A few months ago, I drove by a local Urban Outfitters midday and saw it was dark. I quickly googled Urban Outfitters and the name of the town I was in, and a few articles came up about how the store closed and that the retail space was up for grabs.
At the time, I was absolutely dumfounded as to how one of the most popular retailers among my peers could shut down in such a prominent location (the store was located on Greenwich Avenue, a very famous shopping “district” in the heart of Greenwich, Connecticut).
I forgot all about that until recently, when I started to read more and more about the death of hipster clothing. Although the topic is still up in the air, I have to admit that I sort of concur with this proposed shift in fashion and retailers.
Let me explain: Hipster fashion is supposed to appear effortless – often, it transcends beyond effortless and looks a bit “disgusting.” Yet, Urban Outfitters (and a few other stores) specialized in providing this grunge looking merchandise using (debatably) well made materials. However, these stores would do so at very high prices, thus, in my opinion, thwarting a large portion of their customer base. I presume the real hipsters, those who don’t think it is reasonable to spend $80 on a ripped, bleached flannel, turned to thrift stores or even DIY methods instead.
Those real hipsters distancing themselves from the store hurt the reputation of Urban Outfitters. Instead, the store would attract people like me: those who want some casual, laid-back pieces that are seemingly unique (despite the fact that they were mass produced – yet it is people like me who didn’t quite care about that fact). Or, perhaps worse for their image, they would attract the psuedo-hipsters. You know the ones: teens going to music festivals, anyone who needed a crop top and a pair of high wasted shorts in short notice, or those who decided to buy a record player in an attempt to seem retro and trendy.
Thus, the store lost its cool, laidback reputation. It became more wannabe and almost a caricature version of what it was supposed to be. Yet the prices kept rising – discouraging more and more people of shopping there.
This theory is just that: a theory. I have absolutely no way of knowing that this shift is occurring nationwide – I can only just assume this trend in customer behavior will continue to deepen until Urban Outfitters only has a sliver of the teen marketplace it had a year or two ago. It will be sad to see Urban Outfitters slowly die – somme of its merchandise maintained a sense of humor that no other store could ever replicate – but perhaps after all the controversy it has faced in the past, it is time for it bow out peacefully.
What do you think?