What Barney’s and Abercrombie and Fitch have in common

What really drew me into Low Pay, High Profile by Andrew Ross was the idea that Barney’s had to use their workers as models in their “Seven on seventeenth” show. Barney’s was financially in a bad situation therefore they needed a way to bring people’s attention to the store in hopes that sales would go up and they would also have the communities support. Stores sometimes do crazy things to get peoples attention and one that has a similar concept to Barney’s is Abercrombie and Fitch.
The other day, my teacher was talking about how annoying it was the other day because she was walking by Abercrombie and Fitch and there was a line around the block and she wondered, “Why are these people waiting in line to shop at Abercrombie and Fitch?” I also thought the same thing when she was telling us the story because the store is declining as a business, and their clothing aesthetic is out of style because it is the same thing from the store every season. Their oversized logos, typical polo, denim, and khaki style has gotten old for most people, so why the long line? Male models wearing barely any clothing. Abercrombie was using their workers, just like Barney’s, to model for them and letting the public take pictures and meet them. This gives the consumer the feeling of being a part of the brand because their are getting to met someone who models for them. The men were toned and had their shirts off and the women, and gay men were ecstatic to be in line to get a picture. Abercrombie was selling more sex and Barney’s was selling more to the idea that Barney’s specializes in men’s wear.
The concept that Barney’s and Abercrombie and Fitch have is smart in order to get consumers into a store. If the clothes are not selling then i guess the best thing to do is have your workers put on a show! Men and women were afterwards walking out with big bags of clothing which reveals that Abercrombie and Fitch are still around because of the sexual style of the campaigning. Barney’s workers were united with Barney’s and willing to do anything to keep the company afloat and they did just that. Ross points out that “. . .it is the workers who truly represent the company: “We are Barney’s! We are Barney’s!” ” which shows the amazing support a company can have from it’s workers. Would you support the company you worked for if they were having financial problems? Do you think it is right for a company to use their workers for campaign reasons?





The response to Warhol economy the creative a aspects of art fashion and music in new york city it talks about how geography play a major role in the economy, and the clubs, and galleries and music play a major role in the creative economy of NYC and how it works how some people thinks it all fun and cool but really it is a business. Artists and designer and entertainers all work in a related field where there creativity depends on each other.  Journalist, press, and reporters, critics, and experts make it all happen. The social life and people you meet out of luck makes it all happen in the urban economy. It talk about how Basquiat used to do graffiti on subways and how he ran into another popular pop artist at the time which was Andy Warhol who helped him get exposure and connections with galleries and his career took off because the social elites valued what they seen his works some of his paintings were so expensive like $20,000 for a picture. These painting of unique graffiti and French African style become a commodity apart of an urban economy because of the value it was given. This example shows how the city works and how art drive the city. I think about entertainers and fashion designers and how people are driven to buy a particular fashion because a music entertainer like Beyoncé wore it. This is a flash back of how fashion started in Bryant Park and now it so big it requires big open venues for music and advertisement art and models and celebrities and over a thousand guests, film producers, buyers and the public press and so on to make their fashion show. And the first thing they use to make the show seem interesting to the consumers or press is the poplar celebrities seating on the front row at the fashion shows to give value to the fashion they are trying to market and sale.  review this idea by looking at the relation with high end designers and celebrities like Thierry Mugler and Lady Gaga. It’s all-apart of a creative economy. I think about art and fashion I review Donna Karen’s recent fashion show, which is influence by and Haitian artist Philippe Dodard. Donna Karen has been in relation and communication with Haiti in her visits and connection with Haitian artist and even WY clef Jean a Haitian – American music icon. This shows how fashion is marketed on fresh ideas and taste. It is design and art and music and all of that that gives culture to both masses and niche markets. This creativity would not exist with the social world.


What is Ideal Protest

Low Pay, High Profle by Andrew Ross is about how Barneys wokers successfully leaded the labor movement with alternative perspective by bringing the local subculture such as gay culture.

It also offered me a knowledge of background about how Barneys could succeed as a big department store from the largest men’s clothing store but which was not really luxurious.

The union knew how to get public attention. They opened the show at the workplace and let the models expose the insignia of UNITE. So they reflected their demands through the show and let the public know their concern.
To advertise their labor protest, they also used the gay culture which is still one of strong subculture in NYC. I believe this historical background became the good basis for building the strong relationship between Fahsion Industry, gay culture and NewYork city.(From this year, same-sex marriage became legal in New York)

This kind of creative and smart way of labor protest reminds me of many protests on 42nd street, which is noisy and even brings antipathy. When I was in High school, there was a big strike by MTA labor union. It is called 2005 New York City transit strike in Wikipedia. So all students and workers who didn’t have car had to take a cab to go to their work and school.(or they had to ask for a ride) If it was L.A, it wouldn’t be a big problem. However commuting in New York city is totally based on taking public transportation. So I still clearly remember how really UNCOMFORTABLE it was. They used the tool that they have so well! so all NYC resident could feel how huge their absence is. Their strike was not just a labor protest. It became big social issue and brought so much antipathy from the public.

