Jay Z's collaboration with Barneys garners support from Beyoncé, Solange takes on design role

It’s been an exciting period in fashion for the Jay Z-Beyoncé Knowles clan.

The rapper-mogul from Brooklyn has just launched his designer collaboration with Barneys New York — called “BNY SCC” — on the heels of a racial profiling scandal that had many calling for the artist to end the partnership.

After Trayon Christian, 19, was wrongly arrested for shoplifting from the luxury emporium in April when lawfully purchasing a $349 belt, he filed a law suit against the store accusing it of targeting him for being black.

Since the immediate fallout over the incident, it has been noted that Christian represents the kind of consumer that highly identifies with Jay Z, but will likely not feel comfortable shopping his collection after this much-publicized incident.

The New York City culture blog Animal joked in a headline about BNY SCC that, “Jay Z’s Barneys collection offers black shoppers a lot of pricey items to get racially profiled over.”

Pieces in the range, which is available through January 3, 2014, include hats, scarves, coats, and blankets ranging from $150 to $58,000. Fans of the collection might be interested in:

  • An $875 baseball cap,
  • $3,100 windbreaker,
  • $33,900 watch, or
  • $750 t-shirt

The Knowles’ make fashion a family affair

Beyoncé Knowles, wife of the collection’s creator, got in on the family fashion front by promoting some of the items on her Instagram account.

Not to be left out of the style extravaganza, Beyoncé’s sister Solange Knowles has announced that she is now a creative director at the sports brand Puma.

“It is in my new role that I am able to express my love for not only design but the conception of creative ideas, and the execution of them by curating amazingly talented teams,” she posted on Instagram last week. The fashion “it” girl also took the occasion to plug her coming sneaker collection, “Girls of Blaze,” which is based on the textures and colors of Brazil.

What’s next in the profiling case?

But these positive notes are occurring alongside the darker current of the Barneys profiling affair. Now the case is under review by New York City authorities, along with that of other stores facing similar accusations, including Macy’s.

In his latest statement on continuing the Barneys partnership, Jay Z said: “I am in a unique position to use my voice to affect change to this disturbing issue. The easy position would have been to walk away and leave policy making to others hoping that someone addresses the problem. I will not leave the outcome to others. I will take this into my own hands with full power to recommend, review and revise policies and guidelines moving forward.”

Additionally, the performer also known as Shawn Carter announced that 100 percent of the sales proceeds of the collection will go to his eponymous foundation, in addition to 10 percent of all sales garnered at Barneys stores nationwide on November 20 — up from the 25 percent before the allegations.

Is race a factor in the backlash?

While some remain critical of Jay Z, others believe race is motivating his critics.

“I understand the problems people people have with Jay Z selling stuff for Barneys,” wrote a user on Jezebel.com. “But being upset that he’s selling expensive stuff in general? That’s bullshit. Celebrities sell expensive junk all the time, why is it only a problem when Jay Z does it? Lets be real, people see a black rapper and think, ‘he shouldn’t be selling expensive stuff.'”

Barneys maintains that their policies are not to blame for the incident, and instead says the NYPD caused the controversy. This case certainly lends gravity to how the Carter-Knowles clan blends its urban style with crossover appeal.

Follow Alexis Garrett Stodghill on Twitter @lexisb.