Canadian Fashion Retailer ARDENE Launches 1st Menswear Line [Photos]

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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Fashion retailer Ardene, after more than 40 years catering to a female customer, is launching its first-ever menswear line in select stores across the country as well as online.

ARDENE’S NEW MENSWEAR LINE AVAILABLE ONLINE AND IN SELECT STORES ACROSS CANADA

“We’re really excited to be launching our first-ever menswear line. It’s something that we’ve actually had in the works for quite some time,” said Elisabeth Couture, the company’s Creative Director of Brands.

“It’s an introductory collection which really focuses on wardrobe staples and basics. Pretty much the things that we live in every day. Our amazing team of designers took great care in putting together stylish basic needs from quality materials with a special focus to finishing and design details. We really wanted to create pieces that guys would want to wear every day and with a quality that allows them to do so all the while keeping it super accessible.

“Ardene is all about accessibility and that was really one of our driving forces in creating this collection.”

Ardene has just over 400 stores in Canada. For the moment, the collection will be in select stores as well as online.

“We want to make sure that the stores that have the menswear line are able to host the menswear and to merchandise it in a good way,” said Couture.

Will it be expanded to more stores in the future?

“We’ll see what the future holds but if the line does well and we feel that the demand is there, absolutely.”

MALE MODEL WEARING PIECES FROM NEW ARDENE MENSWEAR COLLECTION. PHOTO: ARDENE

ARDENE MAN ETHOS IS “CONSCIOUS AND CONFIDENT. DESIGNED WITH PURPOSE” HIGHLIGHTING SUSTAINABILITY ELEMENT

The Ardene MAN ethos is “Conscious and confident. Designed with purpose.” It reflects what many male shoppers are after: fashion that is both stylish and functional. The collection itself offers basics that customers will want in every colour. Pieces have been designed for casual and everyday looks, and range from classic tees to joggers, denim, hoodies, and sweaters — all from $14.90 to $44.90, said the retailer.

“We’re really all about democratizing fashion. We don’t think that fashion should be exclusive and we think it should really be celebrated by everyone. Attainability has always been super important to us and we’re always looking to make fashion fun, approachable, affordable for our Gen Z customers and beyond,” said Couture.

“I think we really noticed that there was an opportunity in the market for Gen Z that don’t really have the same access to style as girls. And why shouldn’t they? Now more than ever people are really looking for choices that align with their style, their values and their budget. And especially in the Canadian market we felt there was an opportunity for us there.

MALE MODEL WEARING PIECES FROM NEW ARDENE MENSWEAR COLLECTION. PHOTO: ARDENE

“As far as potential barriers to entry, we’re cautiously optimistic. While it’s really our goal for guys to welcome us and adopt into their wardrobe, we realize that they might not embrace us right away being a brand that has been around for 40 years in the womenswear market. But we really look forward to the opportunity to win them over.”

For the time being, the retailer will be merchandising all of the menswear offer together with the rest of the store’s current format to make it an easy shopping experience for the men who choose to shop there. The presentation will be appealing and will be apparent immediately when customers walk into a store that carries the menswear line.

Couture said the company continues to take steps toward sustainability which is an important value for Ardene and its Gen Z customers.

“So it’s really important that we send this way of thinking into our offer for this new community of men as well. As such we’ve included a selection of eco-conscious pieces that feature sustainable fabrics and/or processes,” she added. “And that’s something that we’re really looking to continue with with this line and with our Ardene offer in general.”

*Ardene continues to source pop-up opportunities through 2020. Depending on the market and site, the current size requirement can range from 6,000 square feet to 30,000 square feet.  The stores are all corporately owned, and Dave Azran at Urban Rebel Consulting is handling the real estate search. (Real Estate Representatives: Dave Azran, Urban Rebel Consulting (514-402-0161  dave@urbanrebelconsulting.com)

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