In the wake of racial profiling allegations and a Change.org petition, Jay Z‘s holiday collection for Barneys debuted today with little fanfare. The luxury department store even cancelled the launch party for the line, perhaps to avoid giving detractors a set time and location to hold a protest.
Behind-the-scenes, Barneys is doing major damage control, announcing an initiative, “Shop For a Cause,” where 10% of all today’s sales from the flagship stores and Barneys.com are donated toward Jay Z’s organization, The Shawn Carter Foundation. To wit, the foundation, which “awards post-secondary scholarships to students facing socio-economic hardships,” will receive 100% of all the proceeds from the collection. The hefty donation looks good on the surface but we can’t shake the thought that the same students facing “socio-economic hardships,” would be treated like criminals if they actually set foot in the store.
Barneys last-ditch efforts simply aren’t enough to make us want to support a retailer accused of racial profiling, let alone drop $88,000 on a watch or $700 on a ski mask. From the high price point to the racial profiling controversy, we doubt people will come out in droves to support this disappointing collection. It’s the holiday season: there are 99 places to shop and for many, Barneys won’t be one.
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