Urban Outfitters is one cool as hell place. At least that’s what they want you to think. Selling all the latest trends from hipster to skater to nerdy to arty, they’ve got it all…
You want a selection of cool middle-of-the-range brands with tongue-in-cheek slogans slapped across the front in french? They’ve got it.
You want the whiney indie band soundtrack as you shop? They’ve got that to.
How about some fun gift ideas for you and your hipster friends? Yep, you guessed it – they’ve got ’em.
In fact there’s only one thing missing at Urban Outfitters and that’s originality.
It just feels like we’ve seen this a hundred times before. It’s not that the clothes aren’t bang on trend, or that the bands they play aren’t good, or even that their selection of gifts aren’t interesting cos they actually are quite fun! It’s just an ongoing issue I have with this place that it thinks it’s much better than it really is. I feel like they rely on the word ‘cool’ way too much. And I feel like a complete hypocrite because I do pick up the odd item of clothing from them from time to time. Urban Outfitters is just one hell of an annoying store. Even looking at these photos I took whilst visiting annoy me.
There are however a couple of positive aspects to about Urban Outfitters that should not be overlooked. One being what they call the Urban Renewal section. This is where the kindhearted people at Urban Outfitters Inc take old battered secondhand items of clothing and turn them into a new wearable garment that still has those grand old features of the ruined one. A rebirth of style if you like. Ignore the fact that they charge ridiculous amounts for this ‘green’/’vintage’ service and it’s actually quite a swell little idea. The leather jackets, denim shirts and farmer coats are all restored to their former glory, ready to be worn by every young East Londoner in town so you and your hipster friends can all look exactly the same. How cool’s that?! Okay, I’ll stop with the sarcasm now.
The other thing I quite enjoy about Urban Outfitters is the way they promote different types of photography like no other store I know. Walk in to any of their shops and you’ll immediately notice the wall of literature, music and photography. If you ignore the annoying pretentious coffee table books and that hideous array of overpriced headphones, your eyes will fall upon a surprisingly impressive collection of cameras. Fantastic Diana F+ cameras with the old style attachable flashes, plus Lomography fisheye cameras in creamy pastel colours and fun compact sizes. Great investment pieces for the wannabe photographer and experimental art student out there. Nice one Urban!
Dear Urban Outfitters,
Sorry for being so harsh. It’s not you, it’s me.
You’re not all that bad really. I’ll still pop by sometime and see how you’re doing.
COS stands for Collection Of Style.
It’s a new fashion concept brought to you by those clever folks over at H&M which provides contemporary yet classic designs at a decent respectable cost. If H&M is the unpredictable (and often stylishly challenged) younger brother, then COS is the modern and sophisticated older sister. Finally somewhere that really does brings high end quality designs to the masses at acceptable prices, and doesn’t feel the need to apologise for it’s stark simplicity.
Situated on Long Acre in Covent Garden, COS also has stores on Regent Street as well as three other stores in London. From the outside the building is modern and chic with high full fronted glass windows allowing you a peek into the stores warm golden glow inside – a wonderful attraction, especially on a wet rainy London day. Once inside, you see that COS manages to create a space that is both beautiful and efficient. They have managed to make a large store with many hundreds of items of clothing seem like a unique and exclusive boutique.
The two spacious floors are adorned with neatly presented racks of gorgeously understated colours and of course lots and lots (and lots) of black. The modern city professional would have no trouble picking out a stylish alternative for the office here. Never too overcrowded and always a relaxed, sophisticated atmosphere, the store offers womenswear on the ground floor and a mixture of menswear and more womenswear on the upper floor. Helpful, friendly and stylishly dressed staff float about the racks, always on hand if you require help but never in your way making for a more than enjoyable shopping experience.
With the new Fall/Winter 2010 collection having just arrived on the racks, COS is currently lavished with beautiful beiges, soft muted oranges, expensive navys and a delicious selection of accessories that just make the customer want to pick everything up and give it a squeeze. And that’s what’s so great about COS – when you do delve in for a bit of a cheeky feel at closer inspection you won’t be disappointed. High quality clothing at these sorts of prices are hard to come by these days. Think strong structural designs and clean minimal lines that compliment the body and create a fabulous silhouette in precious fabrics including leather, lace and cashmere. Prices range from £45 for a jumper/shirt to £190 for a beautifully made coat or dress that will take the young city girl or guy from office to cocktails with ease.
It’s so refreshing to walk into a high street store and not see every item of clothing completely massacred by some hideous logo or garish embellishment. This is H&M for grown ups people. Clearly a lot of thought has gone into the visual merchandising of the COS brand. It has its very own recognisable identity but doesn’t shove it down your throat. (Just check out the impressive website for confirmation of just how cool COS is.
For me, COS is much more high end than it is high street, and stands far from other existing high street stores. The real success here is the simplicity of the clothing. You can pay COS a visit and know you’ll walk out with a great staple piece that will be a permanent fixture in your wardrobe and carry you through from season to season without falling to pieces or breaking the bank. All rather surprising really what with it being owned by H&M. Bravo.