Let’s be honest. Summer has been a total dive this year. Only a couple of months left and we’ll be entering the season of bare trees, crispy days and even cooler nights – so not too far away from what we’re experiencing now, really. But every cloud has a silver lining… well, every October cloud anyway, because that’s the month when Free People, the quirky American clothing brand, launches its UK website.
According to their already established dot com website, the Free People brand caters to the woman in her mid-20s (26 years old to be precise) who is ‘creative, confident, and comfortable with all aspects of her being.’ So, she can be sweet as well as tough, adventurous but also romantic. She’s the kind of girl who’s not afraid to risk scarping her knee while climbing a tree and who wouldn’t fret over her image if spotted making daisy chains. That’s the kind of girl I aim to be. Well, I’ll be entering my twenty-sixth year in August and I have been known to make jewellery out of garden flowers. As for climbing trees… that’s on my ‘things to do before you get creaky knees’ list. Time is apparently running out, as the left one is starting to click already.
The story of Free People is one of growing success. Back in the 1970s, a young man named Dick Hayne opened a store and called it Free People. As Dick’s store grew from one to two, the name was changed from Free People to Urban Outfitters. With wife Meg on board to handle Urban Outfitters, Dick realised the demand was overwhelming and so they created a wholesale line. After various guises, which included Bulldog and Anthropologie, the line eventually went back to being called Free People as the name represented the traits that the brand invoked: femininity, courage and spirit.
The style of clothes on offer is quirky meets boho-chic. The aesthetic of the pieces is youthful and relaxed with a medley of prints and patterns, hues and silhouettes. The summer dresses and crop tops have a fresh and feminine look that practically have sunshine rays beaming out, evoking that positive summer aspect that we’re so desperately lacking.
Each month a unique collection is revealed, offering an eclectic mix of styles that are up-to-date and on trend. Key pieces for the collection out in September and October include a ditzy but tough-looking floral print and jean dress, a chunky knit cardigan – perfect for the in-between season’s breeze – and patchwork-style jeans. A fierce leopardprint jacket practically growls out from the rails while a floaty, folksy peasant-style dress will have the fingers of every Florence Welch wannabe pulsing, ready to click the ‘Buy’ button. You may even catch the songstress herself floating around in the outfit – Free People has a loyal celeb following; high profile model Karlie Kloss has profiled the most recent collection.
The bad news is you’ll have to wait until October for the .co.uk website to launch over on our side of the pond. Beyond that there are plans for distribution in leading department stores and fashion boutiques. For now, Free People is currently offering lower shipping costs to the UK from the .com website – a whopping reduction from $35 (£22.50) to just $7.95 (£5.00). It’s not free, but that’s really rather splendid.