American Marketer


Barneys sports leather to give back to community nonprofits

March 2, 2016

Barneys Leather Jacket by Altuzarra Barneys Leather Jacket by Altuzarra; photo by Richard Pierce


Department store chain Barneys New York is remembering and reviving a 30-year-old charity initiative to usher in its new Chelsea location.

In 1986, Barneys hosted its “Denim Jacket” event, in which the retailer partnered with designers and artists to redesign a jean jacket to their personal aesthetic for auction. Prominent designers and artists participated in the Denim Jacket project, including Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Yves Saint Laurent, with proceeds of the auction benefiting an AIDS charity.

From denim to leather
As part of its ongoing inauguration of its new Chelsea location on 7th Avenue between 16th and 17th Streets in New York, a space just blocks from its original store (see story), Barneys has rejuvenated the Denim Jacket initiative for a modern twist.

Barneys’ “The Black Leather Jacket” auction, in partnership with auctioneer Christie’s, will benefit two iconic New York nonprofit organizations: The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Center and the art-space White Columns.

Similar to the initiative in its original form, Barneys asked artists and designers to customize black leather motorcycle jackets. The resulting 23 one-of-a-kind leather jackets will then be auctioned off online by Christie’s from March 1-22, with bids beginning at $1,000.

For the Leather Jacket project Barneys worked with 14 artists and seven fashion designers, two of whom made both men's and women's styles.

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Barneys New York's Leather Jacket charity initiative; photo by Richard Pierce

The art industry is represented by the likes of Helmut Lang, Marilyn Minter, Sterling Ruby and Kim Gordon, who tucked a note in the pocket of her commissioned leather jacket. From the fashion world Azzedine Alaia, Alexander Wang, Dries Van Noten, Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci, Isabel Marant, Joseph Altuzarra and Tim Coppens participated.

Barneys also choose nonprofits close to its heart. For instance, White Columns fosters young talent by providing them with a space to flourish.

Likewise, The LGBT Center empowers the LGBT community through wellness programs, cultural events and supportive services. Barneys has worked with The Center in the past and has shown its support through previous projects. Most recently, the LGBT Center was prominently featured in Barneys’ spring 2016 campaign “Our Town,” starring members of the community center (see story).

To promote the Leather Jacket auction, Barneys has included a post on its blog The Window. The jackets will also be on display at Barneys’ Chelsea location with a runway event scheduled for later this month.