New German label VonRosen has figured out a brilliant new way to make people hate it: The line is available by invitation only. If you want to buy their clothes or even look at their clothes, you must submit an application, and they will decide if you are good enough to become a member. When you go to the website, it asks for your email address and invitation code. "No invitation code?" the site asks smugly. We click awkwardly. Can it see us? Does our hair look OK? Apparently not, because we're not even allowed to view the collection.
"Access is only granted to invited guests," the website announces. "You may also be nominated by an existing member. In selected cases we invite on demand. If you wish to receive a code, please let us know who you are a firstname.lastname@example.org." We tried shouting, "Don't you know who we are!?" at the computer, but we didn't have any more luck than Times reporter Eric Wilson, who sent in an application for his dog.
The line's founder, 33-year-old David Von Rosen, says he's had 10,000 requests in the past year and has allowed 1,500 people access to his
hallowed halls website. One of his sweaters costs $675, and he says he's sold around 4,000 items. The only way you can tell if a short-sleeve polo shirt is a VonRosen short-sleeve polo shirt is by the little metal tag at the waist. We're glad to see that someone has finally gotten around to starting that tag-and-release program for douchebags.
But "exclusive" is never as exclusive as it sounds. The line sent invitation codes to Style.com and pimped the resulting write-up on their site, saying "As VONROSEN launches in the UK and the US, keep your eyes open for more articles and blogs about us as they pop up."
Von Rosen says the line's manufactured exclusivity is a reaction against so-called luxury labels that allow just anyone with a credit card to buy their clothes, which makes them seem much less exclusive. "It's so obvious it’s all about money," Von Rosen said. "The luxury brands try to squeeze every last penny from customers." Right, because exclusivity for profit is gauche, but exclusivity for publicity is art.
· But I’m on the List ... [NYT]
· By Invitation Only: VonRosen [Style.com]