Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Have you ever walked into a particularly cool bar or outdoor space and suddenly realized, “I think what is happening in here is supposed to be art.” I have. It happened to me last night at the Justin Timberlake pop-up merch store.
Though the whole purpose of the shop is an album entitled Man of the Woods, upon entering, the vibe is much more akin to an album called Man of the MoMA, although I do not think Justin Timberlake would be the person to make that album. While the merch itself is highly forest-friendly — Pendleton blankets, sturdy Levi’s jackets, a Yeti cooler, and a literal axe — the presentation is strangely museum-like.
For example, here is how Justin Timberlake presents a Man of the Woods-branded scarf, Man of the Woods Jordans, and Man of the Woods sunglasses:
And here is said axe, with the museum-y labels and everything!
But perhaps the artiest thing about last night’s event was the fact that for the entire time I was there, one item had yet to arrive: the Heron Preston vest. I’d heard that it was en route from Newark Airport and wouldn’t arrive for at least another hour, so unfortunately I did not witness its grand entrance. Instead, sitting in its place was an empty hanger.
It looked like this:
Honestly, by this point I thought the hanger itself was part of the collection, perhaps some kind of metaphor for the state of fashion and art and merch and music and “drop” culture. I’m pretty sure it was just an empty hanger, though.
Besides, there were other Heron Preston items to look at: T-shirts that look like the kind you buy at national park souvenir shops, except you can tell these are arty because the machine-wash instructions are printed in huge letters on the front.
By then Justin himself had arrived, decked out in the Tennessee hoodie and one of the Levi’s jackets (which really are very cute). I was told that the concept in general was the brainchild of Timberlake, particularly the idea that each song would have its own corresponding item. I did not, however, get the chance to ask him which item he would take into the woods with him if he had to pick. I wonder if it would be the hanger!
Below, the list of items and prices with their corresponding track. Full cost of transforming oneself into a man of the woods: $3,755, or 188 packs of Duraflame logs.
- “Filthy”: Heron Preston vest, $500
- “Midnight Summer Jam”: Yeti cooler, $350
- “Sauce”: Best Made Co. flask, $125
- “Man Of The Woods”: Best Made Co. scarves, $25
- “Higher Higher”: Jordan sneakers, $200
- “Wave”: Warby Parker sunglasses, $95
- “Supplies”: Best Made Co. strongboxes, $35
- “Morning Light’: Pendleton blanket, $300
- “Say Something”: Moleskine notebook, $50
- “Hers”: Levi’s x Pendleton plaid shirt, $150
- “Flannel”: Levi’s plaid shirts, $150
- “Montana”: Levi’s jackets, $195-$250
- “Breeze Off the Pond”: Maestro’s Classic beard butter and beard wash, $30 each
- “Livin’ Off the Land”: Best Made Co. axe, $350
- “The Hard Stuff”: by Leor Yerushalmi bracelet, $125
- “Young Man”: Lucchese boots, $795
- Man of the Woods Heron Preston shirts: T-shirts, $45; long-sleeved tees, $65; hoodies, $85