A Review of Philadelphia’s Fashion District

If you’re looking for a haven of seasonal activities, Philadelphia is the perfect place to turn to.

Every Saturday, I embark into Center City to retrieve my favorite cup of joe, finish up work and obligations, venture away from my typical surroundings with a newly cleared mind, and explore my city. This tradition has allowed me to find comfort in my routine-like Saturdays, while allowing myself to divulge into my adventurous creative outlets, and discover what the streets of Philadelphia hold.

Last Saturday, I ventured East to where I heard talk about the newly updated and revamped version of the Gallery. Previously called the Gallery at East Market, the updated mall is now known as the Fashion District of Philadelphia. From the upgrades I read about online, I was interested in investigating the local decor and artwork, new shopping attractions, and entertainment features. These include the live entertainment and music said to be stationed around both the mall’s two sections, the interactive and malleable artwork, the price point diversity of the shops, providing customers with higher and lower priced shopping, as well as the addition of an AMC and Round 1. With the induction of these new attractions, those in charge of the renovations hope to provide a change of pace for the mall. They hope to have the mall remain suitable for a typical family’s day-out, but also establish itself as a cool hangout for those of all ages, and create enough buzz to a worldwide audience. 

In my experience, as I approached one of the entrances on the Filbert Street side of the mall, nothing stood out as distinct and special to draw people in. BUT, as soon as I walked in, I immediately noticed the striking pops of color everywhere I turned! The entrance gracefully loomed over me, staring me in the face with its mural artwork, movie billboards and modern-day decor. As many places in Philadelphia, the stylistic choices towards the artwork displayed around the mall gave the plain white walls character, and formulated a new comprehension of what malls can be. Instead of solely relying on the storefront displays and advertisements, the Fashion District’s incorporation of local and interactive artwork provided a sense of distinguished togetherness. 

Right off the bat, my attention was captivated by the Liberty Bell sculpture above the escalator. Initially, I was confused, but when I turned back down the hallway I came from, I noticed that from a different angle, the Liberty Bell took a new life and posed as William Penn. According to the Fashion District’s equally colorful website, artwork installations like these are permanent, while many of the other color splashes through the hallways are rotating installations. Which means every once in a while, a large chunk of the artwork will be switched up, allowing the mall to showcase an endless stream of unique pieces and create a constantly changing environment. I believe this adds a creative twist and a youthful vibe -- and I applaud this idea as a savvy way to create a fresh and new atmosphere for their visitors. 

As for the entertainment sector of the Fashion District, there seems to be an endless stream of giddy amusement, allocated by the addition of the AMC, Round 1 and the temporary Candytopia exhibit. The AMC in the Fashion District is the first blockbuster movie theater in the Center City area since the Sameric Theater. This AMC’s auditoriums will feature eight screens and seats that move with the action in the film. So, there are plenty of space and options for an entertaining movie after a day of shopping or hanging out with friends. As for the Round 1, similar to the AMC, it opens in November, so I unfortunately was not yet able to attend. However, I am fully anticipating bringing myself and friends over as soon as possible to see the brand-new arcade, which I am 100% here for. This Round 1 contains bowling, arcade games, billiards, karaoke, ping pong and darts. 

The last main aspect of the Fashion District that stood out to me was the countless topical and on-trend stores speckled throughout the mall’s large footprint. Admittedly, I am a sucker for clothing and fashion, and therefore cannot control myself in a mall. But even so, I must admit, the layout directly draws your eyes to the large store fronts and creates an awe that is irresistible for a shopaholic like myself. I browsed through stores that I regularly visit, as well as stores that I had never heard of before. The open layout and artistic atmosphere successfully put me in a gleeful daze and I was open to places that had never before interested me. Many of the stores expected to occupy the halls of the Fashion District are yet to move in; nonetheless, there was still a satisfying excess of businesses that could easily entertain anyone all day.

All in all, I enjoyed my experience at the Fashion District, and can clearly see the vision for the mall and the endless activities provided throughout. I highly recommend visiting this mall for all your shopping and entertainment needs. I also suggest you visit when it gets colder out, when typical Philly shopping is unbearable. So go out and enjoy the artistic shopping experience provided by Philadelphia’s Fashion District (unless of course you’re on a budget, because it will instantly demolish that).