WWD EXCLUSIVE: American Eagle Outfitters’ Unsubscribed Opens Store in New York City

By: Kellie Ell | Link to article

Each store in the slow retail brand’s fleet is curated to include items specific to that area.

Unsubscribed is moving to Manhattan.

The slow retail brand — part of the American Eagle Outfitters family — is opening its first retail store in New York City on Thursday. 

Unsubscribed’s first store in New York City is located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

“New York City is a flagship destination and we just found this stellar location,” Jennifer Foyle, president and executive creative director of AE, Aerie and Unsubscribed, told WWD. “We knew that the product categories were right in the mix and the concept was right for this location. And we believe that there is still a demand for customers and experiences. There’s no question in my mind that there are still consumers out there who still want a beautiful retail experience and a shopping experience. And that’s what Unsubscribed is here to do. We want to please our customers who come into our brand.

“It’s a perfect little gem,” continued Foyle, who will be on location Thursday morning at 1190 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for the grand opening. “I cannot wait to cut the ribbon.”

Unsubscribed’s Manhattan store includes “little nods to New York City,” according to Jennifer Foyle.

The 1,300-square-foot space has Bespoke Patina mirrors, brass chandeliers, a vintage-inspired checkered floor board, grass cloth wallpaper, marble tabletops and pops of color amid clay tiles and wood tables, all to invoke a feeling of shopping in old New York.  

“And there are some cute little nods to New York City and that location,” Foyle said, although she declined to say what. “You’ll see. I just can’t share everything [before the opening].”

This is in fact part of Unsubscribed’s ethos. Each of the brand’s five locations — starting with East Hampton, N.Y., which opened in summer 2020, followed by Palm Beach, Fla., Westport, Conn., Greenwich, Conn. and now New York City — includes an assortment specific to that area, such as items by local artisans. 

“Every store feels different; each store feels defined by the location,” Foyle explained. “But we’ll always have some of our signature collection, because we believe to build a brand properly we always need signature categories, such as our washable silks and recycled cashmere. 

“But our concept in Unsubscribed — while we love the build-outs and we love the fixtures and we love the beauty of the spaces — we really want the product to sing,” she continued. “We want to make sure that when you enter our stores you see the product first. And then comes the beauty of the atmosphere.”

Slow retail brand Unsubscribed carries things like sustainable swimwear and recycled cashmere.

That product is what Foyle describes as “slow fashion” — or the opposite of fast fashion. Products that last longer and place greater emphasis on the production process. To do this, the brand, which launched an e-commerce site last August, slowed down its deliveries to seasonal, rather than monthly, which helps reduce its carbon footprint. Unsubscribed also tries to carry products that include some element of sustainability

“By no means are we 100 percent sustainable. But we have our eyes on that target,” Foyle said. “Certainly, there is a lot of mention about ESG and sustainability. It’s a big conversation in retail today and we believe this brand can participate. We love this concept of slow retail, not doing everything fast and furious. So certainly Unsubscribed is an avenue to do so and a brand that allows us to test and scale. 

“This is a little bit of a higher-end concept for our portfolio,” she said, adding that Unsubscribed’s core demographic is slightly older (partially because of the elevated price points) than that of the AE, Aerie, Todd Snyder and Offline brands, which tend to attract the Gen Z and Millennial crowds. “But because it’s a smaller operation, we can take some risks and learn. And when we learn from this smaller concept, we can apply it to our bigger brands.”

Inside Unsubscribed’s New York City shop.

Foyle wouldn’t divulge details regarding the brand’s financials, but did say she’s pleased with the results thus far. “We wouldn’t be opening up [a store on] Madison Avenue if we didn’t like what we saw.”

She added that Unsubscribed may expand with more stores in the future, but for now will concentrate on the current fleet. 

“We’re going to grow at a very slow and steady pace. We want to learn with these five stores as of right now,” Foyle said. “The beauty of this is that it’s a small concept, so we’re very flexible. We’re always open to new ideas and new spaces. Certainly, there’s opportunity to grow the digital channel. But right now we’re really focused on stores and engaging new customers and just delighting them every day.”