Tag Archives: activewear

Targeting Toronto tweens

Young fashionistas in Toronto celebrated this weekend, as niche Canadian retailer Triple Flip launched its first location in the city.

Triple Flip, a retailer that specializes in apparel for pre-teen girls, held a grand opening celebration at its new store at Yonge and Eglinton.

Triple Flip's Newmarket store.

Triple Flip’s Newmarket store.

The company, which began as a single store in Calgary, Alberta that was launched by two local moms in 2005, has expanded to include 11 locations across the country, as well as a comprehensive e-commerce website.

Fly Girl Hoodie, $29.95

Fly Girl Hoodie, $29.95

Although the chain already operates two other GTA locations – one in Oakville and one in Newmarket – the new boutique provides a more accessible location for urban families.

Triple Flip aims to offer stylish and comfortable attire for pre-teen girls with active lifestyles. The collections include such items as tops with bold patterns and sassy catch-phrases, multi-coloured skinny jeans, stretchy and colourful active-wear, and fun accessories such as rhinestone-embellished ear muffs and furry pencil cases.

Jazlyn Tee $35.00

Jazlyn Tee $35.00

Given the solid demand for trendy clothes and accessories among 10-to-12-year-olds, Triple Flip will likely have no trouble attracting customers in the Toronto market.

However, this segment of the market can be tough – especially for retailers focused exclusively on this young demographic. La Senza Girl and Jacob Jr., for instance – both of which catered to the pre-teen market – seemed to struggle to establish enough of a core market, and both chains eventually shut down.

Considering the success it’s had so far, however, perhaps Triple Flip has found a formula that works in this competitive market. If the company’s Facebook page is any indication, it certainly appears to have won over the hearts of tweens and moms across the country.

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The North Face comes north of the border

Outdoor apparel and equipment company The North Face will be opening its first store in Canada on Bloor Street this fall.

Catering to those with active lifestyles, the company manufactures gear specially designed for such activities as yoga, biking, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. This includes apparel, outerwear, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and other equipment.

The North Face was founded in San Francisco 40 years ago, and now operates dozens of retail stores in the United States and abroad.

In Canada, the company’s products are sold through such retailers as Sporting Life, North by Northwest and Sport Chek.

The new store, located on Bloor Street near Avenue Road, will be the company’s first direct-to-customer owned store in Canada.

I wouldn’t have considered Bloor-Yorkville the most obvious location for the store, given the upscale, high-fashion nature of the shopping district in that part of the city.

However, the high-traffic location will certainly give the North Face plenty of visibility among the affluent shoppers frequenting the area – and perhaps that’s the company’s goal as it begins boosting its profile in the Canadian market.

Keep an eye out for the large new store in the next couple of months — hopefully just in time for ski and snowboard season.

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A new destination for activewear

Lululemon, step aside: another Canadian-born activewear chain is gaining traction in the GTA. Toronto-based Titika Canada Inc., founded by graduates of George Brown College’s fashion program, opened a new store in the Shops at Don Mills shopping complex in mid-May.

The chain now has a total of three boutiques, with the two others located on Lakeshore Road in Oakville and on Queen St. E. in the Beach. Its merchandise is also available in Sporting Life stores and at Sanctuary Yoga studios in the city.

Titika offers stylish and comfortable pants, tops and sweatshirts designed for such athletic activities as yoga, dancing, running and cycling. The company also carries winter jackets and gym bags.

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The garments feature vents for breathability and are made with:

  • Lycra – a very stretchy, lightweight material resistant to body oils, perspiration, lotions and detergents
  • Coolmax – a material that aims to reduce your skin temperature, reduce your heart rate and maintain hydration while you’re active
  • Supplex – an advanced fiber technology that maintains its shape and dries quickly

Titika apparel also boasts a sleek and stylish tailored design that aims to flatter every body type.

Many Titika items remind me of the ubiquitous pants, tanks and hoodies found at Lululemon stores across the country, and given how successful those products have been, Titika has clearly picked a thriving market to break into. The company’s off to a strong start, and I bet it will have no trouble continuing to expand its footprint.

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A workout without the work: Too good to be true?

No time for the gym? No sweat. Just throw on Reebok’s new line of EasyTone apparel, and you’ll exercise your muscles without actually having to exercise. Or so the company says.

The new line of clothing for women and footwear for both men and women, which is now available at Sport Chek stores in Canada, is designed to help tone your muscles when you move – whether you’re on a treadmill or just out for a walk.

Reebok EasyTone Long Bra Top

In the apparel, bands within the fabric create resistance every time you move, helping to strengthen your muscles and encourage better posture and body alignment, according to Reebok.

The shoes, meanwhile, have “balance pods” built onto the bottoms that are designed to create instability with each step. This forces your leg muscles and glutes to work harder when you walk, encouraging toning, the company says.

I have to say, I’m pretty skeptical about this concept. I can see how these shoes might make a small difference in working your leg muscles to a slightly greater degree than normal. But fabric that creates resistance when you move? Unless there are weights sewn into the fabric, I’m not convinced that this apparel will have any impact on your muscles.

While I do love the idea of toning my muscles on days that I can’t make it to the gym, I have a hard time believing that you can get real results without the work. It’s called a workout for a reason, after all.

But hey, I could be wrong. If you’ve seen results from a product like this, I’d love to hear about it!

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More activewear for King Street

Looks like Mountain Equipment Co-op has some new competition on King Street West. Patagonia, a California-based retailer that specializes in eco-conscious clothing for outdoor sports, has opened its first Canadian location at 500 King Street West, just west of Spadina.

Patagonia carries a range of clothing and gear for men, women and children, for activities such as hiking, climbing, surfing, yoga, skiing and snowboarding. It also sells packs and other travel gear.

The clothing is designed, the company says, with “a bias for simplicity, utility and quality.”

I like its collection of heavy duty winter jackets, a few of which look like they’d be ideal for a cold day of snowboarding. While they’re pretty pricey, I don’t doubt that the high quality insulation is well worth the price for anyone who spends time outdoors during a Canadian winter.

Overall, Patagonia’s collection seems pretty similar to the one offered by Mountain Equipment Co-op, though less comprehensive – Patagonia doesn’t seem to have the extensive footwear, cycling or camping offerings that MEC is well known for.

The two companies also share a similar commitment to sustainability. Patagonia uses recycled polyester in many of its items, and uses organic, rather than pesticide-intensive, cotton. It has a mandate to manufacture products with processes that cause the least harm to the environment. The company also “rigorously” polices its waste and uses a portion of sales to support environmental groups.

Overall, this is a pretty admirable commitment to a cause that not enough retailers support. Maybe this is part of the appeal that Patagonia has among consumers. It’s certainly been successful outside of Canada, with more than 50 stores throughout the United States and overseas.

At a time when sales of technical athletic apparel at stores like Lululemon Athletica continue to climb, I’d say Patagonia stands a good chance at succeeding in the Canadian market.

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