Without warning or fanfare, clothing store Desigual closed Dec. 31st, leaving some Union Square shoppers confounded by its sudden departure.
Located in the heart of the city's most popular shopping district, on the corner of Powell and Ellis streets, the store was well-known for sunny, sparkly and boldly patterned clothes that reflect their origins on the Spanish island of Ibiza.
The company, based in Barcelona, was founded by Swiss businessman Thomas Meyer in 1984. With their slogan "Life is cool," the Desigual brand boasts flowery, colorful, geometric designs reminiscent of the '60s and appealing especially to youthful consumers looking to make a visual statement.
On Wednesday, a sign in the window read "Sorry you missed us" with a number for customer service that connected the caller to Barcelona, where a woman answering the call gave no information about why the location closed.
A woman who answered the phone at the San Francisco store on Friday, where they were dismantling the interior, including an iconic VW bus, said merely, "The store doesn't exist. They're relocating out of state."
Absent the brick-and-mortar location, Desigual's flowing dresses and skirts, sequined scarves, trendy jackets and jeans can be found both online and in some boutique and department stores.
Karin Flood, executive director of the Union Square Business Improvement District, said she too did not know why Desigual had closed its doors. A lease has already been signed by a new, unknown tenant.
The blocks of Powell Street from Union Square to Market Street are lined with stores such as the Gap, H&M, Uniqlo, Express and Urban Outfitters. Flood called the location "a hot corner with a high volume of pedestrian traffic."
A walk through the neighborhood reveals a number of going-out-of-business signs. Flood said even though the vacancy rate may have "inched up a little bit, demand exceeds supply. People want to be here."
Thanks to Carolyn T. for the tip. See something interesting while you’re out and about? Text Hoodline and we’ll see what we can find: (415) 200-3233.