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Calling all Occupiers! Sample sales need you

November 16, 2011 |  1:35 pm

Salvatore FerragamoIt’s one thing to get arrested fighting greed and corruption, but fighting the competition at a sample sale? Perhaps some of the ousted Zuccotti Park protesters should start an Occupy Sample Sale encampment.

So many hungry shoppers flocked Wednesday to a Salvatore Ferragamo sample sale in Secaucus, N.J., that chaos reigned -- and the sale had to be shut down. So says, the fashion blog that first reported a few weeks earlier that the pricey Italian designer was slashing prices.

Here’s a direct report from Mizhatten about the mess that ensued:

“When I broke news of the Salvatore Ferragamo sample sale, I had no idea that the aforementioned chaos would break out in New Jersey of all places. Mizhattanites in attendance have been sending updates via email and the comment section, describing a 'insanely slow moving line' and an out of control scene involving law enforcement being called to maintain the situation & people getting arrested. Wow."

Apparently the sale was officially closed after the police showed up.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised. This is the season in Manhattan’s Garment District when women can be seen climbing the back stairs of grungy buildings and ripping off their clothes in public to try on brand-name clothes. Such pre-holiday sales offer clothes discounted by sometimes 60% and 70%.

In the bad-old-days, sample sales were mostly advertised by word of mouth and were exclusive to women who worked in the fashion industry and wore sample sizes from 0 to 4. But with the invention of the Internet and the need of fashion companies to raise cash, sample sales expanded to include clothes in all sizes. They're also now widely advertised.

The pre-sale buildup to the Ferragamo sale occurred largely in the fashion blogosphere, on sites such as MadisonAvenueSpy.comwhich last week wrote: "Although the sale is in Secaucus, N.J., it's worth a Zipcar weekend or a car service to get your shopping done. High-quality products like these usually can't be found at these prices."

Here's more reporting from Mizhatten about what that buildup wrought. Of Wednesday's scene outside the Ferragamo sale, the blog said:

“It seems this line rivaled the insanely long line of the YSL sample sale just a few weeks ago. I have been told that due to fire code violations the sale was closed at 11:15 a.m., an hour and 15 minutes(!) into the sale. It goes without saying that the majority of angry shoppers left empty-handed.”

For more eye-witness accounts, go to Mizhattan's comments section. It includes gems such as this one: "My friend Elizabeth got into a fist fight with a cop and they dragged her into jail!"

All for the cause of shoes, clothes and bags.


Occupy New York: After Zuccotti Park?

Fashion catalogs turn a page -- by going mobile

Fashion news: Rules for shopping the Versace for H&M collection

-- Geraldine Baum in New York

Photo illustration: These Salvatore Ferragamo flats are cute, sure, but are they cute enough to risk arrest? For some women at a recent sample in New Jersey, perhaps so. (Of course, these shoes were shot in a studio at The Times several years ago -- so it's unlikely they had anything to do with the shoppers-gone-wild atmosphere. But then again, if there was patent leather being offered up...)  Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times