Craig and Lee discuss the exciting arrival of Kith, an international fashion brand known for its trendy streetwear, in the upscale Yorkville area of Toronto. The 10,000 square foot store will feature a unique ice cream bar concept called Kith Treats. This move is expected to attract a younger, affluent demographic and enhance Yorkville’s reputation as a high-end shopping destination. Other retail developments in Bloor-Yorkville are also covered in this episode.
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Retail Insider content discussed this episode:
- New Brands Transforming Toronto’s Yorkville Avenue Into Youthful High-End Retail Destination [Feature]
- Yorkdale Launches Unprecedented 100,000 Square Foot Luxury Retail Expansion in Toronto [Feature/Photos]
This is a Retail Insider Podcast. You’re listening to “The Weekly”.
Lee Rivett 0:08
Welcome to this week’s episode of “The Weekly” by Retail Insider. I’m Lee Rivett and I’m joined with the owner and publisher of Retail Insider Media, Craig Patterson, to discuss this week’s most read articles on retail-insider.com. So thanks for joining me, Craig.
Craig Patterson 0:22
Lee Rivett 0:23
And for this week, we have a new retailer coming to downtown Toronto in the Yorkville area called Kith. So where do you want to start, Craig?
Craig Patterson 0:30
Well, this is a really interesting one. We’ve been sitting on this information for a while. It’s a international brand – well its based in the United States, called Kith. A youthful, retail brand and has a few stores around the world. Really hugely popular amongst younger people. I found this out a few months ago when I started talking to people about it asking some questions because I was familiar with the name, but it wasn’t as familiar with the brand – because I’m too old and not cool enough. But learning that Kith was coming into Yorkville was something that ended up being an exciting announcement. Especially when I mentioned it to a couple of the 20-somethings that work with us or associated with us at Retail Insider. They were very, very excited when this announcement was made. And they started explaining to me more what the concept was about and really what it is Ronnie Fieg – who’s been iconic apparently according to Darryl on our team – has founded this brand called Kith. It’s mainly a fashion brand known for its streetwear I guess you would say. Quite casual clothing and the prices are not cheap. It’s not you know, fully a luxury price point but it’s not certainly inexpensive either. T shirts might be $100. A lot of stuff is over $100. Coming coming into Yorkville and creating some excitement.
Lee Rivett 1:49
Well as it comes into Yorkville, do we know what the store is going to look like or what’s going to be in it?
Craig Patterson 1:54
So what we know so far – we don’t have all the details but – the store is gonna be about 10,000 square feet, roughly. It’s going to be in a retail space that was vacated a couple years ago by a retailer called Anthropology. It’s located at 78 Yorkville Avenue. So it’s kind of at the foot of Bellair Street if you go north on Bellair street (where I live) right on Yorkville Avenue. That’s where this new Kith store is going to be. And what do we know about what’s going to be inside? Well, we know it’s going to be two floors. I’ve seen some renderings just fairly rough. I think that there’s some blue that’s involved in the interior in terms of the design, I saw some curved walls that looked really quite interesting. It looks like it’s going to be a really neat space, it’s going to have windows that are open on Yorkville Avenue that shouldn’t be a surprise for those who know the building. And it’s going to have something inside called Kith Treats, which is basically an ice cream bar concept or I think it involves an element of a cereal bar as well. These are located in these Kith stores and in the larger ones anyways, I should say which this definitely will be and will be a I think an extra element of fun as well as something to draw people there. I’ll probably go for the kith Treats. I may not be buying the clothing because I’m not cool and cool enough and I’m too old, but I will maybe I’ll buy a couple things but I nevertheless, I think it’s going to be an exciting addition to the neighborhood for a variety of reasons.
Lee Rivett 3:22
And I know that in downtown Toronto, there’s always a lot of hype for the Yorkville area – the shopping district that has a lot of the high end shopping and so on – but why do you think that this would be a good thing for the neighborhood of Yorkville?
