The Next Big Thing: Simons’ Journey As a Modern Menswear Mecca

SHARP & Simons

The internet has made shopping much more convenient — but has it made it better? If you’re at all interested in menswear, you know that it’s never been easier to buy clothing from your iPhone while in line to renew your passport. But sorting through the thousands of brands that now exist and finding pieces that speak to you can feel even more daunting than it used to.

That’s why, much like with the streaming services we use to help us discover new TV shows to watch, it’s the act of curation that sets a store apart from its competitors. Without a point of view, a store is just a collection of clothes instead of a snapshot of the landscape in menswear at a given time. It’s exactly this editorial emphasis that makes Simons unique in the Canadian menswear space.

The contemporary and designer collections that can be found at the sixteen Simons locations across Canada are pulled together by a team of buyers led by Angelo Panagiotou, VP of Men’s Buying, Menswear, for the Quebec City-based company that was founded in 1840. “It really comes down to the edit,” says Panagiotou, who, along with menswear buying director Maxime Brierley, spoke with us over video after returning from Milan, where the two were finalizing orders for the fall 2023 season. “We’ve gone through all the clutter out there and have brought back an assortment of items that we feel reflects your needs as a modern man that wants to dress well. Our job is to make things simple for our customers, who want solutions that make them feel confident.”

simons menswear feature

“It’s so interesting to buy now and cater to the modern customer,” adds Brierley. “It’s really a privilege to help dress men today. Our customer is more adventurous in his clothing, but you can’t just throw stuff at him, you have to put together something that is going to resonate with and be a solution for him.”

Part of that job is also keeping up with trends and ensuring the collections that Simons curates cast a wide net aesthetically — especially in 2023, when the monoculture has died and made way for dozens of smaller sartorial subcultures that are all in conversation with each other, even if from afar. This includes keeping an ear to the ground and stocking up-and-coming brands before they hit the mainstream.

Recent Simons collections, all of which are available on or in their Edito departments in store, have spotlighted such brands as Ernest W. Baker, which combines European elegance with rustic Americana; Casablanca, whose refined takes on aprèssport leisurewear are the brainchild of Franco-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer; and the eponymous brand of Grace Wales Bonner, one of the rumored frontrunners to replace Virgil Abloh as creative director of menswear at Louis Vuitton before the role was eventually given to Pharrell Williams.

“When you come into a Simons store, you can discover your next favourite brand,” says Brierly.

“That’s the biggest compliment,” adds Panagiotou. “Hearing someone say, ‘I found that at Simons.’”

Browse more Simons menswear here.