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The Wal-mart for Hipsters

  • Dec 13, 2008
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Urban Outfitters is the equivalent of eating at Burger King for me. It feels great while I'm there, cheerfully snacking on my Chicken Fries and Icee, but afterwards I just feel ethically and physically wrong. Here's why: 

The Good
OU definitely does certain things right. It does a smart job of interpreting what the kids are into these days and offering these items up faster for consumption, with more variety, than any other retailer. 

The Bad
Unfortunately, their in-house brands (which I believe are Kimchi & Blue, Lux, Fairy Tales Come True, etc) exhibit some of the worst workmanship I've ever seen. They're pretty much H&M quality, but at jacked-up prices. $49.99 for that blouse that will only last one season? No, thank you! Almost everything from their in-house brands have fallen apart on me quickly. Either that or there's something wrong — the dye rubs off, or the buttons are too heavy for that thin faux-silk material. There's always something. 

Secondly, many of the designs of their in-house brands do steal from just-starting independent designers who haven't learned the business chops of trademarking their creations. Maybe it's a lesson in "All's fair in commerce and trends," but considering that the company is stealing from the creative-type consumers who actually shop there, it's a complete lack of respect. Remember those "I [heart] Sushi" or "I [heart] Pad Thai" T-shirts UO sold way back in early 2000s? Those designs originated with a one-woman 20-something designer who sold her totes and shirts on a website. I have no idea what's going on with her own.  

HOWEVER the exception to all my bitching here is that UO's capsule collaborations with up-and-coing fashion designers like Steven Alan, Charlotte Ronson, Cheap Monday, are actually fantastic. The quality of these collaboration pieces are great: better-than-average materials, thick cotton, sturdy construction. The one thing that's off is their sizing, but hey, my ego can take wearing a Medium. 

Lately, I've seen UO really diversify in carrying designs that aren't their in-house brands. BDG makes great cardigans, Cheap Monday makes great jeans, Frye makes fantastic boots.  If they keep this up, I'd shop there more. 
Urban Outfitters

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April 08, 2009
Oh god, I can't bring myself to shop at Urban anymore. I worked there for OVER a year; it was AWFUL.
January 05, 2009
I gotta say that although I don't shop there, they carry some neat stuff. And you're right, I've heard friends complaining about their in-house brands, too. But they're always packed, so they must be doing something right, lol.
December 19, 2008
Yeah, my thoughts exactly. Though I'm much busier these days, and can't afford the time to shift thru thrift stores. I think that's why a lot of my peers still go here.
December 19, 2008
Everytime I go here and think something is cute I just have to remind myself that if I were really cool I would take pride in thrift store hunting and indie boutique shopping. Then I remember that I'm broke, so it doesn't matter anyway. I also usually don't like the people that work here.
December 14, 2008
I know, if Anthro was just a tad cheaper they'd be the only store I would buy from. I love their unique vintage style.
December 13, 2008
Yeah, I have so much love/hate! I like Anthropologie, but it's always so expensive. They had this pretty seashell dress I wanted.
December 13, 2008
I'm not generally a huge fan of Urban Outfitters either; I tend to prefer their parent company Anthropologie. Their store design and set up is confused and lacks any real ambience. When I'm there I always think I should find something fantastic that "I just have to have", but I usually don't. Their music is often too loud and I agree, the quality of their product is questionable (lopsided cuts and strings hanging from every which end). That said, I just purchased a really cute and trendy leather jacket there for $128.00. So far, so good.
More Urban Outfitters reviews
Quick Tip by . October 05, 2010
I have seem some really cute items for sale there. They are expensive and the price/value ration is not commensurate. They have a few CUTE things and I'd be willing to buy a FEW of them for the stated price.
review by . February 18, 2010
Urban Outfitters is one of the few companies that has truly been able to perfect the balance of high design and low price.  College students tend to gravitate towards their clothing because they offer accessible fashion and unique pieces while still within the budget of a college student. Whether you have $300 to spend or $50 to spend on winter boots, your need can be met without compromise.  Their online store is also vast and there is something to be said for a site where you can find …
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
Heard they were great ,but never have shopped there.
Quick Tip by . June 08, 2010
Expensive but cute!
Quick Tip by . April 07, 2010
Love everything in the store but WAY too expensive for a college girl.
Quick Tip by . March 20, 2010
I like Urban for their cute, cheap handbags and floral dresses. They also have great gag gifts.
Quick Tip by . March 11, 2010
Urban Outfitters is every fashionista's go-to store here at UW-Madison! What's not to love?
review by . September 10, 2009
I'm so disappointed. I ordered a wall print from Urban Outfitters, and it got here last night.  I was looking forward to opening the package, but I was so let down and annoyed when it got here. It's ripped in three places, and it's absolutely filthy.  I mean it has huge big piles and streaks of dust and brown dirt all over it. It also smells mildewy.    It is the print "Migration" and I'm very disappointed in how it could have gotten shipped out to me with three tears …
Quick Tip by . August 21, 2009
I have a love/hate relationship with Urban Outfitters. So much cool stuff, yet seemingly so pretentious & pricey for what it is.
review by . April 08, 2009
I'm sorry to say that I worked at Urban Outfitters for over a year, working my way up to Cash Wrap Team Lead (that means I rang people up, and was in charge-ish of other people who rang people up). It was a TERRIBLE job.  Urban may retail to funky young things who nonchalantly tie their flannels around their waists, but the company is anything but cool. As an employee, you see the great corporate beast in action constantly. It ain't fun at 3:00am after a "perfect close" (i.e. fold …
About the reviewer

Ranked #83
I'm a curious foodie, a devout fashion gawker, and an unrepentant print nerd. I work at one of the last mainstream commercial magazines that's still printing.      Other things … more
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Urban Outfitters, founded in 1970 in Pennsylvania, also includes the retail brand Anthropologie, Free People, and Terrain and Leifsdottir (wholesale Anthropologie). 

In addition to stores across the United States, Urban Outfitters also operates in Canada, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Ireland.

Urban Outfitters is know for their  hip and ironic clothing, furniture and home decor. However, they have been criticized a number of times for merchandise they sell and also logos and signs printed on T-shirts they carry.  Products have been know to allege anti-Christianity (Jesus Dress up ornament), anti-Jewish/Israel ("Everyone loves a Jewish girl" shirt surrounded by $$ signs to reconfirm stereotypes, a shirt with a Palestinian child holding an AK47 over the word "Victimized), and pro violence (hand gun shaped ornaments).
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