7 Successful Fashion Brands You Probably Didn’t Know Started in Vancouver
There are so many great things about Vancouver all Canadians can appreciate. The city has been the scene for countless blockbuster movies, put Canada on the map with its 2010 Winter Olympics, is known for its mountainous landscapes and forests, and is even the birthplace of the beloved yoga pant.
While most people would assume Vancouver to be passive when it comes to leading the way in the fashion industry — based on its low-key, vibe and natural aesthetic — there are some great talents right in the city’s core. There are even a select handful of successful fashion brands that have made it to the big leagues and have become world renowned labels.
Here are seven successful fashion brands you probably didn’t know started in Vancouver.
Herschel is known for its trendy backpacks and duffle bags that can be spotted on travellers and students alike all over North America. The brand originated in Vancouver in 2009 by brothers Lyndon and Jamie Cormack, who created the brand to provide “the everyday traveler with the perfect bags and accessories.” Starting with their original line of accessories, Herschel Supply’s Classic Collection, the brand has since branched out to include the Herschel Supply Kids Collection and Bad Hills Workshop, and can be found in a variety of retailers across North America.
Lululemon is one of the most popular athleticwear companies in the world today. The brand was started by Chip Wilson as a small, yoga-inspired women’s line in Vancouver in 1998, but has expanded greatly since then. Originally a design studio by day and a yoga studio by night, Lululemon now hosts clothing for men and offers a wider range of athletic wear for a variety of sports including dance, running and cycling. The brand can be found all over the globe with stores across Canada, the United States, Europe, China, Australia and the UAE.
John Fluevog started his namesake shoe company in Gastown, Vancouver in 1970 under the name “Fox and Fluevog” with his then partner Peter Fox. After the two split in the 80s, Fluevog went on to open his first John Fluevog Shoes store in downtown Vancouver, after which he developed his famous Angel Soles — an invention that launched his shoe line into mainstream success and fame. The brand gained so much attention in the fashion world, it was seen on celebrities like Madonna and Lady Miss Kier at the time. In the words of Fluevog himself, “Good soles leave small prints (no matter what your shoe size).”
Aritzia has become a staple in the Canadian market for on-trend clothing for young women and celebrities alike. The brand was founded in Vancouver in 1984 by Brian Hill and began as a small women’s apparel boutique. With over 13 different in-house lines such as Community, Wilfred and Le Fou, a number of popular brands like Mackage, adidas, Citizens of Humanity and more have been added to Aritzia’s roster making it a unique store that always has beautifully designed garments that are both of high quality and good value. Aritzia now has over 60 boutiques across North America and can be found in cities like Toronto, Seattle, San Francisco and Dallas.
Kit & Ace was founded by Lululemon expats Shannon Wilson, wife of Chip Wilson and former lead designer at Lululemon, and their son JJ Wilson. The brand produces “machine-washable Technical Cashmere” clothing and accessories, and grew from one store in Vancouver to over 60 retail locations across the world. Kit & Ace basically took the best principles of athletic design and applied them to clothes people can wear all day, every day. The brand has also recently established its own line of coffee shops — Sorry Coffee Co — in select retail stores.
If you like parties but always seem to have nothing to wear to them, PARTYSKIRTS is for you. The fun-loving clothing brand was founded by Vancouver sister duo Lauren and Mariel Armstrong who created the brand after receiving an overwhelmingly positive response to the homemade designs they were wearing to social events. The brand is known for its adorable statement pieces, bold prints and unique designs and has been featured in magazines such as Glamour, Teen Vogue and ELLE Canada.
Originally an online retailer based in Vancouver, Indochino has since revolutionized the way men shop for suits with showrooms across North America. Since its humble beginnings in 2007, the brand has grown into one of the largest made to measure menswear brands on the market by providing men with high quality, affordable menswear than makes them look and feel like a million bucks.
What other successful brands have started in Vancouver? Let us know in the comment section!
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Brooklyn is a Toronto-based journalist and if she isn’t writing, you can find her enjoying a nice glass of merlot. She is a lover of good books, Sunday brunches and running around the city with her girl gang. She’s your basic Blair Waldorf in a world of Jenny Humphrey’s. You can follow her on Twitter @BNeustaeter.