There used to be a time when we could all get excited for the Barneys Warehouse Sale.
Sure, it wasn't for amateurs. It was in a grotty basement that required patience and skill to negotiate —and then there were the crowds and the lines, but it was worth it for the thrill of the scavenger hunt as well as the satisfaction achieved when finding a great price on something one could never afford at full price, or even on a regular markdown in a regular Barneys store. Maybe it was even something one had one's eye on all season that appeared as if summoned by magic.
Well those days are long gone, and we figured that once Barneys started a year round Warehouse Sale website offering its own merchandise from previous seasons as well as overstock from its regular vendors there would be no point in continuing the in-person event sale. Why would we need to go to the Warehouse Sale when the best stuff was being funneled to the website? It seemed like a more up to date way to clear old stock anyway, but the seasonal, then annual Warehouse Sale persisted as the merchandise became less and less appealing and the event drifted into irrelevancy. A couple of years ago, it appeared to be gone for good, but then, last week, it reappeared, this time in a raw retail space on Metropolitan Avenue in Williamsburg (pictured above). Could it be returning because the folks at Barneys have found a way to make it relevant again? Will it be cooler because its in Williamsburg? Is it worth revisiting?
The answer, sadly, is no on all counts.
The Shophound stopped by on the sale's first day, when it seems not fully set up, so we gave it the benefit of the doubt and checked back over the weekend to find that, yes, it had now been completely laid out and stocked, but still was a mess. In a space far too small for the amount of merchandise being offered, we found racks packed full of clothing crammed together to the point where it was nearly impossible to see what was being offered without tugging at garments and breaking hangers —if not damaging the clothes themselves. Barely categorized, there was little attempt to arrange things by size in the most rudimentary ways. In other areas, boxes were set out for shoppers to rummage through, many of which were filled with merchandise that may have been sold on the Warehouse Sale site, but probably never in an actual Barneys store. There was no attempt to separate designers, so the meant that a crazy Hood by Air showpiece was crammed on the rack by a Marc by Marc Jacobs bomber jacket from a past season and some of the Justin Bieber tour apparel that was touted as a prized exclusive in Chelsea only a few weeks ago. Clearly that was a merchandising mis-step.
Are there no gems to be found? Maybe there are some, but this Warehouse is more of a needle-in-a-haystack project than we have ever seen. And rather than imagining that one might find something good while rummaging around, one's mind quickly shifts to wondering if there is really anything we really need there, and then to questioning if it is really worth the time and trouble?
As far as we can tell, it is not.
Additional discounts have already started, but we will not be chronicling them as we once did. You have until the 14th to shop, but don't feel that you have missed anything if you don't bother. There are better opportunities to find better bargains these days. You don't have to subject yourself to this sloppy display to get them.
Barneys Warehouse Sale runs through September 14th at 280 Metropolitan Avenue between Driggs Avenue & Roebling Street, Williamsburg, Brooklyn.