JON CARAMANICA GOES SHOPPING:
Knowing S#!? From Shinola Edition
August 22, 2013
Well, we couldn't resist the headline. In fairness, it is fitting, because in analyzing the unlikely reinvention of shoe-polish brand Shinola in today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica finds surprising parallels with the company's Detroit-centric focus and the kind of global "Fair Trade" businesses that have emerged over the past decade or so supporting developing countries.
Buying something made in Detroit, in this calculus, is not much different than buying a fair trade Andean sweater. You’re buying a small piece of the revival of a great American manufacturing city gone to seed. Or at least, you’re buying into the liberal idea of what supporting a distressed economy means.
In a particularly merciless mood this week, Caramanica pulls no punches in evaluating the goods available. The bicycles are handsome but stunningly expensive. The watches are attractive, but reminiscent of styles from Fossil, a brand not coincidentally owned by the same man behind Shinola's revival. There is also little charity for him as Caramanica calls him "a midprice watch mogul looking to go luxury under the cover of charitable business practices." Well, I suppose one could be called worse.
Critical Shopper: The Next Branding of Detroit By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Shinola 177 Franklin Street between Hudson & Greenwich Streets, TriBeCa
Brand New Vintage: On The New Shinola Store And The Allure Of Faux Nostalgia