British fashion brand Ben Sherman, known particularly for its fine-tailored shirts, opens its first freestanding retail store in Canada tomorrow. The first 100 people to cross the freshly painted entrance of the store, strategically located in the heart of Toronto’s fashion district, will receive a free pair of this winter’s “it item,” EC1 Chinos ($128 retail value).
Unfair to the rest of Canada? I suppose. Toronto’s been accused of such undeserved luck before, and surely will be again. What’s important to note is the undeniable, ongoing maturation of our country’s fashion marketplace. Numerous renowned indie boutiques and brands in Canada have been exclusive to Montreal over the last few years, and the Toronto opening of Ben Sherman joins this year’s opening of Folli Follie in Vancouver in bringing the bigger names to exclusive, one-off bricks and mortar locations. If you build it, they will come: not just the customers, but the competitors, which is why DailyXY is particularly excited to see this latest luxe brand hit Canada.
Those familiar with the Ben Sherman label will not be surprised to hear us report on what amounts to, little-to-no hyperbole here, the future of window-shopping. A dynamic, interactive window display showcases a selection of seasonal products. At the push of a button, passersby can have articles of their choice brought to the front of the display in isolation and shown 360 degrees.
Beyond the high-tech storefront, the interior boasts an open concept, English-style shopping experience that is straightforward, simplistic and easy to navigate. In alignment with Ben Sherman’s heritage of modernism (though no longer the “mod” bit of modernism, aka the label’s infamous Union Jack and target imagery), the retail space is contemporary and sophisticated, with white and black tile throughout in addition to vintage-inspired lighting fixtures and furniture. Offered at the entrance is the new, premium Plectrum line, a first-class collection of modern menswear.
The pièce de résistance is the Shirt Bar, located at the back of the store and staffed by trained experts being called, we kid you not, shirteliers (not the most British term, wot?). Still, it’s a unique-purpose counter specifically designed to make it fun and easy to find the perfect shirt. Might be a good place to get collared.
Ben Sherman opens at 10am on Oct. 22. 734 Queen Street West, 416.603.7437
Image courtesy of Tara McCallum.