Proud purveyors of all things a little bit eccentric, Urban Outfitters’ brand new Nottingham store was never going to open without a bit of a party. Hidden away behind luminous orange boards for months, the excitement surrounding this opening was quite something, and Urban Outfitters made sure (as they always do) that they launched with a bang.
As Thursday began, the shop prepared for opening, building up for Friday’s first trades with a press and blogger preview in the day, and a full on dj-filled party in the evening. Weeks of sneak peek tweets and tantilising instagrams had built a phenomenal sense of anticipation, and as the day-glow boards vanished to reveal the store in all its hipster glory, people stood gazing in at the distressed, deconstructed UO aesthetic, with some genuinely pressing their faces up against the windows – what other shop could engender such childlike excitement?
And so the press preview began. Pushing open the heavy brass handled doors, the shop’s serene appearance vanished, and we were faced with a hive of last minute activity – clothes being steamed, mannequins dressed and even some last minute construction work. The shop itself is a work of art, ranging over what was previously three stores.
The newly created space is huge, overwhelmingly so, covered in murals by local artists and filled with reclaimed furniture and other salvaged objects, including a vintage console arcade (quick break from shopping to play Sonic? I think so!).
The clothing is spread over two floors, racks brimming with velour, sequins, crop tops and vintage jumpers; a suspended staircase heads down to menswear, where is hidden the fantastically named ‘Vinyl Tap’ – a wall sized record shop offering such gems as Rod Stewart and Miss-Teeq.
Wandering through the enormous, near deserted store before anyone else was quite something, giving us the chance to admire the artistry of the store in a way that would normally be impossible.
For the press launch the store had put on a spread of pastries and juice, hiring in a vintage photo booth (which we took full advantage of, of course). But the real party began later. At 5pm queues snaked out and around the Victoria Centre as hoards waited for their first glimpse of this hallowed shop.
The newly created space is covered in murals by local artists and filled with reclaimed furniture and other salvaged objects, including a vintage console arcade.
Music reverberated through the store from the resident djs, the clientele buzzing as the staff handed out free beers, the photobooth boys (in their berets) snapped away, and downstairs a team of ‘tattoo artists’ methodically applied temporary tattoos to anyone who asked. To top all of this off was a piñata competition with the opportunity to win £500 of UO vouchers.
The staff were buzzing, the free beers flowing, and of course, the clothes flying off the shelves.
The evening progressed with no let up in the excitement; the staff were buzzing, the free beers flowing, and of course, the clothes flying off the shelves as the atmosphere kept the crowd hyped for all the shopping to come.
As the party came to an end, a trail of attendees in dungarees, beanies, high tops and button downs wound their way forlornly into the night, probably to return the next day to gaze once more at the pug adorned phone covers, leather trousers and books about Ryan Gosling. Not a bad way to start a tenancy.
Urban Outfitters in now open in the Victoria Centre.
Images: Harriet Brown and Jessica Roseblade