A line of semi-nude youths on 34th Street started to form at 2 a.m. today. Some were guys, some were girls, some looked great without clothes, some not so much. But they were all in line to get a free outfit from the Spanish clothing store, Desigual, which promised that the first 100 people to show up at its new store wearing only underwear would get a free outfit to cover themselves up -- one top and one bottom.
Through full-page ads in AM New York and an aggressive social-media campaign, the clothing retailer spread the word about this morning's "Undie Party." Last week, an identical undies-only promotional party was held at Desigual's Soho store. The "Undie Party" concept is only 3 months old, but was successful at the company's European stores and is turning out to be a success in New York too. According to Eric Vidal, who was at the site and has been working on this promotion, 300 people showed up at last week's event and 250 people showed up this morning, despite the rain.
The company was founded in 1984, but it entered the U.S. market just last year with their first store in Soho. It now has six stores in the U.S., two of them in New York, and it's opening another one in Herald Square before the end of the year, according to Manuel Martinez, who handles the company's marketing in North America.
After the first 100 semi-nudes were counted, another line of 100 or more formed around the block. While the latter group would not get a free outfit, they would get 50% off of everything once the first 100 ravage the store.
After a countdown from 10 to 1, store guards opened the doors and the bare-skinned crowd rushed into the store like Spanish bulls in Pamplona.
"You do not have to use dressing rooms," shouted one employee. "Try the clothing on wherever you are!"
Desigual hired Man-Lai, a creative marketing firm, to help them coordinate both of these events.