We know a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet, but what about jeans?  Would our jeans be just as cute without their designer label?  Brandchannel recently reported that Urban Outfitters has launched a line of “unbranded” denim that boasts, “No branding.  No washes.  No ad campaigns.  No celebrities.”


This back-to-basics approach to fashion is admirable, if already a bit played out.  By taking the focus off of the label, Urban Outfitters is trying to highlight its commitment to quality and style.  The company wants us to know that it produces a great product that doesn’t need a special pocket design or branded tag to impress consumers.  That’s all well and good, but it does pose a problem for consumers trying to find these jeans.

Here’s where I feel obligated to point out that a name or a label is very different than a brand.  Products need to be associated with a brand at some basic level.  Otherwise, how can you expect consumers to find the product?  Even brands trying to be “unbranded” turn their lack of brand into a brand itself.  Take, for example, Unbranded Clothing of the UK (unbrandedclothes.co.uk).  The absence of an official brand has become that brand’s identity, which in turn enables customers to recognize and find the company’s products.

I don’t think that these new jeans are a case of true “unbranding.”  Urban Outfitters still wants shoppers to know that they are the ones responsible for these exclusive new jeans, but how do they do that without ad campaigns or some form of branding?  Good question.

I did a bit of digging, and it turns out that unbrandeddenim.com and unbrandedjeans.com are both available.  Urban Outfitters could register either or both of these names and use them to capture visitors searching for these elusive “unbranded” jeans.  But, there are no guarantees that said generic names would be top of mind for interested shoppers.  Is that how you would look for these jeans?

A better plan would be to register urbanoutfittersjeans.com and uojeans.com, both of which are currently available. Urban Outfitters’ best bet is admitting that their brand does play a role here.  They can continue to sell a product with no label but their brand is what’s going to sell these jeans.

Or, if Urban Outfitters is really committed to a complete lack of branding, the company could look into acquiring jeans.com.  Between search and type-in traffic, I estimate the domain could earn approximately 3,000,000 organic visits per month.  According to Internet Retailer, Urban Outfitters has an average conversion rate of 3.98 percent and an average order size of $121, meaning the company could sell tens of millions of dollars worth of jeans through this site by converting the massive monthly generic “jeans” search volume to their customers.

Josh Bourne

Managing Partner at FairWinds Partners
A Managing Partner for the business, Josh draws on his experience with brands and blogs on business solutions for the domain name space.
Josh Bourne
What’s in a Name?

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