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Brief Published: 21 Mar 2013

Meatpacking: Progress though Preserving the Cobblestones


US fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg and Andrew Rosen, chief executive of luxury fashion labels Theory and Helmut Lang, co-hosted the inaugural Open Market event in New York On March 18. The retail-culinary fundraiser is held in aid of non-profit group the Meatpacking District Improvement Association (MDIA).

The ticketed event was designed to appear as a micro-representation of the district and was held inside the cavernous Highline Stages – a former 19th-century cobblestone-floored carriage house turned indoor event space (cobblestones being a key feature of the area).

By gathering local retailers, eateries and nightlife venues together, the event aimed to affirm the value of businesses working as a collective to fight the economic downturn, while priming the area as a cultural hub in preparation for the new branch of the Whitney Museum, opening in 2015.

Reminding guests that the improvement of the Meatpacking District doesn’t have to mean radical change, sample-sale stalls from Helmut Lang, Rag & Bone, Theory, DVF (of course) and more were mounted on wooden palettes, serving as a further nod to the area’s industrial past.

The ultimate aim of the MDIA is that such projects will enable the area to further cement itself as hybridised retail, leisure and cultural destination – a mode of thinking which is becoming increasingly important in the retail sector. For more on this topic, see California’s Anti-Malls: A New Blueprint for Group Retailing, Brazil’s Mall Culture, Redefining the Department Store: Store Concepts and Westfield Stratford City, UK.  

For more on urban regeneration in New York being just as important for brands as it is for tourism, see High Line 2: New York, New City?

Meatpacking District Improvement Association