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

Free People is an American bohemian apparel and lifestyle retail company that sells women’s clothing, accessories, shoes, intimates, and swimwear. Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Free People is a part of Urban Outfitters, Inc.. Today Free People sells their line in 1,400 specialty stores worldwide. 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, department stores, and the brand’s free standing retail locations in the U.S. and Canada.[1]


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".[citation needed] In the fall of 2002, the first Free People Boutique opened in Paramus, New Jersey. Since its founding the company has opened over 81 boutiques in the US and 2 in Canada.[citation needed]

Free People developed an app which allows users to shop and to upload their own looks and pictures wearing Free People clothing and products.

Along with serving as URBN’s chief creative officer, Margaret Hayne is also currently chief executive of Free People.[2]


In April 2016, the company was criticized for the advertisements of their new clothing line directed towards music festival attendees. The advertisements promoted Native American styled clothing on a Caucasian model, which garnered much negative attention on social media websites.[3][4][5][6]