The new Barney’s CO-OP outpost in Brooklyn feels like a men’s-only shop at first glance.  All three of it’s massive windows feature racks of well edited, hip brands from Shipley & Halmos to Rag & Bone & Alexander Wang.  Placing menswear front and center is now an expected strategy for building a smart retail environment.  It’s the opposite of nature; women will hunt for clothes, while men casually forage.

The design of the store is clean & minimal, allowing the clothing to shine.  “Back to the Start” by Lily Allen played from speakers on the ceiling, exposed lighting reflected off the floor painted a high gloss gray acrylic. There is no stroller friendly ramp, underestimating Brooklyn’s well deserved label as “The Baby Borough.”

The big question will be how men react to the higher prices and thinner silhouettes.  Will they pay $160 for an Alexander Wang hooded sweatshirt when a similar looking one sells for $46 at American Apparel around the corner?  A Shipley & Halmos gray suit jacket ($550) & matching trouser ($325) & beautiful charcoal gray top coat ($795) were all well priced.  While a Thom Browne rugby shirt for $325 may be a bit too high for the neighborhood. The downstairs features an impressive denim shop with top brand Raleigh ($295), and an imposing winter parka from Spiewak Golden Fleece ($495).

Rounding out the mix is a rather small collection of accessories – there are only two watch brands sold, the gigantic Nixon and slightly smaller Eleven Eleven.  A pair of Nixon leather headphones look good from afar but when tested they sit uncomfortably high and aren’t as snug as high-end expensive DJ headphones should be.

The final verdict: great clothes and lots of buzz; a few blocks down, a woman in her 80’s in a wheel chair asked “Do you know where Barney’s is?”

Category: Fashion, Reports, Retail, Reviews.

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