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Inside Wieden + Kennedy's Enormous West Soho Shopping Fest

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Wieden + Kennedy, the only ad agency ever to guest-star on an episode of Portlandia, is hosting a pop-up called SHOP on Varick Street through next Monday, June 20th. Actually, "pop-up" doesn't really do the event justice: Hip brands like Steven Alan and Saturdays Surf have taken over the entire sixth floor of 150 Varick Street, decorating their own booths and bringing with them limited-edition items and SHOP-only deals.

When we stopped by last night, Andrew Goetz of Malin & Goetz was standing on a ladder hanging a sign. Kerin Rose, who designs over-the-top sunglasses for Lady Gaga and Rihanna, was putting the finishing touches on her glitter lipstick. And at the Rochambeau booth, a group was admiring the psychedelic wall art, which took a muralist five days to complete.

SHOP isn't exactly a sale, so pricing varies widely between booths. Steven Alan is offering 20% off current-season merchandise, Bing Bang had earrings for under $30, and Samantha Pleet was selling some, but not all, of her summer gear for a deal (a bustier was $75, down from $120.) Saturdays Surf took some major markdowns, and Wieden employee Dona Monroe (you've seen her stuff at Steven Alan) was slashing prices, with spring 2011 over 50% off and fall 2011 on presale. We were charmed by the booth from Williamsburg shop Made, where huge clompy platforms went for $65 and everything else was under $150. And Sena had some smoking hot cutout dresses for 125 to $175, down from $385.

As for non-deals that were worth seeing nonetheless: Kerin Rose's handmade, Swarovski-festooned A'Morir glasses go up to $800 and involve materials like feathers and skulls carved from bone. If you're looking for slightly more conservative eyewear, check Illesteva or Warby Parker, both reasonably priced and representing. C'H'C'M designed custom button-downs for the event, including a one-of-one in lightweight corduroy that SHOP staff were calling "the Cinderella shirt" because it was clearly fated to go home with the one customer who fit into it perfectly. Artemare had beach equipment including gorgeous towels with zip pockets ($89 for one-sided, $125 for double-sided). And the ever-conceptual Slow and Steady Wins the Race had set up a game of three-card Monte: Pay $10, $100, or $1000 to participate, pick from the corresponding set of three oyster shells, and see what you win.

So is this an event for hipsters? Well, duh—but only in the sense that young creative types tend to fall into that category by default. Here's how PSFK described the scene: "In place of the usual uncomfortable-looking DJs spinning records for an awkward crowd of PR reps and curious bloggers, there was a genuine mix of friends, business partners, and general ease—separating SHOP from the pack of other well intentioned and like-minded fetes." That collegial feeling made SHOP one of the best pop-ups we've been to all year. In a world of H&Ms, it's always a welcome change to wander around a room full of people standing proudly next to the stuff they've made.
· Wieden + Kennedy's Goofy 'Portlandia' Cameo [AdWeek]
· Wieden + Kennedy Are Launching a Pop-Up Shop [Racked NY]
· Wieden + Kennedy, SHOP, And The Rise Of The Agency/Retail Hybrid? [PSFK]


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