I know labor protesting mostly comes because they have been unfairly treated by the vicious enterprises for long time and threatened their right to live. But the successful example by Barney’s labor union protest in 1930s, still makes me think about what form of protest would be ideal for everyone.

NYC for the Aughties

I recently read an article by Noreen Malone in New York Magazine entitled “The Kids Are Sort of Alright” in which the writer delved into what it means to be a part of the aughties generation (Generations X and Y). This definition described a group of freshly-out-of-college-or-current-college kids who are confused and still attempting to define who they are creatively . They are practically voiceless and living in the shadow of their Baby Boomer parents, who created this world of art and protest, a world where one rebelled through creative means because they absolutely had to. The Baby Boomers told their kids they could grow up to be whatever they wanted and follow their dreams, something that isn’t flying now that the kids have grown up and entered an America in a recession. This reflection of myself and my fellow X-ies came to mind as I was reading Elizabeth Currid’s piece describing The NYC art scene in The Warhol Economy. Currid is attempting to paint a picture of NYC’s Cultural Economy, which opposes material economics in that it thriveswhen there is little economic prosperity.

As a current student at The New School, I couldn’t help but read Currid’s reports on NYC’s history and feel even more, well, scared, especially after reading Noreen Malone’s piece. Of course NYC is still the best place (in my opinion) for artists of any sort, but now, it’s just harder to make art for the sake of art, fashion included. Artists can barely live because tehy learn a craft that only makes bank if they’re in the limelight. Malone conjured a portrait of artists in my generation that are experiencing the aftermath of Currid’s retellings. It is still true that cultural capital for artists sometimes comes in the form of going out to parties and meeting the right people, but it’s not the same as Warhol’s time. Manhattan is barely even a borough for artists anymore, now it’s Brooklyn and, dare I say it, where I grew up, Queens, which is all well and good, but it shows that times have changed.

So the solution, Currid suggests, is public policy and tax incentives. Yes! Agreed! Back upstate in Buffalo, where my family lives, is a huge apartment complex full of large, modern apartments with all the latest fixings. It is called Artspace. Basically, it’s low-rent apartments for working artists, complete with in-house gallery space, gyms and laundry. Every apartment was designed with ample amounts of sunlight for visual artists who paint or illustrate and enough sound-blocked walls for musicians. I have friends whose families live there, and it’s an amazing space for creative people. Artwork lines the walls of ever floor with every corner and elevator housing some sort of installation piece. Now, I’m wondering if this sort of idea would fly or die in NYC considering the IMMENSE real estate prices and limited space in conjunction with thousands upon thousands of artists. Would the art world be effected positively by artists who are able to pay rent when Currid shows us that NYC art needs economic downturn? What do you guys think?

Artspace: http://www.artspace.org/properties/buffalo/

Malone: http://nymag.com/news/features/my-generation-2011-10/

The Barneys Empire

The article by Andrew Ross “Low Pay, High Profile” brought up some very interesting things about Barneys that I was unaware of. I found it fascinating how the company is so reliant on gay culture. I think that Ross is biased and creates a stereotype about the company that some may be offended by. But I do believe that Ross just wants what is best for the workers despite their sexual orientation. As stated in the article, “service emplyees who were identifiably gay were not just a businees asset, they would become an economic necessity.” I did also find it interesting how the employees of Barneys stuck together. Their union seems solid and actually unified. For example the wearing of red at work was significant and would only be successful if a number of employees participated. The union seems to be very organized and focused and even a little out there. They are successful in that they are extreme, in order to get the attention from management they needed to be “outrageous.” I think that these workers took an alternative approach to a protest. Having a fashion show seemed fitting for this company. Their creative tactics were more successful than the company itself. It is too bad the workers didn’t directly benefit from their picketing but it is a lesson to all to stick up for themselves. Maybe the picketers on Wall Street can learn a thing of two from the UNITE.

Kerry Manning

The Bag Man

This article entitled “The Bag Man” by Larissa MacFarquhar was really an intense look into the pirating of luxury goods. All of this information was just being confirmed with my observations of everyday life, but I also learned alot as well through reading it. I think one of the most beautiful parts in the article is when she compares it to dealing drugs, its safer, and your partner doesn’t kill you if you want to sell fake watches.

