Op-Ed: How Barneys Lost Its Cool

Back in 2014, in an Op-Ed for the Business of Fashion, I rang the alarm about fashion stores losing their edge as tastemakers. I was mainly looking at Barneys, the iconic New York department store, as one that was losing its cache with the fashion-forward customer by becoming too commoditized. Fast-forward to 2019 and Barneys is now exploring bankruptcy. Theories abound as to what went wrong with the store, and there is not one single reason for Barneys possible demise – there is the crazy rent hike on its flagship, increased competition online, changing consumer tastes. But out of all commentators Lauren Sherman, of BoF nailed a big one, “Instead of owning cool, Barneys began chasing it.”

TakahiroMiyashitaTheSoloist Opens a Pop-Up Store in New York

Takahiro Miyashita of the Japanese menswear brand TheSoloist has always had affinity for New York. The only outpost for his first label, Number (N)ine, outside of Japan was here in TriBeCa. Much of it has to do with Al Albayan, who has been Miyashita’s right hand since the early N(N) days. Together, they have cooked up something for New York once again. RE:AL is TheSoloist is a pop-up shop, again in TriBeCa that opened last weekend and will run through July. The idea was to open a version of an airport gift shop. Miyashita is fond of traveling and not fond of diffusion lines, so doing something quite different but still familiar seemed like a fitting idea.

AESOP x RIMOWA Travel Kit

New York, USA – We usually don’t write about collaborations. We find many of them tacky exercises in marketing, their major point of keeping the PR/media machine rolling and certain brands at the forefront of consumer consciousness. Needless to say, it’s not something we support here at StyleZeitgeist. But once in a blue moon something interesting happens, or at least unexpected, when two brands we respect come together and make something. Why not?

The new Aesop x Rimowa collaboration is one of these rare things. Knowing the uncompromising nature of Aesop, we pay attention to what they do, and Rimowa, well is Rimowa, the “whatever car manufacturer you think is most prestigious” of luggage. The two came together to make a travel kit. The Köln kit is obviously made from that deliciously recognizable Rimowa aluminum, with a custom-made wooden inlay, and is stuffed with Aesop goodies – shampoo, conditioner, body cleanser and body balm, its Parsley seed cleansers, lip cream, toothpaste, and mouthwash. All this goodness will set you back a hefty $500, but maybe it’s time to add something to your life besides an eighth leather jacket?