Philly Fashion Startups: Former Urban Outfitters CEO Glen Senk Wants to Give You Money

GlenSenk

Photo by Matthew Gilson. Image via Chicago Booth Magazine.

You know Glen Senk. Even if you don’t think you know Glen Senk, you know him. He’s the guy who helped launch Anthropologie—the guy responsible for turning that single Wayne prototype store, which at that time didn’t sell any of its cool antique props, into a lifestyle mega-brand. He was the CEO of Urban Outfitters from 2007 until 2012. (A note: Urban’s quarterly sales have been steadily sinking since his resignation. Coincidence?) And now he’s decided that instead of leading a company, he’s going to help get many of them off the ground. Yep, this means investing—to the tune of $350 million.

Say whaaaa?

Coming Next Month: Urban Outfitters Fitness Brand

Shoppist’s sister site Be Well Philly spilled the details on Without Walls, the new Urban Outfitters outdoors and fitness brand slated to launch March 1st. The promo video is enticing (it almost makes me want to go camping) and the gear looks cool—bright patterned tights, colorful sports bras, colorblocked windbreakers, one questionable bodysuit. Surely it will be a more affordable option than Lululemon, which I’ve come to think of as the John Galliano of workout wear: pretty to look at, uber-expensive, and always embroiled in some sort of controversy.

But there’s a hitch.

Gawker: Urban Outfitters Carries Bestiality Book

We don’t blame Gawker for making fun and drawing attention to Philly-based Urban Outfitters and a book it’s selling, rather graphically depicting beastiality.

In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone fucking an actual pig before in my life, or being fucked by a pig, as the case may be. Certainly not a three-way. Not until today, when I went to Urban Outfitter’s website to browse through the books section anyway.

Anyone who’s familiar with the work of photographer and writer Paul Kwiatkowski, whose And Every Day Was Overcast is a sordid visual-textual novel about growing up in South Florida – drugs, poverty, violence, sex, pig sex, I guess? – certainly has to have a tolerance for the shocking, but this is probably a little bit edgier than the company is aiming for.

But this seems like a bit of a somersault to perform:

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Anthropologie Slotted As Anchor Tenant for Newtown Development

newtown promenade rendering

Early rendering of the Newtown Promenade development.

Over at our sister site, Shoppist, the news is good for Bucks County Anthro fans: The Promenade development in Newtown Township — which is planned as several retail stores and 26 luxury apartments — has reached “an agreement in principle” with Anthropologie, owned by Urban Outfitters Inc., to be its anchor tenant. The reason the language is tentative right now is because Promenade developers have yet to secure funding for the project, which can’t happen until problems with the Bucks County Water and Sewer Authority are resolved.

But Urban Chief Development Officer Dave Ziel is clearly optimistic about the development’s future — and he is not a guy who speaks off the cuff. “Anthropologie is incorporating the final deal points and we are hopeful of completing the transaction is the very near future,” he told the Bucks County Courier Times. (This isn’t the Promenade’s first dance with Anthropologie, which was slated to be a tenant before and then pulled out.)

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Urban Outfitters’ Crazy Lehigh University Project

Urban Outfitters co-founder Scott Belair, Lehigh U ’69, is giving his alma mater a $20 million grant (with more to come, apparently) to create a sort of satellite campus/”innovation incubator” on top of a hill where students will roam around dreaming up genius ways to change the world, with little to no guidance from anyone else. They call it…”The Mountaintop Project.” Really.

Operating much like a study-abroad program, Lehigh students will head to Mountaintop for an entire semester to focus on nothing but their big idea to change the world. They’ll get guidance from their professors and colleagues — if they want it — but the concept, process and solutions will be all theirs. ”We need to breed a new generation of risk-takers,” Lehigh University President Alice Gast said Wednesday. “Our current system of education rewards the risk-averse: It’s listening to lectures and passing tests. This is an effort to break through and show what education can be.”

If they don’t change the world, do they pass the class? The new campus will be located in a few former Bethlehem Steel factories. [Morning Call]

Market Report: Old City Gets Two New Shops, Urban Takes Over the World

Market Report Pink Boots

  • Philly Mag Shops takes over the shopping scene this Sunday! Score top fall picks from over 30 of the region’s top boutiques and designers at up to 40 percent off. Plus: free beauty bars, food and booze. So yeah, you should buy your tickets now.
  • Further proof that Urban (sorry, URBN) is taking over the world: The company is planning an Urban Outfitters Lifestyle Village on the Main Line. The $100 million complex will include Terrain, Anthro, two restaurants, a food market and a wellness facility. More details over on Property.
  • Calling all brides: Lovely Bridal opens today in Old City, right next to Charlie’s Jeans. Head there for gorgeously romantic gowns by the likes of Elizabeth Dye, Ivy & Aster and Carol Hannah. Get the scoop on their opening party tonight right here on our Wedding site.
  • Millésimé celebrates the opening of its second location tonight with a First Friday party from 6pm to 9pm. Stop by the fab ‘lifestyle’ boutique to scope out its new, exclusive furniture and lighting collections.
  • Make a point to stop by Mt. Airy’s latest addition, Lujon, a vintage mid-century modern furniture and housewares shop. I’ll take one of these, please.
  • One of my fave Bucks County spots for awesome antiques and salvaged home finds, Artefact Architectural Antiques, fetes 26 years in business by dishing out 20 percent off everything today and tomorrow.
  • In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Hope Chest is giving 20 percent off Anita Care bras—a fab line of bras for women who have had a mastectomy—during the entire month of October.
  • Kim K. wore this. God help us all.
  • Deal of the Day: Bettye Muller Pavilion platforms. Were $380, now $80 at BHLDN. The best way to get your floral fix long after the last summer flower has wilted.
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