Fashion Week’s “Nutty Bubble” Highlights NYC’s Wealth Divide

09.13.11 Spencer Lund

Fashion Week in New York, sponsored by Mercedes Benz, has been good for brands catering to the rich. “Business this season has been strong at Bergdorf Goodman…statistics indicate that this is true throughout the entire luxury-goods sector.”

This is quite different from the majority of American households where the number of people living below the poverty line hit 46 million last year.

Regardless of the rest of the country, the rich people were conspicuously on display throughout Fashion Week. No where was this more evident than the “Nutty Bubble.”The “Nutty Bubble” is a term used to describe the high-end consumers who have flocked to Lincoln Center tents where luxury retailers showcase their extravagantly priced wares during fashion week.  These are the Manhattan denizens who don’t ride the subway because it’s “icky.” Guy Trebay summed up the lavish atmosphere:

By the time the 100th Birkin bag has strolled past, it seems normal that a person might spend $8,000, the starter price for this Hermès classic, on a handbag. It stops being odd when one hears a person boast of having snagged a pair of high-waist Yves Saint Laurent trousers for just $1,590 online at Net-a-Porter.

According to the same piece, “American households spend on average well under $2,000 a year on clothing,” which wouldn’t be enough for a starter price on a handbag in the Nutty Bubble world.