Last Thursday I attended the press launch for Urban Outfitters’ latest new store, in Nottingham, The Victoria Centre. I was so, so excited to go – despite the 6am start *ouch* – and travelled up with Chloe and Hayley, accompanied by a McDonalds breakfast, cookies and a Starbucks each! When we got to the store it had been opened just for the press, and the staff and head office crew were also there working frantically to get the store ready for the public opening later that night. After being presented with lovely refreshments we were given free reign of the store, where we could get up close and personal with the stock, drool over the amount of sequins, glitter, leather and fur, and photograph EVERYTHING.
I used to work as a brand manager for a chief high street retailer, managing a team of visual merchandisers, so I was used to store launches. Although its been five years I was instantly taken back to the panic, stress, adrenaline and real excitement you get when you’re perfecting a store for its launch day, especially from a visual point of view. Knowing that everything looks amazing; sharp, tidy and tempting, is what makes the job so worth while. I miss doing it so much and I was very jealous of the staff working that day. They were working hard but obviously having so much fun!
The store itself had that typical Urban Outfitters style; reclaimed or salvaged materials are used to form the shop furniture, creating an instant visual urban grunge style. This matches the clothes and the customer type; edgy, unusual, creative and uninhibited. The interior walls have been left bare, as they were when the store structure was built; before being adorned with shelving and rails to display the clothes. I much prefer this then the acrylic white boards mainstream fashion shops use, it makes the place seem exclusive; you instantly forget that Urban Outfitters is a chain, instead it seem like you’ve stumbled upon an exclusive boutique of treasures.
UO press launch material:
“Housing the most up-and-coming designer brands: Eleven Paris, Obey, Blood Brothers, Dr Denim alongside in-house designed product, home and media collections. Urban Outfitters Nottingham opens onto women’s, Urban Renewal, shoes and home on the ground floor whilst the basement floor features men’s, Urban Renewal and our growing vintage offering,”
I took over 145 photos, which I’ve managed to limit to 75… so this bit of the page might take a bit of time to load, but its worth it!!
First up ..a snapshot of the store interior, look out for hard working staff, amazing use of wall space and prominent key items:
Secondly.. because of my visual merchandising background mannequins always grab my attention, the good and the bad.. luckily at this launch every mannequin was spot on. They were all wearing layered products, accessories, jewellery and shoes, as well as being posed in fun human tableaux, rather then standing blandly in the same direction, in the same pose, like a line of clone robots!
Thirdly.. Under my very eyes this amazing artist took a plain chipboard table and created this fabulous work out art! See more of his work here
Forthly.. the store had been lovely, spacious and peaceful…and then the public arrive
Urban Outfitters had mentioned they were giving us bloggers a free gift; now I expected maybe a tote bag with some vouchers and a nice shiny biro… I was so wrong!! As well as giving us a press discount of 30% off every item (I did a lot of christmas shopping!!) The fabulous organisers also allowed each of us to choose and take home one item from the shop! How on earth did we choose?! Well, it took two hours, a lot of debate and trying on until we all settled on lovely new winter coats. Mine was this amazing vintage leather jacket, I’d asked for one for Christmas so Father C isn’t too happy with me, but I’m sure I’ll think of something else for him to track down:
I cannot believe how generous Urban Outfitters were, they truly are an amazing company and this is an amazing store! If you live nearby please go and visit, and let me know what you buy!