Shopping near the University of Richmond campus in the Carytown area is characterized by an indie, artistic scene. But one store stands out to some students.
Need Supply Co., located about four miles from campus, is a clothing boutique with an interior aesthetic more akin to that of luxury shops in Los Angeles and New York than that of the more casual Carytown. Need Supply Co. has been featured in publications such as Vogue, New York Magazine and V Magazine.
The store sells a variety of contemporary fashion brands worn by models as well as sneakers, accessories, lifestyle items and beauty products. Prices range from single digits to hundreds of dollars, but items are typically on the more expensive side.
Junior Bilal Hindi first discovered the store during the spring semester of his first year.
“It just looks like it doesn’t belong there in a way, it doesn’t belong in Carytown," Hindi said. "But it’s really cool that it’s there.”
Its minimalist interior design contributes to the store's unique feel, he said.
Sunlight floods the shop from large storefront windows, providing ample lighting for the small boutique. The clothes hang from exposed rods attached to the ceiling against a wooden wall backdrop.
The wooden walls act like partitions, either side of which display clothing.
Jewelry and accessories, ranging from sunglasses to socks, are organized on tables in the center of the shop.
If you were to walk to the back of the store, you would find a curated collection of cult favorite skincare and beauty items on the shelves, such as products from (MALIN+GOETZ) and RMS Beauty.
Other items -- from books to Marvis toothpaste to electronics to kitchenware -- can also be found in this section of the store.
Need Supply Co. is one of senior Samantha O'Leary's favorite spots in Richmond.
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“It’s definitely targeted towards people who enjoy fashion trends because when you walk in, you will definitely see some interesting clothing options,” O’Leary said. “But I also think the way they are displayed makes it less of a shopping experience and more of an enjoyable visual experience.”
The visual atmosphere is not the only thing that differentiates Need Supply Co. from other Richmond brick-and-mortar clothing stores.
The price and exclusivity of the curated selection of clothing the store carries exceed those of the store’s peers in the area. Many of the brands it carries are commonplace at luxury department stores such as Barneys New York.
“It has brands that you don’t find in a mall,” Hindi said.
O’Leary echoed this sentiment.
“I like it because of the type of clothing they carry," O'Leary said. "It’s not your basics. It’s a lot of cool pieces like stuff you would see on [Instagram fashion blog] @Weworewhat."
According to Need Supply Co.’s website, “We truly believe in the products we carry, carefully curating a mix of well-known brands and up-and-coming independent designers from the US and abroad.”
For example, top-dollar luxury streetwear brands Off-White and Heron Preston are staples in the men's clothing section. Models such as Hailey Baldwin and Bella Hadid often sport those brands’ female lines. For women, top-tier contemporary brands such as Acne Studios and GANNI can be found on the racks.
Need Supply Co. also sells a selection of shoes, with brands from Nike to emerging French designer Jacquemus.
Sophomore Margaret Cashion, a frequent Need Supply Co. shopper, noted the brand selection as one of the store’s best qualities.
“I love that you can find such a range of prices and such creative pieces,” Cashion said. “It’s definitely unique because no other stores around campus are like it.”
The story of how Need Supply Co. wound up in Richmond begins with jeans, of which the store recently released its own brand in 2017.
According to its website, Need Supply Co. started selling vintage Levi’s in 1996 in the same location out of which it operates today.
The store evolved over time to ultimately carry the array of designer goods it does now. According to racked.com, the store’s launching of an e-commerce site in 2008 contributed to creating its fashion-world following. International shipping gave Need Supply Co. a foothold in the international online market.
Its e-commerce site also hosts a blog that features seasonal lookbooks and editorial content, such as interviews with artists and designers and a traveling photographer's photo series called “Travelogues.”
Need Supply Co. expanded by opening two locations in Japan in 2015.
Hindi said one of his friends who lived in London had shopped the brand’s website and had been surprised to learn it had started in Richmond.
“It makes it very special,” Hindi said. “Out of all the places in the U.S., this person decided to open it in Richmond.”
O’Leary expressed a similar opinion, but thought the store was a natural fit for Carytown.
“Carytown has a lot of consignment and thrift stores and I think that Need Supply adds to that whole edgy, individualistic attitude these other stores have, but Need Supply is definitely an experience of its own,” O’Leary said.
Need Supply Co. did not respond to requests for comment.
Contact lifestyle writer Isabel Meyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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