Tag Archives: Outerwear

Difficulties at Danier

The intense competitive pressures that have wreaked havoc on Canadian retailers in the past few years are showing no signs of slowing down.

The latest victim is Toronto-based Danier Leather Inc., a 44-year old leather-goods retailer that filed for creditor protection in early February. The chain operates more than 80 stores, all of which face the prospect of shutting down unless the company can find a buyer or investor to reverse its grim financial situation.

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The potential closure would leave vacancies in most major GTA shopping centres, including the Toronto Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Square One, Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, among others.

Danier has carved out a reputation as a destination for leather goods. The brand has certainly had success within that niche, with a wide range of leather outerwear and bags, along with complementary accessories such as scarves, toques and gloves.

As frigid Canadian winters have driven consumers towards parkas and down-filled coats warm enough to get them through days when the temperature struggles to surpass -20 degrees, however, Danier has faced increasing competition from brands such as Canada Goose.

Even if the bulk of Danier’s merchandise is designed for times of year when a lighter jacket is appropriate, consumers who are shelling out hundreds of dollars on winter parkas have likely begun to think twice about spending extra cash on a new spring jacket.

It remains to be seen whether this niche Canadian chain will be rescued, or suffer the same fate as such brands as Mexx Canada and Parasuco Retail Inc.

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Filed under Fashion

Retailer relaunched

A west-end retail destination for trend-setters has unveiled an updated brand, a fresh feel, and a new suite of designer brands.

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Riant Boutique, located around the corner from the Thompson Hotel in the trendy King Street West area, has re-launched its identity.

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The women’s fashion retailer offers a mix of casual and dressy fashions, including accessories and outerwear. The relaunch was an opportunity for the boutique to introduce some new labels into the mix and re-energize the brand.

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The new and improved boutique is bright, spacious and welcoming. Its new roster of designers includes A.L.C., Alice and Olivia, Mackage, Ted Baker, Vince, and many more coveted labels.

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The upscale merchandise features up-to-date trends, including furs and warm winter coats that are sure to appeal to local fashionistas who are buckling down for another cold winter.

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Side note for readers: I thought the ‘relaunch’ theme of this post was appropriate given the recent hiatus of Retail Realm. Although other endeavours have kept me busy in recent months, I’m still committed to covering Toronto vibrant retail scene! Stay tuned for more.

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Filed under Boutiques, Events, Fashion

Minimalist style, straight from Montreal

Montreal-based leather design house m0851 has carved out a bigger and better presence in Toronto’s retail scene.

The company, known for its high-end men’s and women’s leather outerwear, bags and accessories, has recently opened two new Toronto boutiques: one on Avenue Road in Yorkville, and one in Bayview Village.

The Yorkville store, which opened just before Christmas, replaces a boutique that the company previously operated just a few blocks away, on St. Thomas Street just south of Bloor.

With a minimalist and casual style, m0851 pieces are generally versatile and functional – practical, but fashionable. The design team behind the collection aims for quality and durability in the materials and construction of the items.

The entire collection is produced in Montreal – a refreshing detail in a world where most of the items we buy seem to be manufactured in countries with questionable labour practices.

Similar to the company’s collections, its boutiques are modern, clean and simplistic.

It has four stores in the Montreal area, along with one in Vancouver and a new one in Calgary. Outside of Canada it operates stores in New York, Paris, Belgium and Taiwan.

The chain is certainly growing, and as it does, more Toronto locations could emerge. Keep an eye out for a potential new street-front store on either Queen Street West, King Street West, or in the Yonge-Eglinton area in the year ahead.

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Filed under Boutiques, Fashion, Store Closures

Oliver Spencer lets in the ladies

Gentlemen, move aside. Your favourite Queen West clothing destination has a new collection, and it’s not for you.

Oliver Spencer Dartmouth Mac coat, $685.

British clothing brand Oliver Spencer has brought the designer’s women’s fall/winter 2011 collection to its flagship store at 962 Queen St. W. in Toronto.

The collection features eight pieces, including dresses, skirts, coats, jackets and shirts.

Similar to the menswear pieces that Oliver Spencer is well known for, the items in the women’s wear collection are crisply tailored and constructed with high-quality fabrics, but with a feminine twist.

Pieces in the high-end collection range from about $215 to more than $650. Wearable but elegant, I imagine the new collection will be warmly embraced by Toronto shoppers.

I particularly like the coats and jackets in the collection, which are simple but modern and beautifully tailored.

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Filed under Boutiques, Clothing Lines, Fashion

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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Filed under Boutiques, Shopping Hubs