This Useless ‘Inutilious’ Store on Ludlow Street Sells Nothing

Posted on: August 21st, 2015 at 5:10 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

Inutilious is an obscure trivia word that essentially means “useless.” That’s the type of retail awaiting 151 Ludlow.

Photographer Adrian Wilson will open a new store at 151 Ludlow Street in a couple weeks. Unlike its trendy predecessor, Portia & Manny, this quirky shop will sell nothing. A retailer that gives everything away.

The Inutilious Retailer is an extension of Wilson’s prior work, having spent the last ten years creating and giving away his art free of charge. In a Hell Square dominated by escalating rents and liquor over-saturation, the concept seems totally ludicrous. Yet, at the same time, intriguing.

This image has been archived or removed.

Here’s how it works. Wilson creates “one-off” art on mass-market clothes. It’s free, on the condition that the customer goes into the back to create a new piece. Ye olde take a penny/leave a penny setup. Print Magazine has more…

There is a front and back portion to the store, divided by a wall with a door in it. The front is monochrome except for a dozen umbrellas which are poking through the wall. Hung on the umbrella handles are items of clothing that have been purchased at stores which have a history of copying fashion designer’s work. I will have bought mass-market clothes and created one-off art on them, taking ideas from the big retailers and making them unique. Each garment will have a label stating the original store and will have a price.

There will be no sales assistant but a mirror in the dividing wall enables the potential customer to see in the rear workshop. If they can attract my attention and after a chat through a hatch in the door, I believe they have good intentions, they will be given the garment free on condition that they enter the workshop and create a new piece (from clothing I have bought from the Salvation Army) to replace it. Their piece then goes on sale and the cycle repeats.

Wilson doesn’t expect to recoup the losses on this project, and equates the endeavor to how other people spend their hard-earned money. “Some people spend money on making their car hop up and down,” he told Print. “Some people fly to Atlantis to swim with a dolphin. Nobody ever asks them how they will recoup the money it cost them.”

The location for Inutilious seems apt, as Vicki Rovere’s long-running, open air Ludlow Free Store operates right at the doorstep.

Wilson plans to open the Inutilious Retailer on September 1. He has a “long lease” through 2016 and hopes to remain open “as long as I can afford to.”

Recent Stories

Demolition Begins at Fire-Stricken Dim Sum Palace Building in Chinatown

Demolition started this week at 6 Chatham Square, which, until this month, housed neighborhood favorite Dim Sum Palace. Early morning May 1, a fire in the kitchen spread throughout the building, triggering a five-alarm response from the fire department. All told, five firefighters were injured battling the inferno over several hours. And according to Red […]

Eldridge Street Development Sells for $19.24M

A major real estate deal to report on Eldridge Street. It took three years, but the eight-story mixed-use building at 165 Eldridge traded last week for $19.25 million. Just under the initial 2019 asking price of $21 million. Buyer of record is Meng Lee and Karim Elsayyad of FREO Management. The transaction is not yet […]

The ‘Barrier Reefs’ Coming to Clinton Street Bike Lane

The Department of Transportation has chosen a winner to decorate the traffic barrier protecting the Clinton Street bike line. The city agency awarded artist Alison Cynamon as part of the ongoing Barrier Beautification mural project. The concrete slab runs from Delancey Street to South Street; an 840-foot stretch with roughly 1,980 square-feet of canvas to […]

Redlining the LES: How Discriminatory Lending Policies Solidified Pre-Existing Inequalities

The following was written by Anna Sargeantson. All photos courtesy of Anna Sargeantson, except where otherwise noted. Home to dimly lit restaurants and bars frequented by NYU students and young professionals, the Lower East Side remains in many ways the epitome of New York City’s youthful heart. Under the surface, though, the neighborhood has historically […]

Ed Higgins Gets ‘Mail Art’ Retrospective at Van Der Plas Gallery on Orchard Street

Fresh off featuring his art in Ludlow Coffee Supply, the Van Der Plas Gallery of Orchard Street is now dedicating a full artist retrospective to the late Ed Higgins. Higgins, known as a pillar of the “Rivington School” movement in the 1980s Lower East Side, and for his unique “Mail Art,” died last December at […]