It's finally happened! Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters will open a Free People boutique at Lenox Square in Buckhead this July. Taking space most recently occupied by PH8, the short-lived re-branding of Bebe Sport, the space has been vacant since earlier this year.
I've said for months....no, years, that Atlanta was ripe for a Free People store and it's nice to finally see this store come to fruition. The line is not (totally) new to Atlanta. In Lenox, the line can be found in Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie as well as in both Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus.
Richard Hayne opened "The Free People's Store" in Philadelphia in 1970, but shortly thereafter re-named the store Urban Outfitters. With business going well and the brand expanding, Richard's wife Meg was tasked with creating a private label division to support products exclusive to Urban Outfitters. With the success of the private label division, the decision was made in 1984 to create a wholesale line: Free People. From then on the line was sold within Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie as well as in mid to high level department stores and smaller boutiques. Unlike Urban Outfitters which carries both men's and women's clothing, Free People is women's only. In 2002, the first Free People boutique opened in Paramus, New Jersey, and by the end of this year, there will be more than 50 locations across the country.
In case you're keeping track, there are now three Anthropologie , three Urban Outfitters and soon one Free People store in Atlanta. Most recently, Anthropologie added a Westside location in the Westside Urban Market on Howell Mill earlier this year, and Urban Outfitters opened in the former Z Gallerie at Perimeter Mall last year.
Word to the fashionistas on a budget: Free People can often be found at FOX'S on Roswell Road for significantly less than retail.