Craig Patterson 3:36
I think for a few reasons it’s going to bring a young demographic into the neighborhood not that we don’t necessarily have that but Bloor Yorkville as as a neighborhood certainly has a bit of an older shopping demographic. Or at least until recently we started getting these really cool stores in the neighborhood. And again the customer that is gonna be shopping at Kith is going to have to have some money, there’s no question there. Whether or not they’re saving up their allowance or whether or not they just have money. I mean, there’s lots of youth that seems like in Toronto for one reason or another that have have a lot of money to spend. So this will bring that demographic into the Yorkville area. It’s going to be better for the neighborhood. It’s going to increase foot traffic. It’s going to give Yorkville that ‘cool factor’ that it may not have had before with this new type of retailer and I think it’s going to be good for some of the other retailers that are in the neighborhood as well. Another US based brand that’s quite youthful is John Elliott was just opened at the beginning of July across the street on Yorkville Avenue. Again another exciting announcement, interesting looking store. The Webster opened its first and currently only Canadian location in Yorkville just on Scollard Street right around the corner. Much more expensive I think in terms of its price point, but it does have that edgy kind of fashion. I think that the Webster actually does complement Kith quite well as being another US based high end multi brand retailer that is coming to the area. One thing I should say about Kith as well as Kith does have not only its own Kith brand within the stores, but it does carry some other brands as well. So, it is a bit of a multi brand retailer but a lot of people I think will know Kith for the actual Kith brand which I think I haven’t been into the Kith at Selfridges in London but I think that’s probably what that one would have. I can ask buddy of mine that was just there on the weekend visiting the UK. It’s a smaller concession within Selfridges. So But nevertheless, the big store here is probably going to have a few other brands as well that would be in the streetwear space and would be quite expensive, I think. So exciting retailer to have coming into the neighborhood.
Lee Rivett 5:50
And I know that Yorkville is a very established neighborhood – with retailers that are coming and going – but it’s a neighborhood as opposed to a mall. Now is there any retailer that you would think that may not be happy that Kith is coming to the neighborhood?
Craig Patterson 6:05
Well, there’s one retailer that could either benefit from this or could lose a little bit of a market share, I guess depending on how you look at it. CNTRBND has been in the Yorkville area for at least I think a decade now. It’s primarily Menswear. It’s a multi brand retailer with really really edgy unique stuff in it. My thought would hopefully be that these are going to be complementary brands and that people will shop both at Kith as well as a CNTRBND which again is a very trendy, youthful retailer. CNTRBND has two locations in Yorkville. It’s got its main store at 135 Yorkville Avenue, which is over towards Avenue Road, as well as I think it’s still called Archives by CNTRBND. It’s located on Bellair Street, really, really close to Kith. Actually, if you have a good throwing arm, you could throw a rock between one and the other. With my shoulder injury, I won’t try it but nevertheless probably could otherwise.
Lee Rivett 6:59
It seems to be a clustering of the youthful brands that are coming into the Yorkville area, right?
Craig Patterson 7:05
I think it’s really good news for Yorkville. And also I think it’s good given what we’re seeing with Yorkdale being definitely a destination for high end retail right now.
Lee Rivett 7:15
When I kind of see Yorkville as more of a high end retailer “Mecca”, right. And then if I was to go to “streetwear” I would kind of think of more “mall”, in my opinion, but does Yorkdale actually have any streetwear at all?
Craig Patterson 7:30
Yorkdale doesn’t necessarily have as much in the way say streetwear brands other than maybe what’s carried in retailers like Holt Renfrew which really does have a lot of expensive streetwear, very top brands whether or not that’s Givenchi, Balenciaga, Imiri – again Palm Angels. I was just talking about those brands being at the Webster but they’re also up at the Yorkdale’s Holt Renfrew Store as well as Holt’s Toronto on Bloor Street.
Lee Rivett 7:41
While we’re on the topic of Yorkdale like what luxury is happening up in that neck of the woods?
Craig Patterson 7:57
Yorkdale is certainly getting a lot of luxury stores – it’s about to get a lot more – it’s just like it never ends. So anything that can be done in the Bloor Yorkville area to bring in shoppers that can afford to buy things I think is really, really important. Just given that we have these two nodes that are playing off of each other in the Toronto market for high end retail. They’re really the primary two nodes now, I would say is we’re seeing the city continued to develop. And again, I think just having Kith in the Yorkville area is is a really wonderful addition to the neighborhood. It’s going to bring youthful shoppers down with some money and it’s going to, I think, hopefully maintain the neighborhood as a destination as opposed to perhaps some shoppers going up to Yorkdale. