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Thursday, March 4, 2010

A not so free Republic

Posted By on Thu, Mar 4, 2010 at 12:18 AM

A recent move by Republic programming director Nick Thomas to ban attire inspired by MTV's "Jersey Shore" is gaining traction among blogs. FAIL Blog declared the rule, posted outside the club, a "Sign Win," and other blogs such as Racked and New York Magazine's Vulture have blogged about it. The Huffington Post stole posted this interview with Thomas from

While waiting behind a velvet rope in anticipation of 90s kitsch and special couches (V.I.P. sections), you may have noticed the sign: "If it's on Jersey Shore, it's not coming through the door." For those unsure about what "Jersey Shore" attire encompasses, the sign singles out designers Affliction, Ed Hardy and Christian Audigier. The sign, however, fails to mention if boob slings are permitted.

There are two reactions to the club's new dress code:

1. Guidos (and guidettes): who needs `em! I am an affluent white person, and therefore find the mere sight of tattoo jeans offensive (the majority of bloggers have embraced this reaction).

2. Seriously? Not that I am in any way advocating the kind of wardrobe the Republic seeks to ban, but how can Republic deny anyone the right to spend $9 on a Jack and Coke based on the dumb trends they follow? It's essentially one silly, consumer-based subculture — Urban Outfitters-clad PYTs — seeking to exclude another. And while a wardrobe of True Religion jeans and a metallic, skin-tight graphic tee may be considered offensive for its crimes against fashion and society, it is certainly "appropriate" attire and nothing that any club has any real reason banning.

In the interview, writer Karen Dalton Beninato asks Thomas if, hypothetically, "Jersey Shore" cast member Snooki (of getting-punched-in-the-face fame) wanted to see the upcoming Spoon show, would the Almighty Fashion High Priests abide?:

Absolutely [not] ... if Snooki is wearing anything that Snooki wears, the same Jersey Shore-esque clothing she is known for and [is] rocking a pouf. If Snooki has a life changing event and starts dressing like a normal human being, by all means — come and see Spoon.

First, what if Snooki sincerely wants to see fist-pump her way through the crowds to hear Britt Daniel sing "I Summon You"? What now, Nick Thomas? And second, since when is Republic an authority on how "normal human beings" dress? Not all people would agree that wearing, say, a see-through lace body suit (slightly NSFW), outfits made entirely of lamé or ironic eyeglasses is how a "normal human being" dresses.

This was probably inevitable, since Republic has expressly stated its mission to hand-pick its ideal crowds since its inception. From the Lifestyle Revolution Group Web site:

Republic is a hub of creativity and entertainment for the progressive group of people living in and visiting New Orleans intent on revolutionizing the city’s professional and artistic landscapes, providing first-class social experiences and constantly evolving entertainment through music, fashion, philanthropy, film and the arts. Republic caters to a diverse, interesting and eclectic clientele, and its guests’ experiences are paramount to everything created there.

Diversity, however, is limited to the extent to which you are not a guido.

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