Note: This Guide is the intellectual property of the author (me) and is copyrighted. Thank you for respecting this by not copying and pasting elsewhere. :)
Last Updated December 16, 2012.
Urban Outfitters is the name of a company which manufactures and sells several different clothing brands. Urban Outfitters is the parent company for Anthropologie. Urban Outfitters owns Anthropologie.
Clothing that is sold in the United States may be granted a unique registration number by the Federal Trade Commission. That number is commonly called an RN number, and if you look at almost any piece of clothing that you own, an RN number will appear on the tag.
The RN number for Urban Outfitters is 66170. This RN number will appear on every piece of clothing produced by Urban Outfitters, whether the clothing is sold at Urban Outfitters, Anthropologie, or sold in other stores.
MOST of the time, Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters do not sell the same brands. There are a few exceptions. Seychelles (mostly footwear) is sold at both stores. Undrest (loungewear, intimates and swimwear) is sold at both stores.
When Odille brand was first produced, it was made by Ben Schwartz and sold to Anthropologie under the Odille brand and RN number 00481. Pieces with this RN number are authentic; they are also at least 10 years old.
Clothing sold at Urban Outfitters, though expensive, is typically not as expensive as clothing sold at Anthropologie.
Examples of brands produced by Urban Outfitters and sold at Urban Outfitters include (but are not limited to) the following:
Lux Lux Lux (discontinued in 2010 or so)
Kimchi & Blue (now Kimchi Blue as of 2010 or so)
Sparkle & Fade
Staring At Stars
*NOTE: I have received an email from an Ebay seller, telling me that she purchased LUX brand items at Anthropologie. I am 100% sure that Lux is NOT sold at Anthropologie. When I called Anthropologie customer service at 1-800-309-2500, the customer service rep I spoke with, confirmed that Lux is ONLY sold at Urban Outfitters, never the Anthropologie store (I believe the Lux brand has been discontinued altogether as of 2011).
Another Ebayer contacted me as she was selling a Lux dress that still had the Anthropologie hang tag attached. I checked and sure enough she did. It's quite probable that Lux is like Free People in that Anthropologie used to stock it at the Anthro store but now sells it at Urban Outfitters. If Anthropologie ever did stock Lux branded items, it's a brand they have discontinued from selling at the Anthropologie store, and as of 2011, from the Urban Outfitters store as well.
I invite you to call them yourself to confirm the accuracy of any of the information in this guide. :)
This is not intended to be a complete list of every brand Anthropologie sells. The information contained in this guide can help find out for yourself if your item was sold at Anthropologie. Please read it all the way through before offering your critique.
Fei (looks like a sprig of an herb or greenery, sometimes with the word FEI, sometimes not)
Sleeping On Snow
Monogram (often called HWR)
Little Yellow Button
Louie (I've never seen a Louie branded item that was anything but denim. Jeans, jean skirts, and denim tops, though I am told that they also make some casual items from canvas and other casual fabric).
Hand Knit by Dollie (we don't see this brand too often anymore, but there is at least one item currently being offered as of Fall 2011-Winter 2012, and that is the Back Roads Cardigan).
With the exception of pallet clearance sales and salvage sales of two or three-season old merchandise to buyers of discount stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshall's, these brands are never sold anywhere but the Anthropologie store. I mention this because you are never going to see a Lilka item at Nordstrom Rack, or a Louie item at Macy's, as you might with many other non-Anthro brands.
Older Brands, Catalogues, Resources:
Anthropologie items that are pre-2005 are very hard to identify as such. Not every Anthropologie item is included in the catalogue or sold on the website; some items are in-store only, and others are web only.
The older catalogues did not include the brand name of the item, so it is very hard for the casual consumer to determine if an older item actually was carried at Anthropologie.
For example, the brand Blue Angels was carried at Anthropologie pre-2005. It was mostly simple knit tops and camis. These lightweight, knit items would be 7 years old or older. It is difficult to imagine that any of these items would be in a wearable condition on the resale market today. But if you should find one, the only way to know if that SPECIFIC Blue Angels branded item was sold originally at Anthropologie, is to match the SPECIFIC item to a catalogue with that SPECIFIC item in it.
For example, the Cruise Camisole from 2004 is Blue Angels, and is Anthropologie. But the catalogs back then rarely included brand names. The reason I know the Cruise Camisole is that I was able to match it from an item for sale from an Anthro blogger, to a picture in an '04 catalog. I am sure there were other Blue Angels items, but I don't know what they were since the older catalogs don't specify brand.
