... AT THE SCHLOCK JOINT After they saw a need to promote urban sophistication throughout all of New York and not just in trendy areas like Williamsburg and the Lower East Side, long time friends Iran Ortiz and Marlyn Jimenez founded The Schlock Joint. With this new concept the two amigas hope to help up-and-coming designers gain recognition through shop and drink parties like the one held on Sunday at Maná Lounge in Brooklyn.

And don't be fooled by the 'schlock' in Schlock Joint as it aims only towards sophistication. "Urban sophistication to us means someone from the city who has an open mind and isn't scared to try something new," says Dominican-born and Bronx-bred Ortiz. "In a perfect world everyone would be open-minded and willing to learn about different things. [The Schlock Joint] will give we talented designers the opportunity to showcase and sell their work in a boisterous ambiance."

At their first ever event, Ortiz and Jimenez hosted a five-hour holiday shopping party where seven local designers showcased their bags, accessories and clothing lines. Shoppers roamed the lounge zipping on two-for-one martini's while bopping their heads to the sounds of a nameless female disc jockey. Some of the items included jewelry by Cubannie Links whose pieces have been worn by singers Rihanna and Alicia Keys, Krayola Kicks who design custom made sneakers, Princess of the Possee who design distinct T-shirts for the ladies and more.

"We are targeting the person who is up on the underground fashion scene and wants to be able to shop for it all at one place," says Ortiz.

Visit their Web site to find out when The Schlock Joint will hold its next shop-and-drink party. *ms