How does a company with nearly 200 years of history remain relevant in today’s modern, competitive retail environment? This is what Andrea Cane sought to illuminate in speaking about his employer, Woolrich International.
Founded in Pennsylvania in 1830 to supply lumberjacks with woolen fabrics and clothing items, Woolrich calls itself the “original outdoor clothing company,” and its history is steeped in American heritage. But at some point the company fell out of the American consumer’s consciousness, as it struggled to compete in a saturated market. Now, Woolrich is staging a comeback in its home country, with its store in New York’s SoHo district undergoing an expansion that will see it more than double in size.
But it’s not only size that matters. Cane, the creative director for Woolrich, spoke of a variety of retail experiences that set the brand apart from its competitors.
Last year, Woolrich opened its Milan store, the first to employ its new flagship concept of experiential retail. Four distinct sections immerse customers is the brand’s experience. A Woolrich museum displays items from its extensive archives, and is updated twice a year. Customers can put their own touch on their purchases in a customization corner, and they can test products before buying in an extreme weather room, where the temperature is kept at -20 degrees Celsius. The brand also worked with plant artist Satoshi Kawamoto to turn a corner of the store into a plant shop called Green Fingers.
The expanded New York store, due to open in June, will employ many of these same concepts, while its design will be modular and flexible.
“It is a multipurpose space that transforms for pop-ups, events and exhibitions,” Cane said.
To celebrate the reopening of the New York store, Woolrich has also collaborated with a variety of brands, including Beams+, N.Hoolywood, Stussy, Griffin and Aimé Leon Dore.