Suffice it to say that information is often lost to the ages; Anthropologie and its historical inventory is no exception. For those who are interested in educating themselves about Anthropologie clothing items from a historical sense, Ebay is a great place to buy older catalogues.
I know of no be-all, end-all resource that will 100% of the time, know 100% of everything that there is to know about Anthropologie clothing. I have personally had Anthropologie items with the paper hang tag still attached, but which were so old that even the employees at Anthropologie's corporate office were not able to identify the style name nor when it was sold.
Salvaged Items VS. Overstock Items:
Overstock is simply overstock. TJ Maxx, Marshall's, Loehmann's, and other similar stores, buy overstock from "regular" stores.
Salvage is not the same as overstock. Items that are sold as "salvage" may or may not be damaged. In many cases, they are store returns that are lacking the original tags. Or, they may have some dust from being dropped on the dressing room floor. They may be missing a belt or button. They may be in perfect condition with no flaws at all other than missing the original paper hang tags. Most of the time, they are an overrun of a less popular item that the retail store simply was unable to move.
Brand Labels VS. Interior RN/Fabric Content Labels:
When overstock is sold to, say, TJ Maxx, they buy it in a large pallet at a certain pricepoint (say, $8 per piece). In almost all cases, the original paper hang tags are attached.
When salvage is sold to a salvor, they are sold for far less (say, $2 per piece). The salvor is required by the original store to remove all brand labels from the item before it can be sold.
Usually salvors cut them in half and remove the center portion of the tag. When this happens, if you're familiar with how a Kimchi Blue tag looks, or an Elevenses tag looks, you can still tell what the brand is.
Sometimes they miss an item, and there'll be a "salvaged" item with half a paper hang tag intact, or the interior brand label still sewn into the collar. However, the original RN/Fabric content label tag will ALWAYS still be attached.
Why am I making this disctinction, and why should you care? Because even without the brand label, a seller whose item is pictured with the 66170 RN number label in the auction, is probably selling authentic UO or Anthro branded items. And the seller who claims that the tag with the 66170 RN number on had to be removed for some reason, is probably not.
The consumer protection laws in the United States require that textiles, which includes linen, bedding, and clothing items that are sold "new" are required to have fabric content tags. This is why the RN number tag should always be intact inside of any NEW item you purchase on Ebay (or any other secondary-market source). And if it's got the 66170 RN number on it, that will confirm that the item was made by UO, and is an authentic product sold at either Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie.
EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE:
"Tabitha" is made by Beth Bowley. Tabitha is sold exclusively at Anthropologie. Therefore, although the RN number in Tabitha brand clothing is not 66170, it IS an Anthro-exclusive brand.
"Tiny" is made by Burning Torch. "Tiny" is sold exclusively at Anthropologie. Therefore, although the RN number in Tiny brand clothing is not 66170, it IS an Anthro-exclusive brand.
"Isabella Sinclair" is made by Trovata. "Isabella Sinclair" is sold exclusively at Anthropologie. Therefore, although the RN number in Isabella Sinclair brand clothing is not 66170, it IS an Anthro-exclusive brand.
"Lil" is a brand made by Australian designer Fleur Wood. Older Lil pieces do not have the 66170 RN number, but "Lil" is sold exclusively at Anthropologie.
"One.September" is a brand made by A Common Thread. The One.September brand is not owned exclusively by Anthropologie. However, their contract is for One.September to be manufactured for and sold exclusively at Anthropologie. As of December 2012, Anthropologie had no items of this brand listed for sale on their website.
"A Common Thread" is a brand of which Rozae Nichols was or is the creative director. Anthropologie has carried a few items by this brand in the past. "A Common Thread" is NOT exclusively sold at Anthropologie.
"Rozae Nichols" branded items have in the past been carried by Anthropologie. Rozae Nichols is by no means sold only at Anthropologie.
I once came across a very cute top. It had a tattoo print on the front that reminded me of Ed Hardy or Sailor Jerry. The brand name on the label sewn inside the top, was "Sparrow". The RN number was NOT 66170. Therefore, I knew this item had NOT been produced by Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters.
Then I came across a cute sweater with an unusual pocket placement. I could tell before I looked at the label that it was an Anthro item. Imagine my surprise when I looked and saw a "Sparrow" label. The label looked nothing like the one that had been inside the tattoo top. And the RN number was....drumroll...ting! 66170.
