Here’s something that’s sure to have you laughing all the way into the weekend. Yesterday NBC Chicago’s news site posted a piece about a new store opening in the 900 Shops on Michigan Avenue. The store, as it turns out, is Space 519, the latest pathetic attempt by former Jake boutique owners Lance Lawson and Jim Wetzel to salvage some sort of career for themselves after having their names smeared across the media world last year for robbing up-and-coming designers of their earnings. Jake went bankrupt, rightfully so, and instead of slinking off into the the shadows with their tails between their legs as they should have, Lawson and Wetzel have stunned everyone who knows anything about fashion in the Chicago by having the audacity to open up a new store.
Everyone, that is, except this NBC writer who seems blissfully unaware that any shameful acts were committed by these two in the first place. The piece starts out by saying “Some were shocked when they walked down Rush Street recently and noticed the super-trendy Jake Boutique was no longer present.” Hello! Anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the past year and can actually read headlines would not be shocked to notice that at all! The New York Times blasted Lawson and Wetzel last summer for withholding thousands of dollars from designers they had worked with for years such as Brian Reyes, Doo Ri Chung, and Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra of Costello Taliapietra in order to pay off their own exorbitant debts. In a time where independent labels were already struggling to survive the recession, Lawson’s and Wetzel’s refusal to pay became contributing factors to some of these labels’ collapse. We here at Second City Style were disgusted and posted our own article to get the word out on Jake’s reprehensible behavior—and it worked! The store closed down officially at the end of last year and we thought karma had done its job. Then lo and behold, Wetzel and Lawson come out from their shameful hiding to announce the opening of their new store, Space 519, which NBC seemed all too happy to review, skipping over all the ugly back-story.
Luckily, Chicago’s devoted shoppers weren’t going to let this fly. Every comment responding to the review was infuriated that the site was actually promoting the store, describing the inventory as “totally upscale and chic.” One commenter said, “you have GOT to be kidding me- NBC,
do you have any idea what you are promoting?? these 2 have been
bankrupt twice, changed their DBA to avoid paying bills and paying
their designers. there are designers worldwide who are owed hundreds of
thousands of dollars because of their shady businesses. Another chimed in, “These two are thieves, plain and
simple. They have stolen merchandise from fashion companies everywhere.
Helping Lance & Jim start another store is the same as handing out
Wall Street bonuses after a bailout. They owe hard working people a lot
of money, and have done absolutely nothing to pay back their debts.
Fashion designers everywhere be warned!!!” And a clearly appalled reader stated simply, “Karma needs to smack these two
unattractive old men in their ugly faces and not allow them to take
advantage of anyone ever again! Please Chicago, you have so many truly
great stores and businesses to spend your money at. DO not give these
idiots anymore money.” Well, there you have it. Its good to know you (obviously) don’t have to be in the media to get your facts straight. And hopefully, as more and more shoppers find out about Jake’s history, Space 519 will not be long for this world either.