Universal Standard, the inclusive fashion brand for all sizes, is back in the retail business with the opening of a by-appointment showroom in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood.
The company did experiment with showrooms that opened in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Houston and Portland in late 2019 but they were all quickly forced to close due to COVID-19. Universal Standard has done pop-ups in the past and continues to stage trunk shows, but the new SoHo showroom is the company’s one and only permanent retail space.
“The showroom provides a really high-scale experience to customers because it allows them to work with a stylist for an extended period of time. It’s a full-on styling experience. As a result, the average order value is much higher,” Polina Veksler, cofounder of Universal Standard, told WWD.
“It’s also much more profitable from a bottom-line perspective to do a showroom rather than ground-floor retail, but that’s not to say we won’t go into ground-floor retail at some point.”
The 3,000-square-foot Universal Standard showroom, opened Thursday, is located on the fourth floor of 192 Mercer Street, on the corner of Houston Street. Stylists are available for one-on-one and group appointments from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday, though the scheduling could change.
“We will be proactively emailing our customers to invite them to our showroom and encourage them to bring their friends,” said Veksler. Aside from the appointments, there will be specific special events, like sample sales, that will be open to the public without the need for an appointment, she added.
“We have sizes from 00 to 40. It’s the most inclusive sizing in the world,” said Veksler. “When we launched, our mission was to completely democratize the shopping experience so all people could have equal access to shopping and feel represented in the shopping experience.” Universal Standard was founded in 2015.
She said the showroom “conveys the essence of the brand — inclusive. It’s modern and very homey.”
The showroom has a communal lounge, custom artwork, large changing areas, and a kitchen for snacks and libations.
Aside from its expansive size range, the Universal Standard collection specializes in what Veksler characterized as “elevated essentials…It’s those everyday pieces you need in your wardrobe. Workwear, outerwear and denim is what we are known for.
“Most people when they shop Universal Standard online, they tend to buy the more conservative pieces, but in person, they often try on our more special luxe-like wrap dresses, leather jackets and bodysuits,” Veksler observed.
The New York-based Universal Standard sells through its own website, social media, as well as with trunk shows. The company is majority owned by Veksler and cofounder Alex Waldman. Other investors include Imaginary Ventures, Red Sea Ventures, and Tom and Ruth Chapman.
Appointments can be booked on the Universal Standard website or by phoning.