Saturday, September 12, 2009

Calvin Klein SF Union Square store front poll: 12 percent, racist - 36 percent questionable

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Calvin Klein SF (San Francisco) Union Square store in San Francisco Shopping Center has as of this writing a display front that triggered an email from a viewer and the video above presenting its design. Personally I think it evokes racist images of lynchings, but its boarderline, so I put the question to a poll vote.

As of this writing 12 percent believe it to be racist, 36 percent questionable but not racist, 7 percent report nothing wrong with it, 22 percent don't care, and 22 percent think it's not racist at all.

The store front's a standout in a San Francisco Center dominated by mannequins that are generally white in color and positioned in normal poses; Calvin Klein's mannequins are a shade of grey so dark, it's almost black. But its not the color so much as how they're positioned and the kind of rope and knots used in the display.

Check out the video and take the poll yourself.


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Calvin Klein SF Union Square - Is store front racist?

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I received this email below from a viewer which explains the person's shock over the Calvin Klein SF Union Square store front display in the San Francisco Shopping Center. I went over to make the video above and get your view on the display.

As I've stated in the video, it was not a good idea to approve a store front that is at best questionable. Everyone who's seen the video thus far has a reaction to it, from furled brows to frowns and raised eyebrows, the video does not make for a stoic reaction.

Why someone would do this is a question I will ask Calvin Klein's staffers in the days ahead. Indeed, the worker that talked to me through the glass admitted that she did not the racial overtones in the display until they were pointed out to her.

But for now, read the email below, then take my poll on this certainly controversial Calvin Klein store display.

The email:

Hey Zennie,

I'm kicking myself for not taking a picture (I don't usually use my phone for anything other than a phone, so it escaped me in a moment of anger), but I just got back from the San Francisco Shopping Center where I happened upon an appalling window display in the Calvin Klein store next to Bloomingdale's on the 3rd floor.

Imagine a window full of frolicking monkeys, swinging from tree branches in various playful poses, but instead of monkeys, there are mannequins wearing the latest Calvin fashions. And instead of swinging from tree branches, the mannequins are swinging from ropes finished in nooses at the ends. All of the mannequins are black. It doesn't sound like much, but I'll tell you, those nooses caught my eye in the first place, and it didn't take long to piece it all together.

Why am I sending this to you? Well, you've got a voice on several forums, and could make this very public and embarrassing for Calvin Klein. That anyone could get past the basic design stages of such a display without questioning its bad taste is unbelievable. That such displays are crafted by designers with an eye on every detail makes it even less excusable. That such displays are often dictated to stores by corporate headquarters and duplicated at all locations makes it a disgusting travesty.

If you happen by that store, or know someone in SF who could take some pics for you to post, you could shine a bright light on a very ugly message going out to the thousands of people who pass by that carefully composed collection of symbols. I was deeply offended, but rather than contact Calvin Klein so they can quietly change their windows, I figured I'd contact someone who can give it a bit more exposure.

Thanks for listening and keep up the good blogs,

Name withheld by Zennie
San Francisco


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