Free People

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This article is about the brand. For free people of slave classes from the Americas, see Free people of color.
Free People
Industry Retail
Founded  1984 (1984-MM)
Founder Dick Hayne
Products Apparel, Accessories, Shoes, Intimates, Swimwear
Services Apparel & Fashion
Parent Urban Outfitters
Website ,

Free People is an American bohemian apparel and lifestyle retail company that sells women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, intimates, and swimwear. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Free People is a part of Urban Outfitters, Inc.. The brand is distributed globally via direct channels, including the Free People Global site and Free People UK site, as well as specialty clothing boutiques, top department stores, and the brand’s free standing retail locations in the U.S., Canada and Japan.


In the early 1970s, Dick Hayne opened a store in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with his first wife, Judy Wicks, and named it Free People. His store attracted the young people who lived and shopped in the area. When his store’s popularity grew, he opened a second store and he changed its name from Free People to Urban Outfitters.

Urban Outfitters’ business began to grow rapidly. Dick’s wife, Meg, oversaw the development of Urban Outfitters’ private label division, which supported product exclusive to Urban Outfitters. This proved to be quite successful, so in 1984 they decided to create a wholesale line, which they ultimately named “Free People.[1]” The brand was sold in department stores and small boutiques across the country.

In 2001, Meg and her team determined that it was time for Free People to shed its junior image and to evolve into a more contemporary brand that would cater to women in their 20s who wanted to find fashion forward, uniquely styled clothing. Today, with three wholesale showrooms in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, Free People is selling in over 1000 specialty stores worldwide. Additionally, Free People product can be found at many different online retailers.

In the fall of 2002, the first Free People Boutique opened in Paramus, New Jersey. The boutique was decorated with brightly quilted chairs, intricate seasonal displays, and handmade fixtures. Their goal was to create an environment that would inspire their customers with both unique product and a serene atmosphere. Currently, Free People has over 81 Boutiques in the US and 2 in Canada.

In October 2004, Free People launched its website.[2] The site has grown to host a multitude of products, including items from outside vendors like Jeffrey Campbell Shoes to accessorize Free People's apparel. In July 2009, they began shipping internationally and currently their website ships to 132 countries worldwide. In November 2012 Free People launched their first international website,[3] targeting customers in the United Kingdom.

Additionally, in 2006 Free People began a company blog.[4] Free People also maintains profiles on social networking sites such as Facebook,[5] Twitter,[6] YouTube,[7] and Tumblr.[8]

BLDG 25 Blog[edit]

The Free People company blog was started in 2006, and is not only a blog supporting the store, but expands on the culture and lifestyle that Free People promotes. The blog is updated daily and the posts are split into 8 different categories; Fashion, Music, Beauty, Food, DIY, Decor, Inspiration, and FP Me. In the music category, one can catch up on recent concerts, music festivals, and find new up and coming bands. The fashion category focuses on trends, dressing for the weather, and fitting the 5 different customer types. The beauty section features posts involving natural beautifying techniques, hair styles, make up trends and product reviews. Recipes for natural, healthy cooking can be found under the food category. Many of the recipes are targeted towards customers with specific dietary restrictions, such as gluten free or paleo. The DIY category is where you can find ideas of crafts, homemade decor, and even pretty gift wrapping techniques. The decor tab takes readers into the homes, offices, and closets of people on the Free People team and people who relate to the brand. The inspiration page offers readers tips on how to live a happy, balanced, and healthy life. The blog offers horoscopes, inspirational quotes, and interviews with models, Free People staff, and whoever else may lend an example to living a wholesome life. The FP Me feature is relatively new, offering customers a chance to showcase their own personal style by creating a profile and posting pictures of how they wear and match Free People products. The blog also features an FP Me user each week, highlighting their style and life.

In early 2010, Free People identified five different customer types: "Meadow" the bohemian customer, "Candy" the girly customer, "Ginger" the body-con customer, "Lou" the tomboy customer, and "Sandy" the beach customer.[9]

In 2013, Free People produced its first short film. Titled "Roshambo",[10] the film follows actor Christopher Abbott and model Sheila Marquez in a chance meeting on the streets of Brooklyn. The film is slated to be the first in a series of brand-oriented short videos produced by the company. Since, the blog has expanded its videography and has posted other short films, how to's, and interviews.

Additional lines have been developed within the Free People brand, including “Intimately FP," "FP Beach," “We The Free," and "New Romantics." "Intimately FP" contains a variety of bandeaus, bralettes, slips, and undergarments. FP Beach is a more casual concept with emphasis on basic shapes with a twist. We The Free was launched to target Free People’s tomboy customer.


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