If you don’t know Rag & Bone, you’re about to. Welcome to the thickest carpet bombing of targeted ads since Bloomberg left the race. I apologize for bringing this upon you, as reading this blog means you’ve opened the floodgates and you’re about to see promotions for blowout sales on your Instagram, Facebook, and every ad-driven website you frequent. Their ads have bugged me for a long time, but I finally saw a promotion that made it impossible to keep quiet any longer: their “why we are lowering our prices” message from the founder advertisement.
It’s presented with a heartfelt message from the guy who built the place, Marcus Wainwright. It appears he fed his typewriter with parchment from the dead sea scrolls. I guess this is to give off that rumpled, rustic vibe that complements their $240 distressed (aka destroyed) pants. But before I ask to scream at a manager, let’s back up a bit.
I’ve had a bone to pick with fashion giant Rag & Bone for some time now. They were my go-to brand for new clothes for years because I didn’t know any better. In my early New York City days, someone whose fashion sense I trusted recommended their stuff, and I went to their Soho store to witness the fitness. It’s the sort of place where they offer you a cold Peroni, ask you questions about your parents, and hug you. A very gay, very convincing salesman buttered me into thinking I looked my best ever in their $200 raw denim jeans. Ever the child, I asked to wear them out of the store because when you decide to start a new life, you want it to begin immediately. I walked home with my kneecaps chafing against the unyielding fabric of my new, terminally uncomfortable pants.
And so it went for years. Over time, I came to realize that their pants stretch a ton in the waist. I would buy new jeans so tight that I had to size down my underwear so they didn’t bunch or leave embarrassing brief lines for all to trace. Within six months, the jeans would stretch to the point where I could hold the waist out with my thumbs like I was posing for a weightloss after photo, thankful for the newfound view of my penis. At that point, the fit would be toast and I’d have to go buy new pants, always chasing that three-month window where they’re not too tight, not too loose, just right.
Sometimes I would buy a shirt or a sweater—disastrous decisions. If you bring a Rag & Bone t-shirt within 100 yards of a washing machine/dryer, it will sepukku itself. These shirts stand up to washing like they cheated on the detergent, and the detergent is presenting irrefutable evidence of the shirt’s infidelity. In other words, they CRUMBLE. As for the sweaters, they pill and fray into little balls that conduct more static electricity than that balloon-arm hair experiment your chemistry teacher taught you. After a few purchases, I decided to stick to the jeans.
Don’t get me wrong, there stuff isn’t the worst; it’s just terrible for the price. One of the illuminating consequences of their torrential ads is that you see how often they offer 50-75% discounts. This makes it clear that the original list prices for their items are so marked up that nobody should ever consider buying their stuff at retail. More than once, I bought something at their store only to find it 50% online a week later because it’s May, and time to clear the shelves for the fall line. Those were angry days.
Which brings us to their latest ad campaign: the old “we’re here to help in these tough times” sale.
How much have they lowered the price of those “damn good t-shirts?”
From $95 to $71.25.
For those of you who struggle with numbers, that’s a whopping 25% sale. Because in the wake of millions of Americans filing for unemployment, the folks at Rag & Bone sympathize with your plight to the tune of 25% off. That should ease the financial burden for all you shoppers unsure of where your next t-shirt will come from.
I understand that every industry has been hit hard by the Coronavirus. I understand that Rag & Bone has had to shutter its retail locations and that people aren’t buying their clothes and they’re laying people off, blah blah blah. But to present a standard sale as some act of charitable goodness, as a response to a global pandemic, is fucking horseshit. I’m not yelling, you’re yelling.
$95 for a t-shirt is a terrible price. $71.25 for a t-shirt is a bad price. Mr. Wainwright, you did not help the world by improving your t-shirt price from terrible to bad.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some browsing to do.