To the delight of Canadian consumers, who have long been envious of their counterparts to the south, major Canadian cities are rapidly becoming home to several foreign retail brands. And it’s not only to American retailers like Target, which are expanding northwards. Popular U.K. based AllSaints Spitalfields, who have been in the U.S. for four years, opened their doors at Yorkdale Mall on Thursday, April 4th. Like many new retailers, they hope to partake in the resilient economy and obtain a strong Canadian consumer following.
AllSaints, as they’re better known, was founded in the early ’90s, provides high end fashionable men’s and women’s apparel and footwear. The name stems from the initials of one of the founders Stuart Trevor (ST) and his connection to AllSaints Road, a hub of music and design in the U.K. The brand takes this connection to heart, collaborating with emerging talent and established artists. Its ties to the broader cultural scene has been authenticated by popular artists including Justin Timberlake, who makes reference to the brand in his latest hit (“Suit and Tie,” 2013).
Rightly locating in Yorkdale Mall, AllSaints is not for the faint of heart when it comes to price. Compared to brands like Aritzia, it provides similar to higher price-point, quality apparel. A very soft and stylish tank-top can cost US$60. The brand exudes the notion of individuality sans arrogance, with its edgier, distressed styles targeted to a niche market.
To give you a look at what to expect from AllSaints, we’ve visited one of their U.S. stores to find out what makes this retailer right for the Canadian market.
You can identify an AllSaints store by the impressive collection of sewing machines lit up in its windows. Mainly Singer machines dawn the display, but other well-known brands like Minerva can also be found.
The devil is in the details and this appears to be AllSaints’ philosophy. Using several reclaimed artifacts, like a clothing ringer and old school, shoe sewing machines, the brand marries old world charm with high end fashion to present unique displays. Their stores are a reflection of the brand, with the retailer investing little in traditional marketing.
AllSaints’ collection provides a modern take on a vintage and rock look. From distressed pieces and hand-made to hand-embellished items, the brand lets its consumers display a very specific, chic attitude.
The dressing rooms are not missed in the minutia, with a mix of wood and metal, to complement the overall store design.
These AllSaints boots are hand-made, with no two pairs quite having the same look. Others, like their Merit Shoe for men, are handmade and hand polished, with a sticker tag of US$495. Most of their men’s footwear online is burnished and hand-finished by craftsmen.
Canadian consumers are not shy about what they want or where they’re willing to go to purchase items that 1) make a statement and/or represent them, and 2) provides them with quality or value. In fact, their expectations are on the rise, having shopped American brands online and across the border for several years.
AllSaints looks to be a promising new addition to the northern retail scene, bringing an understanding of high fashion, culture/music and individuality straight to the Canadian consumer.
If AllSaints can forge the connection with the Canadian consumer and tap into the healthy music scene across the country, the Queen won’t be the only welcome Brit in town.
As a bonus, we got a chance last weekend to visit the Yorkdale store! Below are a few pictures taken from the recently opened store which had tech-savvy staff, plenty of products and the signature AllSaints design.
AllSaints’ elaborate sewing machine display is sure to grab shoppers’ attention.
Staff dressed in AllSaints attire armed with tablets to ensure a true cross-channel customer experience.