By Leila Brillson

Published on November 18, 2016

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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ

For fourteen years, ModCloth has helped pioneer e-commerce, firmly establishing itself as the go-to wallet-friendly and size-inclusive brand. Famously started in the dormroom of high-school sweethearts (who are now married, which is adorable), ModCloth’s particular vintage, feminine flair made it an easy, wearable bet for anyone hoping to channel their inner Zooey Deschanel.

Now, over a decade after the company committed itself to digital, ModCloth has decided to go old-school and start its first permanent brick-and-mortar location. (Last year, the brand experimented with store retail by launching the ModCloth IRL Tour, which headed around the country on a series of pop-ups, but this is its first venture into something non-transient.) But ModCloth’s decision to settle down isn’t what is interesting; it is the way in which it planted its new roots that seems exciting.

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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ

ModCloth has always stood for a few things: First, it was one of the first e-tailers to successfully use crowdsourcing. Shoppers could pick the items they wanted to push into production, or were able to send in photos of themselves in pieces (so other browsers could see how the item looked “on real people”), and has a vibrant, active commenting community. Secondly, the site has always been staunchly inclusive, with sizes ranging from XXS-4X. But even more importantly, the extended sizes live alongside “regular” sizes, because the brand didn’t view its curvy customers as being any different than those under size L. So, in order to truly incorporate the independent spirit of the brand, the store had to feel different.

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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ
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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ

Eschewing the NYC/LA dichotomy, ModCloth ditched the traditional “opening” cities for a hip section on 2nd Street in Austin, Texas. And, instead of being a typical store with back-stock, the shop acts as a sort of “showroom”, which allows women to try on their clothes, receive advice from a “ModStylist”, and browse one-of-a-kind local goods—all in the same place, no matter what their size may be. And in a few days, they get their goods delivered right to them.

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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ
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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ

ModCloth wins by not trying to just be a brick-and-mortar store—that has been done before. Instead, it took its reputation for innovation and inclusiveness and figured out how to put that into a real retail location. And, guess what? It worked.

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Photography by DIANA ASCARRUNZ

Visit the ModCloth store!

ModCloth, 200 West 2nd Street, Austin TX