Blind Items: Meet the Sneaker Police

By Patrick Coffee 

Oh hey, it’s been a while between Blind Items. Before we get into this one, a question: does your agency have a dress code?

We all agree that clients are super annoying. They’re impossible to please, they’re always wanting more for less, and they care SO MUCH about appearances. Literally.

One agency in particular went through a bit of drama on that front in recent weeks. Seems the person in charge is so afraid of upsetting one particular sneaker client that he or she insists on overseeing employees’ fashion choices.

Here are a series of emails sent to all staff concerning three popular brands that compete directly with the client for market share:

  • “Hello all, [Client A] will be here all day tomorrow so please be mindful and do not wear [X, Y or Z]. Thanks and Happy Wednesday!”
  • 5 days later: “Good morning everyone, [Client A] will be in the office again today (Monday). Please do not wear [X, Y, or Z]. Thank you!”
  • 3 days later: “Hi, [Client A] will be in again tomorrow morning. Please refrain from wearing [X, Y, or Z]. Thank you & have a lovely evening!”
  • 10 days later: “The [A] clients will be in the office tomorrow. Please refrain from wearing [X, Y, Z] or any other competitive brands. Thanks!”

We hear this may not be the full list of the emails.

According to our sources, employees initially thought the whole thing was a joke. But the requests kept coming, so eventually staff wised up.

But that’s not all. We hear that the agency’s top brass didn’t think the emails (at least one of which went out on a Sunday) were quite forceful enough, so he or she went so far as to make the rounds in the office, checking on which brands each employee happened to be wearing that day.

In fact, meetings may have been interrupted and individuals taken to task for daring to wear something other than the client’s own products.

Of course we’ve heard of agencies where staff members all drive the big client’s cars … and one has to assume this particular brand gets generous with the swag. But we haven’t come across such a discerning eye for fashion outside Project Runway.