can’t quite understand why but on my second visit to the city, I decided that I’d like to retire there. I’d adore that. I love that place.


Reed: Paris! I love the architecture, the language, the food… I think I still dream about being some cool, hip French girl when I grow up. There’s something very romantic to me about the idea of having a little flat in Le Marais.

What are your Top 3 films?

Chris: There Will Be Blood, No Country For Old Men & The Running Man! A trio of rugged American classics that speak to the magic and madness of this place.


Reed: O Brother, Where Art Thou? / Se7en / Frances Ha

We have an OTBT playlist that’s made up of all the song recommendations we’ve had from each interview. Can you give us 3 more to add?

Chris: Song For Bob - Nick Cave & Warren Ellis / Blue Tulip - Okkervil River / World Stops Turning – Alexisonfire


Reed: Before You Gotta Go - Courtney Barnett / Nuevo Mundo - Hermanos Gutierrez / Hertz - Amyl and The Sniffers



Are you a podcast lover? If so, what are your top 3 podcasts you can share?

Chris: I’m obsessed with American political history, so my podcast habits are almost entirely focused on that. My favorite series is Blowback by Brendan James and Noah Kulwin, along with The Inebriated Past series by Matt Christman. Their ability to accurately summarize and critique such chaotic events is incredible. My last and totally different recommendation has to be James Richardson’s Totally Football Show. I love keeping up with all the European football storylines through the season and the reporting from The Athletic is the gold standard.

Ever since the pandemic, there’s been a wave of new brands,
are there any you think should be on our radar?

Chris: BRUT in Paris have transitioned from being a vintage seller into a design house in their own right. Their re-imaginations of vintage materials and shapes is superb. Wythe in New York have emerged as a bit of a powerhouse in American menswear with their take on the Old West. I really love what they’re doing. Back home, Kestin Hare has been building something really brilliant out of Edinburgh with his brand KESTIN. He’s been in the game for a long time and while his brand isn’t new, he nailed his creative colours to the mast from the beginning and he’s reached a really great place in terms of design, texture and functionality. I’d also like to offer a little mention to all the brands we lost through those difficult months and years of the pandemic. Some of the businesses we lost were superb and it felt really cruel. So many were brilliant, small studios that fell casualty to the times we were in. I hope all of those designers, makers and builders have the energy and means to get back in the game someday if they haven’t already.


Reed: When I think about the pandemic and the things that emerged from it, I immediately think of all of my friends that thrived through it all. Some of the biggest success stories in recent years from New York have been bakeries like L’Appartement 4F, From Lucie and Sixteen Mill. They took a bad situation and made something great through it all, I love that.

What does the future hold?

Chris: I’ll be shooting a lot this year, behind and in front of the camera. I’ve got a lot of unfinished checkerboard paintings that I need to tackle and I’ll be making a few more jackets before the summer for my Alaska collection. I’ve got quite a lot that I’d like to do but I like it that way. I suppose
I should also finish that cabin-fever-induced screenplay I conjured up during the early days of lockdown as well…


Reed: A lot of my work has moved online and in doing so I feel a little disconnected from the physical practices that got me into art in the first place. I’d like to finish some more tangible projects this year — I have a painting collection that I want to finish and show. I’ve also been working on making some handbags, so I’m hoping that I’ll make a few big moves on that front too. Otherwise, more coffee & more long walks through this crazy city!

Explore Chris and Reed’s favourite places between their homes in Brooklyn.


Find out more about Chris:

Find out more about Reed:

All photos were taken by Chris and Reed themselves


To read all of our Off the Beaten Track interviews, click the link below:


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