When it comes to fashion brands establishing hubs in Canada, Toronto used to be the go-to. It wasn't even much of a discussion 10 years ago. But recently there has been a shift and we've seen more and more businesses choosing to open in Vancouver first. Such is the case for American sustainable athletic footwear and apparel brand Allbirds.
Their 2,000 square-foot space on West 4th and Vine in Kitsilano will open its doors to the public Thursday, June 23.
Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Allbirds Joey Zwillinger says of the decision: "The Allbirds brand and products meld so well with the Vancouver lifestyle: casual, outdoor-oriented, and an epicentre for health and wellness." He adds that "the Kitsilano neighbourhood is the pinnacle example of this in the region," making it the perfect complement to the store's ethos of sustainability and comfortable movement.
Allbirds began in 2016 with shoes, specifically ones that were made for everyday low-impact wear but that were extremely comfortable. Over the years the collection has slowly expanded to include more high-performance running and hiking shoes with the new tree flyer shoes just launching. They also introduced a capsule of men's and women's workout clothes and a small selection of loungewear.
Because the brand is sustainability-focused, Allbirds has kept its product line-up to a minimum and chosen to focus on materials which they then improve upon and relaunch products based on feedback.
The fibres are either natural and responsibly-sourced, such as sugar cane and bark that's harvested in a closed-loop process, or materials that are made from recycled bottles and cardboard. Allbirds also has several shoes that are made with merino wool that are incredibly comfortable.
"The Canadian consumer understands natural materials quite well, particularly around Merino Wool in colder climates, and also values products with no compromise, while also making as little of a dent on the planet as possible," says Zwillinger. Which is part of the reason they chose to expand into Canada now, after the success of the online business coming out of Vancouver.
A Toronto store will also be opening in Yorkdale later this year...but we were first here in Vancouver.
@vancouverisawesome @Allbirds is opening its first store in Canada and @editorialallie got to go check it out. #vancouverisstyling #allbirdsshoes #sustainablefashion ♬ Aesthetic Girl - Yusei