For its next designer showcase, Hudson’s Bay is right at home.
Canada’s biggest department store chain will put the spotlight on 12 Canadian designers, who will display fall fashion and accessories — all exclusives — within the retailer’s “Discover This Pop-up” format, starting Sept. 4 until November.
“It’s really a great representation of rising talent in Canada,” Alison Coville, president of Hudson’s Bay, told WWD on Monday. “It’s a good mix of product — men’s, women’s and gender-neutral brands. It’s really about the contemporary customer. There are fashion-forward, structured pieces but there are definitely also items anyone can wear to work and very wearable pieces, from track pants to T-shirts.”
Showcasing Canadian designers marks the fourth iteration of Hudson’s Bay’s “Discover This Pop-up” format. Previously, emerging Japanese designers, eco-conscious brands and higher-end ath-leisure brands were presented.
“Our new Discover This concept, launched last fall in our better downtown locations, showcases new and exciting things. It’s fashion, accessories, footwear and jewelry, in 800- to 1,000-square-foot areas,” Coville said. The format is situated in Hudson’s Bay Queen Street and Yorkdale stores in Toronto as well as in the Vancouver, Calgary and Montreal locations. The assortment will also be sold online at thebay.com.
“Many of these designers were never sold in a department store in the past,” Coville said.
Depending on the customer response to the merchandise, some of the designers could be ordered again by Hudson’s Bay for subsequent seasons. “That’s our intent,” Coville said. “This is a great opportunity to find out how the customer responds. This is about showing our commitment to fashion. We want to make sure our customers see that, and that we give them a reason to come to our stores.”
At The Collections, the mission is to help designers market their brands and support efforts to find funding, according to Dwayne Kennedy, cofounder and fashion director at The Collections. “Our vision has always been to offer designers a sustainable domestic and international platform that they can build their brands with.” The Collections operates Re\Set, a platform enabling designers to present their collections direct-to-consumer and to the industry. It’s held in September and February, in partnership with Toronto Fashion Week in Yorkville.
For the Hudson’s Bay pop-up, The Collections presented over 90 styles to the retailer. “It’s a global exclusive for Hudson’s Bay. You won’t be able to find any of these products anywhere,” said Kennedy.
He underscored the range of brands being presented, from the more-established Sid Neigum to the new Wil Studios collection, and from the avant-garde Mikhael Kale, to the relaxed, day-to-day look of Hilary MacMillan.
The other eight Canadian designers are Atelier Guarin, Markoo, Pedram Karimi, S.P. Badu, Wrkdept, Biko, Cuchara and Daniel Gregory Natale. So shoppers can learn about the designers, there will be photos and information about each accompanying the fashion displays. “For several of these designers, it’s their major purchase order,” Kennedy said. Hudson’s Bay has carried Mikhael Kale and Sid Neigum in the past.
According to Kennedy, Canada’s community of fashion designers is “definitely growing. I am seeing new designers almost every day and I work with four or five new brands each season.”