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Urban Outfitters Debuts Minimalist Line That’s Extremely Un-Fast Fashion

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Next time someone accuses Urban Outfitters of being a wasteful, reckless purveyor of cheap fast fashion, the company has a new comeback.

Urban Outfitters recently unveiled Rework, a new in-house line made from “limited runs of remnant fabric,” a.k.a. reused and recycled materials. Its first collection debuted this summer exclusively in London stores and on UrbanOutfitters.com/UK.

Blonde white model facing camera wearing plaid top and skirt with black tights
Tie Back Co-Ord Navy Plaid Top, £45
Model in organza sheer dress and black ankle boots
Turquoise Organza Shell Dress, £120

This means each piece is fairly exclusive, as well as what retailers today like to call “conscious.”

“Sourced and made in the UK, it’s a great way for Urban Outfitters to support local businesses and claim back accountability within the industry whilst creating aspirational and timeless clothing,” the company stated in a press release.

In other words, Rework is a direct rebuttal to retail’s fast fashion habit, which relies on massive shipments of cheap clothing, overseas outsourcing to the detriment local manufacturing, environmentally irresponsible practices, and a staggering lack of accountability for all of the above.

Blonde white model wearing black and navy outfit with black sandals
Black Crinkle Culottes, £65.00
Blonde model facing away from camera, wearing light pink tank and wide cropped jeans
High-Waisted Belted Blue Denim Wide-Leg Trousers, £75
Blonde white model in closeup wearing gingham short drress
Gingham Slip Dress, £65.00

The new line is similar to Urban Renewal, UO’s existing in-house line that focuses on up-cycled vintage. But where Urban Renewal consists of slightly tweaked shirts, dresses, and denim, the Rework collection is all new items, simply made of “remnant” materials.

And you can tell they’re new, given how on-trend the pieces are. There are cropped wide-legged jeans, a newly-stylish hoodie sweatshirt, and a black-and-white gingham slip dress that looks like it stepped right out of Taylor Swift’s closet during her bleached blonde Vetements phase. The minimalist frayed hems and warm neutral palette seem like an attempt at a counterpoint to Urban’s other aggressively fast fashion wares.

Which might be the point. With a fresh collection that “cater[s] for those conscious about the environment,” Urban Outfitters can inject something a little new and exclusive into the brand, which is flagging in sales and share price, while keeping the fast fashion wares that are its bread and butter.

White blonde model wearing oversized white shirt dress with black ankle boots
Longline White Shirt Dress, £80
White blonde model wearing oversized black drop-waist dress
Drop Waist Black Poplin Maxi Dress, £80

In the meantime, we don’t mind shopping the British-based Rework from overseas, thanks, to that ever sinking pound. Check it out at UrbanOutfitters.com/UK and keep your eyes open — Urban Outfitters tells us it may expand stateside depending how shoppers respond in the U.K.

Update: July 7, 2016, 9:27 a.m.

This post has been updated.