To save retail, bloomingdale’s turns to migos

by MR Magazine Staff

The crowd looks no different than the ones so frequently lined up outside the Supreme shop in SoHo: teens flexing in Off-White tees, Bape Shark hoodies, and head-to-toe Supreme. It’s a crowd that can make anyone of legal drinking age feel like a geezer. The group is crowded around a pristine white cube with a TV inside displaying palm trees, gold chains, and tigers. The audience is here waiting for the Migos (the Atlanta-based culture-setting better-than-the-Beatles rap trio made up of Offset, Quavo, and Takeoff) to show up—”I want to meet them,” says Charles, a Manhattan College student, “or just see them”—to promote an apparel collection launching alongside their new 26-track album of bangers and slappers, Culture II. But the here—and the who, really—is notable. Because we’re not in Soho, or even Brooklyn. The hormonal wave of streetwear has crested, oddly enough, at the flagship Bloomingdale’s, on 59th Street and Lexington Avenue. The crowd absorbs new members until it pushes out all the way to the escalators where security guards are trying to keep a pathway clear for the confused old women who just want to dine at Bloomingdale’s David Burke cafe. None of these kids, it goes without saying, are Bloomingdale’s typical shopper. That we’re so surprised to see kids shopping so enthusiastically at department stores and that department stores are struggling isn’t a coincidence. Department stores could really use the kind of customer who camps out hours for clothes, and whose fandom can turn streetwear brands into billion-dollar companies. Ryan Rautenstrauch and Andrew Bianchi both beelined straight to the event after wrapping their classes for the day at St. John’s University. Bianchi is wearing his school’s sweatshirt, and underneath it is merch from rapper Lil Uzi Vert. “I’m here just for them,” Rautenstrauch says when I ask him if he would ever shop at Bloomingdale’s under non-Migos circumstance. “This is a little out of my price range.” Almost everyone that I spoke to echoed Rautenstrauch: Bloomingdale’s isn’t a place they’d ever shop, but today they’ll make an exception. When the Migos arrive a couple minutes later, the crowd is jumping around, flashing the horns, and partaking in a call-and-response with the group that’s mostly just yelling “ayyyy” back and forth. Shopping on the lower level of Bloomingdale’s has never felt so much like a concert. Read more at GQ.