The first item, as it turns out, is a Sparrow brand of clothing that is produced by another company with a different RN number.
Lesson here---when in doubt, go back to the RN number. 66170 = Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie.
Is Sparrow brand clothing sold at Urban Outfitters? No. Is it sold at Anthropologie? Yes---but check the RN number on the tag to ensure it's the Anthropologie brand of Sparrow, and not the other company's brand. Anthropologie "Sparrow" brand with the 66170 RN number on the tag is sold at Anthropologie. The other company's "Sparrow" brand, with a different RN number than 66170, is not sold at Anthropologie.
Ruth brand clothing is sold at many places. It is not exclusively to Anthropologie. As of January 2012, there are two dresses being offered at Bluefly. In the past, it has also been sold at Nordstrom. There have only been a small handful of Ruth brand items carried at Anthropologie within the past several years. It was sold there primarily from 2002 through 2004. Unless you have a catalogue with that particular Ruth brand item identified in it, or unless it's new with an Anthropologie tag attached, there is no way to prove that a Ruth brand item was sold at Anthropologie.
Free People is manufactured by Urban Outfitters and it is sold everywhere. Free People has a 66170 RN number on it.
It is sold at Urban Outfitters. It is sold at Nordstrom. In the past, it was sold at Anthropologie.
Free People is not an Anthropologie-exclusive brand. It's beautiful. It's expensive. It's produced by Urban Outfitters, the parent company for Anthropologie. But it is not currently sold at Anthropologie.
NOTE: I have been contacted by a fellow Ebay member who worked at Anthropologie for years. She states that Free People was removed from Anthropologie's inventory in 2004. Since 2004, it has been sold at Urban Outfitters, Nordstrom, and other stores. It is no longer sold at Anthropologie.
If you buy a Free People branded item on Ebay with the Anthropologie hang tags still attached, it is likely old stock that is from 2004 or prior.
Free People also has its own store chain. You can find out more about this at freepeople dot com.
It is keyword spamming to use Free People along with Anthropologie in the title of an Ebay listing unless that item is an older-stock piece at least 5 years old with the Anthropologie paper hang tag still attached.
Q. Why is it considered keyword spamming to use Free People Anthropologie in the title of an auction?
A. Because although Free People is manufactured by the company which owns Anthropologie, it is not actually sold at Anthropologie.
NON-EXCLUSIVE BRANDS SOLD AT ANTHROPOLOGIE, URBAN OUTFITTERS, AND ELSEWHERE:
Both Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters stock several brands that are not produced by Urban Outfitters, and which are not exclusively sold at Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.
For example, Urban Outfitters sells Volcom, Nike, Lacoste and Betsey Johnson products in their store. All of these brands are owned by other companies; Urban Outfitters is merely the merchant selling them, the way that Foot Locker sells Nike shoes, or Neiman-Marcus sells Lacoste shirts.
Anthropologie either sells now, or has sold in the past, brands from various manufacturers such as Anna Sui, Tracy Reese (Plenty and Plenty Frock), Splendid, Ann Ferriday, Tibi, Weston Wear, and Velvet or Velvet by Graham & Spencer and Samantha Treacy.
Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters, have, over time, sold literally hundreds of different brands that are not produced by them. Some designers, such as Anna Sui, are favorites that return year after year with new products. Other designers, such as Ann Ferriday, have only designed a few pieces that Anthropologie sold. Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters do not own these brands. These labels are also sold at places like Nordstrom and Neiman-Marcus.
So how do you know if your item is produced by Urban Outfitters/Anthropologie? You look at the RN number. If the RN number is 66170, then your item was produced by Urban Outfitters, the company that owns the Anthropologie store chain and makes clothing for both Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.
*Any item with an RN number of anything other than 66170 on it, is not made by Anthropologie/Urban Outfitters. (see Exception list above!)
And how do you know if the non-66170 RN number item you're thinking about buying, was originally sold at Anthropologie?
You don't. And you can't be sure that it ever was, unless the original Anthropologie hang tag is still attached, or unless you have a back issue catalogue with that item in it. Note: Anna Sui, Sonia Rykiel, and other designers who design specific pieces for Anthropologie, will generally have their brand name and "for Anthropologie" on the inside brand label. Obviously if it says "For Anthropologie" after the brand name, on the interior tag, it's safe to say that piece from that designer was sold exclusively at Anthropologie.
SEE PART 2