As many of you know — because this is you we’re talking about, after all — on any given day, roughly 65% of this site’s readership comes from page loads at the Urban Outfitters/Free People/Anthropologie/BHLDN compound down at the Navy Yard, or, as we like to call it, the Etsy Deathstar. (The other 35% is made up of self-hating Inky/DN/PhillyMag staff, hoping-against-hope publicists and civic policy wonks.) That Etsy Deathstar, though, is an amazing place to work. There, former artists only recently in their 30s assuage the guilt of having to, on a daily basis, steal the work of struggling independent designers by exercising in the staff gym, enjoying farm-to-table cuisine in the campus cafeteria, or taking a walk around the grounds. It is like a convalescence for those who have Lost Their Edge. (Oh, also, sometimes, James Murphy visits, too.)
And while it is, will always be, has to be an uncomfortable bargain with the Gods of Inspiration, good work is in fact sometimes done down there. Take, for instance, what should be regarded as a major breakthrough for the Free People staff: This printed Cat Teepee, retailing for $88. Now, for this discussion, let us appeal to our better angels and simply say, well, sure, at any given moment, there are only a handful of ideas in the world worth doing and this is not, in itself, a groundbreaking idea. Rather, what it is is a major advancement in self-actualization for the staff of the most staunchly Catholic of the Urban brands: This is who we are, the Printed Cat Teepee says. We are people who went to art school but who really loved compromise, but even more than that, we love our cats, and dainty hippie prints and oooooh, is that Pirate’s Booty?
The road to self-knowledge, surely, is long. But today at Free People, there is, for the moment, the peace of knowing what one is, and what one is not.