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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.
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.
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.
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.