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Send me a Textile: Nuuly clothing-subscription name review

By Alex Kelley

July 18, 2019

If you are into (or just currently in) clothes, you may want to try this on for size: Urban Outfitters, Inc. (UO) has just launched Nuuly, a clothing-subscription service. For 88 bucks a month, subscribers can choose 6 items from UO, Anthropologie, Free People, third-party designers and vintage collections—and then swap them out for new pieces the next month. According to the company’s website, “Nuuly seeks to further shift consumer shopping behaviors by giving subscribers access to a wide assortment of current fashion at a substantially lower cost-per-wear than retail, solving the paradox of a millennial’s quest for fashion newness alongside the desire for a more sustainable lifestyle.”

from www.urbn.com

To state the obvious, clothing retail is a big sector, and buying habits are changing. Vintage clothing is hip and all, but if you pick a nice top out of the thrift store, there’s no telling how many people have worn the shirt before you. With a dedicated clothing rental service like Nuuly, you can rest assured that a bunch of people have likely worn it before you.

Enough kidding—here’s my take on the name.

UO clearly wanted the service to sound like a start-up rather than an extension of the parent company. And as far as start-up-y names go, this one almost rises to the level of parody owing to three oversued aspects of the name: the message of “new,” the double-letter misspelling, and the -ly ending.

That level of camp is pushing it, but to the first point, maybe it can be argued that emphasizing new-ness to the consumer—new to you, if not actually new—was a smart move. As to the misspelling, does it cleverly carry additional meaning? Possibly, the u’s do recall UO or the multiple “you’s” that wear the clothing—but most likely, the spelling (including the –ly ending) was just UO’s way of securing an exact dot-com domain.

Push comes to shove, I would have liked UO to try a little harder, but the name won’t come apart at the seams or fold like a cheap red suit. Nuuly won’t hamper the delivery of fresh duds.

Grade:
B
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