Friday Fashion Trend #16 – Free People
For today’s FFT, I will once again be talking about a company, rather than a specific trend. I will also be dividing this post into a two part post. In Part One, I will be discussing the company and the history of the company, as well as why I am dedicating a FFT on the company. In part two, which I will post tomorrow, I will be talking about the different items that I got, as well as why I got them.
Like I mentioned above, the company that I want to focus on today is “Free People.” According to Wikipedia, Free People is an American Bohemian apparel and lifestyle retail company that sells women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, intimates and swimwear. With headquarters located in Philadelphia, Free People is part of the Urban Outfitters Inc. (UO), which also includes Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. Free People is also the only brand in the UO company that sells clothing exclusively designed for Free People and under the Free People label.
Free People first started as a store opened up in the 1970s by a young man named Dick Hayne. Located in Philadelphia, PA, the store quickly grew, and the name was later changed to Urban Outfitters. Later, Dick’s wife Meg came on to tend Urban Outfitter’s private label division, which supported product exclusive to Urban Outfitters. Demand was huge and so Dick and Meg decided to create a wholesale line, which was named Free People in 1984. Originally, the brand catered more to younger teenage girls, but in 2001, the company decided to take the brand into a different direction. Free People clothing is now a more modern boho-chic/free spirit line of clothing, catering more to women in their 20s and early 30s. Most of Free People’s clothing consists of floaty, drapey tops, crochet-knits, and tie dye dresses, which is incredibly apparent the moment you walk into a Free People boutique.
So why did I choose to devote this week’s Friday Fashion Trend to Free People? This is because earlier today I attended the Grand opening of the Free People store at Bridgewater Commons Mall, and let’s just say I purchased so much clothes that I will probably be eating ramen noodles for the rest of this month, as well as the month of May.
I have actually always been a fan of Free People clothing. I remember the first time I shopped at a Free People boutique was when I was in high school. My parents had taken me shopping at Short Hills Mall, which set itself apart from other malls in that it is one of the only malls in NJ that features international and luxury retailers like Fendi, Chanel, and Hermes, and it is one of only to malls in America that features upscale anchors Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Saks Fifth Avenue under one roof. While shopping there, I immediately fell in love with a little shop called Free People, located on the first floor next to Bloomingdale’s. The window display consisted of a white bicycle with a wicker basket full of natural dried flowers. Garlands of flowers, twigs wrapped in yarn and other natural decorations hung from the ceiling. Right then and there, I knew I wanted to be a Free People girl. I don’t think I actually bought anything that day at the store. Everything in Free People was super expensive for a high school student who was only working 3-6 hours a week tutoring people at a tutoring company and only getting paid around $8 an hour. However, I vowed that I would save my money in the future and spend it on nothing but Free People Clothing.
I believe not long afterwards, Free People started selling their clothes in major department stores like Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, and Lord and Taylor, which gave me easier access to their clothing. However, many of the things carried in the department stores were different and not as nice as the things that were carried in the stores. Since then, many of the pieces in my wardrobe come from Free People or its sister stores Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters. My biggest problem with Free People was that in order to buy their clothes I had to either shop online (something that I try not to do because I like to try my clothes on before purchasing them) , shop their clothes in a department store (which usually doesn’t have any of the items that I want) or shop at their closest store in Short Hills (which is a pretty long drive).
However, now that Free People has opened their boutique in Bridgewater mall, you can be sure to find me browsing the racks there at least once a week.