By Mia Zarrella, 630wpro.com
Providence Place Mall is mixing things up with the addition of two, quite commonly-coveted stores.
This year, Free People and Zara are making their Rhode Island debut, joining the more than 160 stores at Providence Place.
In May, Rhode Island’s first Free People boutique opened at Providence Place, occupying 3,218 square-feet. Free People sells bohemian chic clothing, which compliments the urban, hipster environment of Providence along with Rhode Island’s beach bungalow aesthetic.
Free People Store Manager Nikki Patrizzi says the FP employees “love being centered in the heart of RI.”
“Rhode Island packs a big punch for a small state with so many different activities and culture easy to access in a short walk or drive. This is so appealing to the Free People girl because she’s an adventurer who loves to get out, explore and make the most of life that she can,” says Patrizzi.
Their clothes have flowing cuts, unique embroidery, boldly-colored knits, decorative lace pieces, and faded and distressed dyes, all of which are reminiscent of a world-traveling, free-spirited woman.
Patrizzi says, “We truly feel that our customer is present here and can share in the FP lifestyle with us. Providence is the perfect location surrounded by five colleges, wandering tourists and different, unique local crowds! We love being centered in the heart of RI!”
North Kingstown resident and Free People shopper Isabella Tarro, 19, says, “As an avid Free People shopper, having an official store is really cool and is nice for trying on the new clothes that they have.”
The Providence Place store carries Free People’s full line of intimates, “that not every Free People store has,” says Patrizzi.
Tarro says the new store is especially nice since it is “different than many of the other stores in the mall.”
Also moving into Providence Place this fall is Zara. In 2012, the New York Times named Zara the world’s largest fashion retailer. This is Zara’s first Rhode Island store and it will occupy 23,500 square-feet of the mall’s first and second level. Based in Spain, the high-fashion store sells runway-style clothing for men, women, and children at more affordable prices. Up until now, the nearest Zara was on Newbury St. in Boston, MA.
Another big change for Providence Place is the removal of its three-story JC Penney. The store will be closed by the end of 2015 as part of the company’s decision to shut down its underperforming stores. It’s still not clear yet what store will replace JC Penney.
Big changes are underway at Providence Place, and in a city with colleges centered around creativity and design, change complements the daily convergence of people, ideas, and styles.