Brooks Brothers Brings Flatiron Concept to Toronto

My brother is about the last person I would go to for style advice. His affinity for 501s and a sweatshirt doesn’t inspire much confidence in his apparel approval abilities. Fortunately, there’s a new brother in town.

On Saturday Brooks Brothers debuted its new Flatiron concept store in Toronto at the corner of Bloor and St. George, an intriguing choice of space given this is only their fifth store in Canada and first foray outside of New York with its new Flatiron concept.

Unlike Brooks Brothers traditional sea of suits and shirts, the Flatiron shop is decidedly more collegiate – hence its proximity to U of T. Though the meticulously well-staged, 3,400 square-foot store showcases an impressive assortment of men’s and women’s sportswear, the focus is clearly on the guys.

Customers will walk into a veritable kaleidoscope of colour, as clothes reflect a quintessentially preppy look. Coloured chinos, polos, shorts and shirts reflect a casual but sophisticated style.

In addition to clothes we’re already coveting, like those curated by esteemed New York designer Thom Browne under the brand’s Black Fleece label, the store features vintage furniture more in line with a posh fraternity pad than, say, Animal House. Exposed brick walls and props like trophies and croquet mallets set the tone. In a nod to its location, the store features a mini hockey shrine in the lounge-like lower level inspired by the 1967 Stanley Cup-winning Toronto Maple Leafs (not that most of its customers will remember).

Brian Shaughnessy, Brooks Brothers Country Manager, talks about the brand’s experience in Canada since its arrival in 2009.

The Flatiron Concept
The Flatiron concept was conceived three years ago by our owner Claudio Del Vecchio. We started to see a younger customer shopping in our stores abroad. They were coming to us for what we call a preppy, university, almost Harvard look of clothes. Flatiron is Brooks Brothers looking towards a new generation, although it’s more about an attitude or mindset versus age.

Why The Annex?
Our locations are destination locations. When we opened Brooks Brothers three years ago in Vancouver on Alberni Street, there was little around. Today, we have great neighbours. Bloor Street is a prestigious address but we didn’t want to be in Yorkville because that isn’t really our customer base for Flatiron. The whole concept with Flatiron is we want people to come in and just sit, relax and enjoy it. That’s why we have the lounge downstairs. We’re going to host literary and photography clubs and craft beer tastings to fully cater to the community.

Toronto’s Style
We tailor the collections here more closely to the European market than the U.S. This means more styles, slimmer, trimmer cuts and more colour. We brought a lot of colour to the market.

Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop is located at 262 Bloor Street West.


2 thoughts on “Brooks Brothers Brings Flatiron Concept to Toronto”

  1. Their description of choosing the Annex/U of T area of Bloor was interesting.
    The story I heard from a senior person from Brooks Brothers in NYC was that the head office only viewed the new location on Google Earth and never visited the site before they made the decision.  It looked “close enough” to the higher end fashion retailers in Bloor-Yorkville.

    Alberni Street is NOT like Bloor and St. George.  Alberni and Burrard Streets have Agent Provacateur, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, and Hermes.  Bloor & St. George has the Fox & The Fiddle pub, a Guardian Pharmacy, and two not so bad indie coffee shops.
    U of T (owners of the building) was hood-winked when they were told this new tenant would provide “athletic wear” for their students.  What student can afford $600 blazers and $85.00 ties?  U of T didn’t even consider offers from other retailers offering direct products and services to their students and staff.

    Great store but wrong neighbourhood and even worse building and corner.

    •  I find it hard (read: impossible) to believe that a company as large as Brooks Brothers – more than 400 stores in the US and around the world and a team of staff based in Canada – would select a location site unseen to debut a new concept store. 

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