Hudson Bay’s Fashion Director on (Finally) Launching Menswear at The Room Vancouver
Menswear enthusiasts rejoice: The Room, The Bay’s luxury shopping mecca, has finally launched its first men’s offering in Vancouver, geared towards the local market. “Discovery is at the core of The Room,” says Hudson’s Bay’s VP, fashion director Tyler Franch. “We have curated the collections to appeal specifically to the Vancouver market, while still highlighting The Room’s unique point-of-view; one that’s more forward-thinking and conceptual, with a strong representation of each designer’s brand DNA.”
The concept is simple and effective: curate a selection of the most exciting menswear designers from around the world, and let the clothes do the talking. The metallic environment features metal tread flooring, silver walls and ceilings to create a “clinical look” that’s meant to highlight the product. Franch’s bold edit means luxury stalwarts like JW Anderson, Junya Watanabe and Marni hang alongside buzzy newcomers including South Korea’s KUHO and Andersson Bell.
Here, Franch tells Sharp how he curated the space and offers some fall styling tips along with his favourite pieces of the season.
Why launch menswear now at The Room Vancouver?
I think when we were looking at The Room in Vancouver, we recognized that there was a really great opportunity for that market to really take [the concept] and localize it to that customer. We really looked at not only menswear being important to that space, but the inclusiveness of price point. There’s a great breadth of price points from emerging designers to your pillar brands like Balmain, Margiela and Haider Ackermann. We’ve really taken this idea of the customer, and really thought about how that customer shops and taking the approach of merchandising through the lens of their needs.
Tell me about the space and the brand mix.
We took a few different approaches to merchandising that space through that lens of localizing the product, one of which is a strong focus on emerging brands. The emerging brands for men can be found within this silver space that mixes men’s and women’s handbags, accessories and footwear all together with really that lens of emerging and nurturing. So, what we’re bringing into that space is we’re calling micro pop ups, and one of which is really interesting in men’s is this focus on Korean brands, which we see popping up all over the place. Then, from a men’s perspective, we’re bringing in brands that I’m hoping would be the first time a Canadian customer is introduced to them.
What designers are you most excited about introducing to Canada?
I think Andersson Bell is a great brand to bring to Canadian customers. The price point is right, the seasonality is right and the styling of these Korean brands has never felt more right. People are looking for that comfort whether it’s a bit of an oversized look, tons of great knits, and the quality is always excellent. So, right now, those Korean brands feel really special and I feel really excited about the opportunity that they have with our store.
Then there are some killer brands in men’s that we buy, I think, the best in the country, like JW Anderson. The ethos of The Room has always been to buy through the lens of how the designer would like to see the collection on floor. I’m always pushing to have the last exit from the show and the first exit show be part of our buy because arguably those are some of the most important looks of the designer feels represent the collection that season. We introduced Marni in the same way, and I’m super excited to continue representing it in the way the designer loves to see it shown on the runway. Also on very advanced side of things, [we carry] brands like Haider Ackermann, Margiela, and Ann Demeulemeester. I’m super excited to see how far we can push it from a fashion perspective in a market like Vancouver where we know fashion is incredibly important.
Any fall styling tips?
Again, back to those Korean designers: I love Wooyoungmi , Solid Homme, [these] amazing brands that I feel are doing tailoring in a more contemporary way. So, whether you’re wearing them as head-to-toe suit or back to a pair jeans, or even with shorts now – I love that styling with the shorts and suit – brands like that just do [tailoring] so well because it just feels so effortless and easy.
Plans to expand to other Canadian markets?
We’re always looking at great opportunities for The Room. And one of the biggest stories I’d say beyond Vancouver is introducing our full breadth of designer TheBay.com. Right now, you’ll see our soft launch of what designer will look like on our website for fall and then looking forward to see spring ‘21 you’ll see sort of a whole relaunch of designer on the site as well as a much more elevated shopping experience for our customer.
Tyler’s Fall Edit
Rick Owens DRKSHDW Drawstring Cargo Pants
JW Anderson Patchwork Mohair Merino Wool Blend Sweater