MANHATTAN BOUND: Judith & Charles wants to be better known in the U.S. The Canadian brand, designed by Judith Richardson and Charles Le Pierrès, is well entrenched in the Canadian market with ten freestanding stores. In addition to an existing unit on Third Avenue, Judith & Charles plans in 2015 to open a store at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan. In the meantime, the brand recently unveiled a store on Columbus Avenue between 68th and 69th Streets. “Columbus is a trial for us,” Richardson said. “We had the opportunity to take over a lease for a year. We’re very pleased so far. We feel that Columbus Avenue could be a key location.”

The streamlined, minimalist clothes are produced using fabrics from Italy and Japan. “Craftsmanship is really our passion,” Richardson said. “We’re raising the bar on maintaining the quality and fit of our clothes. We don’t have big surprises in terms of changing directions every season. Our customer appreciates that.”

The Columbus Avenue store is designed to look like a showroom with breezy linen curtains hanging behind racks. Besides expanding in New York, Judith & Charles has opened franchises in Qatar and China. The brand wholesales to Holt Renfrew in Canada and a few independent retailers in the U.S., but eschews department stores. “My point of view on department stores is that it’s guaranteed sell-throughs and markdown money,” Richardson said. “We kind of shy away from that.”

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