Do you love the vintage retro look? Or are you a big fan of alternative fashion? Then click here to discover five shops like Urban Outfitters.

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Urban Outfitters? Well, anything close to ‘edgy’ or ‘hipster’ and you’re on the right track. Since they first opened their stores in the UK in 1998, Urban Outfitters have been the renaissance of nostalgic 90s fashion, the outlet for bohemian vintage apparel and the pioneers behind alternative fashion. Make no mistake, there aren’t many shops like Urban Outfitters and they’ve carefully constructed their identity to make it that way.

Their stores have injected a sense of vibrancy into the consumer market by blending own-brand items with vintage classics, offering customers an exciting collection of garments that’s tricky to find elsewhere. Walking into one of their stores, it doesn’t take long to see that they’ve got a firm grasp on the hipster trend.

To begin with, there’s the grungy aesthetics. From the apparel to the furnishings through to the furniture - everything is more dowdy than gaudy. Then there are the scattered shards of vintage nostalgia that exist on every t-shirt, every record player and every accessory. If it was cool in the 90s, it’s cool now.



And then there’s their love for music that’s conveyed conspicuously from the second you walk into one of their stores. Quite often you’ll find a DJ with a neat set of decks, mixing a trendy range of house classics. Pretty cool right?

But if you had to look to other shops for alternative fashion statements, where would you go? A good question since there aren’t many retailers that symbolise the hipster subculture as successfully as Urban Outfitters.

Below we’ve composed a shortlist of five retail brands that you should check out if you’re a big fan of alternative fashion.

Anthropologie

There aren’t many shops like Urban Outfitters, but Anthropologie can arguably be seen as their closest relative. Both clothing stores are part of the URBN family and both share a soft spot for trend-forward apparel.



Even walking inside one of their stores, you can instantly see the link between the two - the metal shelving, the wooden floors, the exposed pipes running from floor to ceiling and the sporadic layout of beautiful random objects that you would never have thought of on your own.

Very similar, but not the same.

Firstly, Anthropologie are gender-focused, specialising in womens’ clothing and accessories. Their style differs as well, preferring a more polished look that attracts a more mature crowd of customers who were likely to be big fans of Urban Outfitters back when they were students.

University was all about questioning the norm, freedom of expression and Monday night Jager bombs. Well, graduation represents something entirely different, often beginning with a more sophisticated mindset and this is where Anthropologie perfectly fits in.

Their fashion represents this transition. Quaint but trendy, elegant but alternative, there is an added element of sophistication that distinguishes Anthropologie’s style from Urban Outfitters’. Graduates can still enjoy a range of edgy clothing and fashion statements without steering towards the conventional. Less loud, more quiet, totally sophisticated.

It used to be Monday night Jager Bombs, now it’s all about Monday night cocktails.

ASOS

ASOS have set the benchmark for online retail, paving the way for a new era of shopping. Their online stores offer a dependable mix of brands to supplement their own lines of trendy clothing. Although they might not be luminaries of the unconventional, they still offer a wide variety of indie, alternative styles.



Catering to both men and women, ASOS offer customers a more flexible range of clothes of different styles that attracts more than just the hipster subculture. They sell whatever’s trendy, alternative or not. Whether you’re looking for something bohemian or something with a nostalgic tinge, you’ll be sure to find it in ASOS.

Free People

There’s edgy, then there’s alternative and then there’s bohemian. Nothing communicates a revolt against the conventional better than stylistic flair, retro patterns and an exciting blend of bright colours. Free People have a close bond with their target market, who tend to be a free-spirited younger crowd.



Urban Outfitters are no strangers to the bohemian look and also include this style in their clothing range but perhaps not as enthusiastically as Free People. Both love alternative but they express it differently. Catering to women only, their clothes are inherently more feminine and this is expressed through artistic flair in their design.

Similar to Anthropologie, Free People also come from the URBN family, making it no surprise when you see their shared enthusiasm for alternative fashion. If you’re a fan of Urban Outfitters and a fan of anything bohemian then you’ll love Free People.

Topshop

From eclectic to pure simplicity through to edgy, Topshop offers a healthy mix of clothes, bags and accessories to female customers. Although not exclusively catering to the alternative fashion market, fans of Urban Outfitters often have a soft spot for Topshop.



Like Urban Outfitters, Topshop enjoys interweaving indie and pop culture into their garments, accentuating a bit of rock and roll into their identity. Incorporating music injects a youthful vibrancy into their brand that sometimes attract Urban Outfitters’ target market. And let’s not forget that everything is sold at an affordable price - always a winner.

They might not have the DJ mixing in the corner of the store or even the grungy hipster aesthetics but sure enough, they share a common enthusiasm for pop culture and a swipe at the conventional.

Nasty Gal

Exuberating confidence in all of their clothing items and accessories is Nasty Gal. Founded in 2006, the retail brand has experienced a meteoric rise to the top with it being crowned the ‘Fastest Growing Retailer’ in 2012. As the name suggests, Nasty Gal specializes in online fashion for women.



So what similarities does it have with Urban Outfitters? Well, they both love the 90s and anything vintage - a good start. Last year, Nasty Gal Vintage launched an exciting range of clothing that would fit in perfectly with the selection offered at Urban Outfitters. This consists of the hipster classics, including lace camisoles, classic denims, military sourced cargo tops and much more.

A love for vintage and an infatuation with 90s fashion instantly makes Nasty Gal a reliable destination for any female Urban Outfitter.

Final Thoughts

Since their rise to stardom, Urban Outfitters have successfully pioneered the hipster movement with their obsession to rebel against the conventional. This subculture that prides itself on quirky fashion statements, nostalgic trends and anything rock & roll is perfectly symbolised in every Urban Outfitters store.

Their customers are a directional crowd. They love art, honour music and idolise fashion of the past, oppose traditional lifestyles and careers and value irony. Everything is just different. Compared to other retail brands, Urban Outfitters offer a bit of everything in the alternative scene- streetwear, throwback Adidas jumpers, vintage classics - it’s all here.

Their unique stance on alternative fashion can make it difficult to find stores like Urban Outfitters but the fact that there’s a market for this trend has made other clothing stores chip in too. If you’re reluctant to stray too far away from the Urban Outfitters scene, then Anthropologie would be your number one destination. Anything loud and bohemian, Free People; edgy but safe, Topshop; confident and vintage, Nasty Gal; flexible with variety, ASOS.

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May 2020

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