Urban Celebrity to close

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Today online streetwear retailer Urban Celebrity contacted their vast customer base this afternoon via email and announced they are closing 30th April 2020. The email confirmed that the Directors of UC Clothing LTD blamed the decline in the retail sector and that a final closing down sale was now on.

Importantly, they also stated that gift cards would no longer be valid from this date, but that they would still accept refunds in line with distance selling regulations.

The demise has not come as a shock to regular shoppers at Urban Celebrity as the site brands has declined to just a hand fall as the big names clothing brands were no longer stock. But what went wrong for the urban wear fore-runner? We tasked writer Chloé Safilo to find out.

Who are Urban Celebrity?

Urban Celebrity is the trading name of UC Clothing LTD based in Kendall, Cumbria. And what makes the Lake District such a hotbed of fast fashion exactly with 11 Degrees also being born there? Well more on that later.

Urban Celebrity was set up in 2010 by Andrew Hayton as an online clothing retailer, stocking just Reem Boutique. in 2011 they extended to have streetwear brands like Religion, AMH, Eleven Paris and Pearly King. Later they brought onboard bigger names like Judas Sinned, Good for Nothing, Dead Legacy and Friend or Faux.

But it was in 2013 when they brought on Sik Silk that the urban wear landscape changed forever. The Scarbrough brand grew into mainstream fashion thanks to Gary Beadle of Geordie Shore, and in early 2014 Gaz Beadle and Andy Hayton started up 11 Degrees.

Stocking arguably the two biggest urban brands must have really increased the websites traffic and sales, so it’s surprising to see that the original Urban Celebrity Clothing LTD went into liquidation owing large sums of money to HRMC and the brands they stocked.

Steve Kitchen who was running their Digital Marketing joined Andrew as UC Clothing LTD took its place in the background and the website continued as before. Any Fashion Brand worth their salt wanted to be on Urban Celebrity, and it’s sales surpassed all other rivals in that sector. With every brand wanting to be on there, and all streetwear fans flocking to buy, Urban Celeb was flying. So much so, that opening a physical bricks and mortar store seemed a logical step. And their flagship store in Kendal was opened in 2016, rented from JD sports, and the accounts were very healthy.

What went wrong for Urban Celebrity?

It would appear April 2019, JD Sports were not happy that the shop rent went unpaid and placed a charge on the company and put directors on the board. But this also meant that they became the first retailer to stock the (also JD owned) Couture Club.

Clearly the cracks started before that, and you could point to a general decline in the urban fashion scene. Rumours were that like in the past, Urban Celebrity owed the brands a lot of money. As such, both Sik Silk and 11 Degrees took their brand off Urban, and their firm grip on the market was beginning to break.

In truth, the streetwear market was flooded by many poor imitations hoping to recreate the top label’s success. And the consumer base grew tired of the same identikit big logo brands with similar designs. I do feel this contributed to its sad demise.

Over the last year rather than keep it running, it seems JD Sports were happy to let the brands drop one by one until it was a shadow of its former self. I suspect that they would rather see it stop trading than being revitalised by a competitor, so are covering the current debts. Either way, they are ceasing trading and officially closing down, likely to be kept to monitor the urban clothing scene.

What alternatives are there to buy Street Wear?

With a lot of clothes stores closed with the coronavirus pandemic, Footaslyum has closed their online store too, although this is believed to be temporary. You can see our list of retail stores here.