For US, 2019 was, in a word, major. It wasn’t always easy — in fact, sometimes, it was quite the opposite. Late nights, last minute changes, inventory gone wild; we dealt with all of it. Honestly, the wins far outweighed the losses, and for the most part, we hardly remember the pain points. What we do remember, though, are the incredible moments we experienced as a brand, as a team, and as a community. Here are our top 10 favorite moments of 2019 (in no particular order, because we love them all equally).
1. adidas x Universal Standard
In early 2019, adidas reached out to US to collaborate on an activewear collection. Working together over the better part of the year, we helped adidas expand their size range via a collection of high-performance, high-quality activewear. The reason the collection felt so special was because we weren’t asking women to change, or become better athletes. Instead, we wanted to meet them where they are — wherever they are. Now, adidas has committed to keeping their apparel available in a wider range of sizes, standing with US to create a more inclusive future for sportswear.
2. Reimagining the Retail Experience
In the current fashion and retail landscape, opening a single brick and mortar space is a risk. In 2019, we opened five. Of course, our 1:1 spaces aren’t your typical brick and mortar spots. We created a space where shopping could feel more intimate — instead of just a transaction, we’re using the spaces to strengthen our community. Yes, you can shop while you’re there, but you can also experience solo or group styling appointments, attend community and brand-led events, or host your own events for free. Portland, Houston, New York, Chicago, and Seattle: we’re here, and we can’t wait to meet you.
3. A Journey Into Leather
In 2019, we entered into a new product category: leather. We released our boots, the Porto and the Lisbon, both of which have details that set them apart from any other premium leather boot on the market. We also released our most premium item to date: the Leeron Leather Moto Jacket. In 2019, leather was a vibe.
4. Becoming the Most Inclusive Brand in the World
In 2019, our dream of being the most inclusive fashion brand in the world was realized. Now, everything — yes, everything — on our site is available in sizes 00-40. Following that moment, we launched See It In Your Size, a tool that shows you exactly what our clothing looks like on bodies across our entire size range. We refer to this step forward as revolutionary inclusivity — but at its core, it’s really just the foundation of who we are as a brand.
5. Rodarte x Universal Standard
We’ve always wanted to lead by example in the fashion industry, and collaborating with luxury fashion house Rodarte was one of the ways we did so in 2019. When it comes to high-end designers, few are actually size-inclusive (or even offer sizes beyond 00-8). With Rodarte x Universal Standard, we were able to work with Rodarte designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy to democratize high fashion, from design style to price point to size inclusivity, while staying true to our point of view and overall approach as a brand. Plus, the campaign imagery was absolutely out of this world.
6. Redefining What Workwear Actually Means
The Universal Standard office in New York City is populated with discerning, tough, whip-smart feminist women. So imagine our joy when, in fall 2019, feminist author and professor Roxane Gay agreed to be a part of our workwear campaign. Working with and dressing her was an honor; her thoughts on professionalism and acceptability and size resulted in one of our most popular journal articles of the year. The campaign also featured three other incredible women — Jolie Hunt-Potter, Willa Bennett, and Celine Semaan-Vernon, who we got to dress, know, and be inspired by. It was so much more than just blazers and trousers; it was the chance to tell their stories, and we’re so grateful we got to do it.
7. Planned Parenthood x Universal Standard
2019 was a year of firsts, including our very first sample sale. But for US, it wasn’t just about incentivizing people to shop. In the current political climate, when many of our rights to our own bodies feel threatened, we felt it was imperative to take a stand and support Planned Parenthood via donating 50 percent of the profits from our sample sale. However, we were still able to raise over 130 thousand dollars for Planned Parenthood to assist in their mission.
8. Flipping the Script on Maternity Clothing
In the earlier days of the brand, we launched Fit Liberty, an exchange program that allows you to return your clothing for new pieces within a year if your size changes. This year, we were able to expand on that idea with Fit Liberty Mom. We saw Fit Liberty Mom as a solution to the problem of having to shop for dedicated maternity clothing. The pieces included in our FLM program aren’t even maternity — just regular Universal Standard clothing that you can exchange when your size changes. Luckily for us, we were able to partner with a very pregnant Danielle Brooks for this initiative, and she gave us a beautiful, extremely real interview on the experience of shopping (and TBH, just existing) as a pregnant mom. It was one of those moments when everything — our message, the face of the campaign, the clothing — came together perfectly.
9. Our Holiday Campaign
We shot this in December 2019, our last major editorial shoot of the year. Yes, there were some new launches included in the campaign (velvet suits, anyone?) but it wasn’t really the clothing that made this one of our favorite moments of the year. Instead, it was the experience; our team, models, and crew all headed up to Cornwall-on-Hudson, New York, and spent a rainy Friday shooting at an incredible old farmhouse. Nothing particularly special happened, but it reminded US how brilliantly talented everyone in our brand circle is, and the kind of magic we can make when we all work together. Yes, this is the cheesiest thing we’ve shared with you all year. No, we are not sorry.
10. The Subway Campaign
2019 was the year we wanted to drive home our overarching mission; that is, make fashion more accessible, and make fashion imagery that turned aspiration into something more strongly rooted in authenticity. Our subway campaign was the manifestation of that idea. Members of our team spent two weeks recruiting people on the train while they were commuting — 26 in total, all of them with totally different looks, experiences, and backgrounds. The campaign highlighted regular people doing something totally mundane; but through the lens of our brand mission and photographer Ronan McKenzie, they all became extraordinary. We put those images were on massive billboards in Times Square, a not-at-all-low-key sign to the world that every and any person is worthy of being exalted and celebrated in spaces usually reserved for industry convention.