So we were incredibly excited to go to the press launch of Urban Outfitters in Exeter yesterday before the store opened to the public in the evening.
We were filled in on how the UO team have worked diligently to restore and maintain the heritage of a wonderful building whilst simultaneously bringing it into the 21st century. Situated on the corner of the quirky Gandy Street (famous for inspiring J.K Rowlings Diagon Alley) UO Exeter have taken elements of it’s rich history and combined them with the art and style UO is known for.
They have stripped the interiors back to the original beams of the building, with some of the wall paper even being from the 1930s! Not only that but if you travel to the very top floor of the cavernous space you will find the dressing rooms have similar, if not identical, portraits to those on Gandy Street. To enter the rooms you literally open up the painting, which Anna and I thought was amazing – if a tad confusing!
Historic portraits aside you’ll also find stacks of books on modern fashion icons, artists and musicians – all positioned carefully next to a large shiny Apple mac. It is a clash of history, modernity and style that sets UO Exeter apart from other high street stores.
On each level you will find careful mixes of clothes (vintages styles, modern classics, graphic tees and new trends), niche books, accessories and homeware. It’s like walking into a very fashionable Aladdin’s cave.
It’s the little twists that really make this store great – for instance the fact that all the tables, shouldering sparkling rings and bright nail polish, are hand crafted by the UO team. And the fact that, instead of glaring baubles and offensive Christmas trees complete with fake snow pouring on them (like a certain Princesshay card shop), there are delicate little bells and kitschy reindeer antlers reminding us of Christmas.
In terms of the clothing…well, let’s just say our mental shopping lists were rather long by the time we left!
Ultimately Anna and I agreed that UO Exeter will be a great addition to the high street – it’s attention to detail, it’s consideration of local culture and it’s support of art and music just set it apart (oh and it’s clothes are okay too 😉 ).
Here are a few snaps (and some of our favourite items) from our tour:
The view of the downstairs floor facing towards the back
One of the upper levels featuring a great collection of homeware
Investigating the vintage section
The lower level (featuring some of the great building work)
The amazing portrait dressing rooms…
…right next to a shiny new apple mac!
The seating area next to the changing rooms (what we assume will be the ‘man zone’)
Now for some our favourite finds…
Gemma Correll (who razz interviewed in Issue 5!) now has her own line of tees
I am often guilty of gulping down a mountain dew in seminar breaks and I found my perfect lip balm…
…while Anna fell in love with these extremely sparkly socks!
We had a great time so thank you to Urban Outfitters and Exeter Phoenix for inviting us!
To see more photos of our tour head here.