Trend Alert: iets frans…

Trend Alert introduces you to the latest trends that are impacting the daily lives of 16-24s.

If you’ve been into an Urban Outfitters store lately, you can’t have missed the ever-growing presence of two strange words followed by an ellipsis: “iet frans…”. If you’re like most shoppers, you probably assumed this was a cool streetwear brand you hadn’t heard of. The colourful and baggy vintage style suggested it was an ‘80s or ‘90s brand having a comeback. That’s not actually true, but it’s exactly what Urban Outfitters want you to think.

Imitating vintage fashion has been key to Urban Outfitters’ rise as the high street/mall interpretation of hipster style. It’s also normal to find a mix of established names and own-brand clothing, with the careful curation of those familiar brands setting the tone for the store as a whole. However, the own-brand products didn’t typically come with prominent logos, until the emergence of iets frans…. 

Despite its retro style, iets frans… was in fact founded as an Urban Outfitters private label in 2017. A recent Vice article revealed that many young shoppers had no idea of its true origins, and were unimpressed to learn that the name “iets frans…” is Dutch for “something French…”. The similarity to trending streetwear brands like Fila and Off-White, combined with more affordable prices, goes a long way to explaining the sudden ubiquity of iets frans… among Gen Z.

Urban Outfitters is one of many businesses developing their private label strategy amid challenging times for the retail industry. This enables retailers to improve profits as they aren’t giving a cut to external brands. This works best for businesses that already have a large footfall or, in the case of ecommerce, reliable web traffic. For example, Amazon have seen success with private labels such as their bath and bedding brand Pinzon and cookware brand Stone & Beam. Target are also introducing new private labels regularly. Following the success of Urban Outffiters’ private label push, will we see more youth fashion brands taking the same step in 2020?

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