ModCloth IRL pop-up shop in Austin, TX. Image courtesy of ModCloth.

The online retailer ModCloth has grown from its humble beginnings in a CMU dorm room to overseeing offices in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh from its headquarters in San Francisco. This fall, the company returns to its roots to bring a new shopping experience to the city.

The retro-inspired womens clothier announced plans to make Pittsburgh the final stop in its ModCloth IRL (In Real Life) Tour, a series of five pop-up shop events held in cities across the country. The event launched last April in Austin, TX, where it will continue through Memorial Day. From there, it will travel through Washington, DC, Portland, OR, and Denver and Boulder, CO, before finally stopping here in September. Specific details on the Pittsburgh pop-up shop, including date and location, are still up in the air.

ModCloth PR lead Lauren Whitehouse explains that the concept came about after the success of the Fit Shop, a short-term promotional event launched near the company’s San Francisco offices last July.

“It was this test prototype shop that was only meant to be three weeks long,” says Whitehouse. “And it was doing so well that we kept extending it. By the time we closed it, it was the end of March.”

Much like the Fit Shop, the IRL Tour will allow customers to try on a curated collection of ModCloth styles and then order them online. Each pop-up shop will carry a wide array of clothing—including pieces from ModCloth’s private label brand—in sizes ranging from XS up through 4X. The shops will also feature home décor, gift items and one-of-kind vintage goods available to buy in store.

Shoppers at the IRL pop-up shop in Austin, TX. Image courtesy of ModCloth.
Shoppers at the ModCloth IRL pop-up shop in Austin, TX. Image courtesy of ModCloth.

The tour will further the reach of a company that already owes much of its success to engaging with tech-savvy fashion lovers through Instagram, social media, and online campaigns and contests. Besides browsing the inventory, pop-up shoppers can interact with on-site ModCloth stylists, attend special events and snap selfies in front of a custom-designed background.

“We got so much excitement from being able to meet the customer and learn from her and see what she loves and what she reacts to,” says Whitehouse. “What we’re hoping to get out of this IRL Tour is being there and being able to engage with her.”

The IRL Tour will also showcase its host cities by selling handcrafted jewelry from local artists and hiring local musicians to play during events. In addition, ModCloth will create custom t-shirts for each location, which will only be available to purchase at the pop-up shops.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.