For 16 years the brick wall on the corner of Broadway and Houston in SoHo was emblazoned with a several-stories-high DKNY logo through which you could see the Statue of Liberty and the NYC skyline. The billboard was an iconic New York symbol--until it came down in 2008 when the building was sold and DKNY was forced to remove it.
"We've literally been in mourning since 2008 with that SoHo wall. A lot of people have. We constantly hear, 'I can't believe it's not there,'" Aliza Licht, aka DKNY PRGirl (follow her @dkny), the brand's Senior Vice President of Communications, told us. "It's made an impact more than just an advertising campaign would have made. It was there for 16 years. People associate it with the city, the framework of the city."
So DKNY is bringing it back, via an international art project spanning 10 cities across the globe. For its new #DKNYArtworks project, the brand tapped 10 international artists to re-interpret the logo. From graffiti to pop art, each artist put his or her individual style into the letters. "When you really think back to the SoHo wall, it wasn't about the letters, it was the letters as a frame, and what came through the letters was the city," Licht explained. So what "comes through" each project is the individual artist's vision of New York.
Each outdoor installation will then be displayed in that artist's respective city, including New York, London, Paris, Milan, Dubai, Kuwait, Seoul, Shanghai, Hong Kong, and Tokyo. "We thought, how great to have an outdoor summer installation to give back to the city it's in by using their artists, and to bring New York to other places," Licht said.
There will be two installations in NYC, one by Brooklyn-based duo How and Nosm (see right) and one by Amy Gartrell which will pop up in Yankee Stadium, JFK, and even on the Hamptons Jitney (those green party buses that are icons themselves). London's involves a treasure hunt. You can read about all the artists and projects here.
There are several other initiatives involved with the program. You'll be able to buy limited edition DKNY products printed with the various artists' work, and eight art projects will be auctioned off to benefit Free Arts New York. You can bid on them online from June 12 through June 29, or hit up the live auction at the Montauk Beach House on June 29.
And of course, no DKNY project would be complete without a social media component. If you see the projects and tag them #DKNYArtworks, the brand will share them on their various platforms.
Now if only the real wall would come back. Fashionista HQ is right across the street from that wall--and there's currently an enormous Hollister ad there. No comment.