The $1,200 Hoodie

Am I really about to justify a $1,200 hooded sweatshirt?

Between Spring and Broome, on Greene St. in SoHo, lies an 1873 French Renaissance architectural masterpiece by Isaac F. Duckworth. The finest example of cast-iron architecture on the finest cast-iron block in the world, it was nicknamed, The King of Greene Street.

Duckworth’s French Second Empire cast iron façade was a masterpiece. The complex design included free-standing Corinthian columns, balconies, and a projecting central bay. Pedestrians looking up would be greeted with fully-decorated undersides of the balconies. – Tom Miller

The King of Greene Street

Within the parallel building are two ground-level storefronts, businesses that lie worlds apart. On the right is Patagonia, an outdoor clothing store focused on giving back to the earth.”

But it’s the other storefront we’re interested in, Amiri.

The King of Greene Street

Opened in 2021, I began noticing the celebrity sightings and sudden long lines out front. Large guards often manned the front door, and those black Suburbans frequently idled outside. Then a few blocks away on Canal Street, I started to notice fake Amiri T-shirts lining the block.

I was noticing the brand everywhere, particularly in the front row of Knicks games when shown on television. Amiri is a status brand, a luxury streetwear brand. Even star tight-end & Taylor Swift boyfriend, fashionista Travis Kelce wore a custom-sequined Amiri suit for his entrance to the Superbowl.

Amiri Staff

Amiri employees.

I researched the brand online to see what the fuss was about and had the sticker shock of a lifetime. Hoodies retail anywhere between $970 to a $2,890 hoodie with a crystal eagle on it.

And that’s not even talking about the $500 to $1,000 t-shirts.

(Sorry you will probably be getting some strange clothing ads after you click any of those links).

Last year, I finally built up the courage to walk in to see what the hype was about. As I tiptoed past the sequins and sparkles and gaudiness towards the back, I was actually impressed. And a bit shocked. I felt the t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts, and they were like no hoodies I had ever felt before. Thick and sturdy, luxurious feeling, quality, interestingly draped.

The King of Greene Street

Not that (as a 41-year-old dad) I’d look good in them, and the designs and prices may not have been for me. I’m also not justifying the ridiculous price or the obvious problems of luxury, marketing, and status of these garments, but there was no doubt that these were serious pieces of clothing. It opened my eyes.

Is a hoodie different from a suit?

The King of Greene Street

These were dress clothes. Up close, they looked and felt like fancy dress clothes. Yes, this was the final form of the Instagram streetwear aesthetic that had been building through the 2010s, but it was also about access.

The urban class, as they broke into the mainstream and began being invited into spaces they previously had been kept out of, needed more dress clothes. And with Instagram, they were suddenly given easier avenues to create and market clothing lines. This store was its final form. The experience felt like (I’d imagine) going into a Bergdorf Goodmans to buy a $2,000 suit.

People are just trying to fit in and belong. And sometimes stand out. It might be misguided, and while there’s so much wrong with the sustainability, marketing, and expense, I don’t feel like there’s anything overly wrong per se with those urges.

The King of Greene Street

Now let’s finish by getting back to talking about Knicks games. The front row is not only where it’s at, Madison Square Garden has one of the best nosebleeds in the world (if you sit in the middle and not behind the baskets).

The Barclays Center, home of the Brooklyn/NJ Nets, on the other hand, the upper-level seats are horrifying and dangerous. Walking from the middle to the aisle feels like walking those mountain pathways with only ropes to hold on to. But here, instead of rope you just have the crotches of awkward people to navigate by as you try not to grab for dear life to them due to the fear of falling. These seats were not built with the best interests of fans in mind.

There have even been multiple lawsuits from incidents from people toppling down these seats. Imagine getting crushed by a drunk Islanders hockey fan. 

The Barclays was a money grab. You want to tell a fanbase how you feel about them, pack the nosebleed seats in worse-than-airplane fashion. It was unnecessary. It’s not like they’re filling the stadium anyway, Barclays lost $76 million in 2023. Maybe some nicer seats and better food might have been a decent business decision?

In addition to the best nosebleeds, Madison Square Garden also has the best chicken finger and honey mustard combination in the world. And speaking of chicken and lines, right outside the Barclays, across Atlantic Avenue, the most dangerous intersection in the city, is a Chick-fil-A store that must be their most congested location in the U.S., as throngs of delivery drivers mob the streets, reminiscent of a zombie film or the storming of the castle scene in Lord of the Rings.

Sorry, when I started this piece, I didn’t think we’d delve into chicken fingers and Lord of the Rings. I’ll finish this by saying that I’ve been wanting to get a good photograph of the throngs outside of the Chick-fil-A for a long time, and it was finally writing this ADD tangent that made me go do it.

I went to photograph a dystopian hellscape of motorbikes, but I got there 45 minutes after dinner rush hour and ended up with a photo of coworkers relaxing after a Friday rush. I’ll have to go back for what I want, but I caught a nice moment I wasn’t expecting.

So thank you for listening, get some nosebleed Knicks tickets, and here’s the photo.


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6 thoughts on “The $1,200 Hoodie”

  1. John Swanson

    Wonderful article James! Engaging hook for a title. great narrative story.

    Your took us where we would fear to go!


  2. James,
    Great article. I know the King of Green well. My morning routine when I’m in NYC is to walk through Soho and I pass it when going out and returning. However, I’m there before any of the stores open, so I wasn’t aware of how active the area is. I’ll change up my routine next time.

  3. Really enjoyed the article, thanks for sharing it. New York is on my bucket list after missing it last February due to illness. This just makes me want to bring a bag full of cameras!

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