(Photo: Daniel Maurer)
If you’re walking down Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, you’ll see some laundromats, coat shops and a corset store — all of which look like they very much belong on the Lower East Side (kinda sketchy, a little dirty, but charismatic in the way Williamsburg pretends to be). If you continue your walk down Orchard, you’ll notice that one shop doesn’t quite seem to fit.
It might be because of the crystal-like sign or perhaps it’s the posh display of mannequins, but Snidel sticks out the way boyfriends do at a Shawn Mendes concerts — the presence is cute and all, but does it really belong?
The answer lies within the store’s major partnership, and it’s prominently displayed on a number of graphic tees. Because, mixed in between corduroy non-gendered collared shirts costing $130 and one-size-fits-all dresses (size F), there are Rage Against the Machine t-shirts, sweatshirts and iPhone cases.
That’s right. The ’90s woke rap-metal group is selling merch at a fashionable Japanese store in its first U.S location. To clarify, the rock band did not pluck tour shirts and put them on a rack amongst quality fabrics. The partnership allows for RATM to slither its way onto objectively cool cuts and designs.
It’s basically like those $100 Wham! tees at Nordstrom. You wouldn’t go into a store looking for them, but somehow the atmosphere inside filled with potential is drawing you to the cash register, Wham! shirt (in this case, RATM shirt) in hand.
Born in Tokyo’s uber-hip Harajuku neighborhood in 2005, Snidel made a list of 10 Fashion Brands That Japanese People Love; Culture Trip wrote that the brand “focuses on making stylish but feminine silhouettes popular with women in their twenties and thirties.” Perhaps Rage Against the Machine found the trendy Japanese brand before the rest of America, or perhaps their management team got extremely lucky in pitching to Snidel before it opened in New York. Regardless, the store inside seems like it could find success in the midst of the LES.
Inside, you won’t hear Zach de la Rocha snarling the lyrics to “No Shelter”: “Empty ya pockets, son, they got you thinkin’ that / What ya need is what they selling / Make you think that buying is rebelling.” Instead Harry Styles and Taylor Swift played back-to-back, as if the Top-40 Gods were smiling upon the human making the playlist. As for the prices, they aren’t empty-ya-pockets expensive (by New York standards, anyway).
There’s a wide range of unisex tops, as well as skirts and checkered pants, typically ranging from $50 to $150. (The RATM hoodie is $111). And, for a store that opened in the U.S. two weeks ago, the clothes seem to go with fall fashion in the states — there’s an abundance of oversized sweaters, camel coats, knee-high boots and faux-fur jackets.
And, if that’s not enough to convince you to pop in, there’s one more partnership the brand has. The partnership perhaps makes even more Lower-East-Side sense than RATM.
It’s Hello Kitty™.