Run, Do Not Walk, To Norma Kamali’s eBay Store

This morning we trekked through the rain to the Apple store in downtown NYC where we were treated to quite the unusual fashion show. In the spirit of “the democratization of fashion,” instead of hustling past bodyguards and navigating seat assignments there was no insane crowd as usual — even though I had an invite, no one checked and it seemed pretty open to whomever happened to be laptop shopping at 11 a.m. Seating was first come, first served (a practice which if applied to all shows would mean that they would actually start on time and not 30-45 minutes late, just sayin’). Anyway, Miss Kamali herself took the stage dressed in one of her signature jumpsuits and black cat glasses and chatted away with tech guru Omar Wasow about how technology has impacted the fashion business. While I’ll spare you the details, let’s just say it was actually really interesting. Unlike a lot of designers clinging for dear life to the old way of doing things, Kamali is one smart cookie, using iPhone apps (there is a new Norma Kamali one, naturally) and Skype on her website to help people shop from the comfort of their own homes. The result? While lots of fashion houses are closing up brick and mortar shops, Kamali has seen an increase in online sales. Her latest forward-thinking strategy is if ya can’t beat ‘em, might as well join them when it comes to eBay. When she saw that people were buying up her Wal-Mart collection and selling it for twice as much on the eBs, she decided to create an exclusive collection for eBay and just sell it herself, and it launches today. It’s slightly higher end than the Wal-Mart line and filled with Kamali staples like a terry sleeping bag coat for under $300 (a steal if you’re a cult follower, trust) and, of course, her famous swimwear and jumpsuits at a fraction of the usual price.

After our talk we were released into the wilderness of SoHo, where a string of beauties stood in the rain, showing off the collection for all the world to see — not just the selected few. As Kamali said, “Today, fashion belongs to everybody, not just the industry.” Come to think of it, it was a little like Fashion’s Night Out, but, you know, in the morning.