This whole article being relatable to me as I now live in Chinatown but have grown up in New York, I have seen first hand the evolution of the pirating and fake luxury good world as I have been around it and am certainly around it everyday now. How the people selling have changed their ways of handling the goods either on the street or elsewhere. What is the most fascinating encounter now is that these chinese people speak every single language and now have laminated pieces of paper with what seems to be an inventory. They then call on their cellphones or walkie talkies and a van comes by in 5 minutes and drops off a bag that the consumer wants to buy. Everything is completely mobile now, whereas it used to be that they took you into the back rooms and you would buy there but there have been many raids and newsteams doing undercover for this to be done still.

The luxury good market is one that is driven by craftsmanship, and the desire to attain to something, as humans we will always have that characteristic, so the luxury market will not disappear especially since the new millennium when the importance has been placed on the individual more than the communal, and with purchasing status or luxury or eliteness you can achieve that especially through luxury goods.


I chose to do my shopping study at Bebe, due to many reasons. This store to me is fascinating in it’s whole marketing and to the people they cater to. I walk in and immediately am astounded by the lights in the store, it is very lit up and everything seems very shiny, including the sales people. The girls are nice, they all look like bebe customers, and they all look at me smile and say hi how are you, to which i just respond with a smile and keep looking at things. I start noticing that everything in the store is very much skimpy or made for “going out”, either to dinner or to a club. This is definitely not a store for basics, but it might be basics to some people. The other fascinating view I noticed is their advertisements, the girls in the ad’s are thin and tall and white, and somewhat look chic, sometimes you wouldn’t even think it was Bebe, but then the women buying these clothes in the store are the complete opposite of the girls in the ad’s. This makes me think what are the opposites trying to buy, the unknown? The unknown in this case is SEX, and sex sells, and everyone wants to feel sexy, and I guess If I was a girl wearing really high heels and a short mini-dress would make me feel sexy as well, which is all of what Bebe sells and promotes, sex and feeling sexy.


Image- Sephora

I chose to visit was Sephora in Union Square.  As I walked in I was greeted by a friendly sales girl and the overwhelming fragrance of beauty products and perfumes. The layout allows customers to explore the variety of products that are displayed around the store. Each counter is divided by the brand of the product.The simple black and white decor immediately draws to attention the wide selection of colorful products. The enthusiastic and friendly sales associates and eager shoppers brings back a strange sense of familiarity. As I looked around I found many of the customers trying on makeup and either looking into the mirror or asking one of the sales associates or their friends how they look.The first word that popped into my mind was image because each of these women were looking for a way to transform themselves. Sephora allows its customers to do so simply because they have dozens of products, a makeover counter and staff that is familiar with beauty and skincare turning it into a successful space of consumption.


Adishree Singh

Bag Man, Bag Man, The Bag Man


Larissa MacFarquhar presented an interesting inside look on the life of counterfeiting in her short story “Bag Man”.  One particular phrase caught my eye that was said towards the beginning of the story and again as part of the conclusion. “Counterfeiting,” the lawyer Harley Lewin likes to say, “is more profitable than narcotics, and your partners don’t kill you”. This statement is true in reality. People who counterfeit depending on how high or low they are in the chain of men make a decent amount to a loaded amount of money. Also unlike narcotics, which could land you in jail for a long stay or life, counterfeiting has a much shorter sentence. Which got me thinking about the other reasons of why people turn to counterfeiting instead of other illegal actions. It could be something that part of “family business” that leaves one to take charge of or leave it behind. It could be something one simply got wrapped into from making a wrong purchase. It’s very possible that most people with exceptions of course have had some type of interaction with the counterfeiting world. Whether that be a purchase from canal street that one knew could be a fake but decided to get it anyway or maybe being on the opposite end and receiving that purchase as a gift but never knowing it was a fake.

Some people do get dragged into that world innocently and others not so much. To some knowing the risk and labor that others are put out to make those products real does not affect them. They simply want the exchange in the end. For most companies that are being counterfeited their business is greatly affected. Sure the huge companies that have load of money will make it by just fine but what about the ones that are not so huge? Some of those companies can be put out of business for situations such as these. It’s an interesting topic to really know where the clothes, our bags, our products that are so personal to us come from

Space of Consumption, Starbucks

As I walk into this place where people are talking, interacting, enjoy, reading, drinking, and eating it could be mistaken for a restaurant or office space.  However, as wait in line to order my coffee, Starbucks has created this environment that allows its consumers to feel relaxed and open.  A man to my left is working on a presentation, a couple to my right are talking about the book their are reading, and at the long table in front of me a group of people are typing furiously on their computers.  It is a tame space and everything from the coffee to the tables fit into the industrial look of Union Square.  Therefore, Starbucks has created this ecosystem of chill.