ModCloth pop-up shop in Denver, CO. Image courtesy of ModCloth.

Downtown Pittsburgh is about to get a lot more stylish.

ModCloth, the vintage-inspired online retailer for women, announced plans to set up a temporary storefront at 625 Smithfield Street from Saturday, September 17 to Tuesday, September 27. The move comes months after the company officially made Pittsburgh the last stop in its IRL (In Real Life) Tour, a nationwide series of five pop-up shops.

Since its launch last May, the tour has hit Austin, TX, Washington, DC, Portland, OR and Denver, CO.

“There’s a buzz and energy in Downtown that we’re excited to be a part of,” says ModCloth’s VP of stores Elizabeth Cooksey. “We are thrilled to end our IRL Tour in Pittsburgh, where it all began. The entire team has been looking forward to our homecoming, and it’s the perfect way to cap off the summer.”

Founded in 2002 by husband-and-wife team Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Koger, ModCloth has expanded from a small operation in a CMU dorm room to a major name in women’s fashion. The pop-up shops represent the next phase of the company’s growth, as it tries going offline and into brick-and-mortar stores.

Cooksey describes the pop-up shop as “an experiment in retail innovation,” where customers can try on a variety of styles available in a wide range of sizes from XXS up through 4X. They can then order their finds on ModCloth’s website. They can also make appointments with stylists to help them find the right fit and coordinate outfits.

ModCloth stylists fit a customer at the Denver, CO pop-up shop. Image courtesy of ModCloth.

The pop-up shop will also carry items from local brands and artisans available to buy on-site.

“Our IRL shop is localized to Pittsburgh because we look at the stores as a hub for our community,” says Cooksey, adding that the shop will feature products from five local Pittsburgh artists, some of which are ModCloth employees. “We chose artisans that fit our feminine and vintage-inspired aesthetic, and help to augment the in-store assortment and experience.”

One such artist is Tony Tortella of Anther Candle Company. Tortella got involved with the pop-up after talk of the IRL Tour spread through ModCloth’s Crafton-based offices, where he works as a customer care advocate.

“After finding out that ModCloth had planned on working with local makers and vendors in each city they set up in, I realized that this could be a perfect opportunity,” says Tortella.

The shop will sell six fragrances from his collection of hand-poured, small-batch candles that blend elements like teak wood, moss and fresh sage.

Image courtesy of Anther Candle Company.

Other local names featured in the pop-up are No Sleep Boutique, Moon Pine Studio and the screen-printed t-shirt company Steel City. Customers can also purchase exclusive, specially designed Pittsburgh-themed graphic t-shirts, as well as an assortment of vintage clothing, accessories and home goods from ModCloth.

The event will also feature free live music, food and activities from local artists, musicians and makers.

“The stores are a place for our community to connect with the brand and each other through personal styling sessions to events with local artisans and musicians,” says Cooksey. “They can find that perfect outfit for their every day and special days.”

Hours for the Pittsburgh pop-up shop are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Further details are available at ModCloth’s IRL Tour page.

Amanda Waltz

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...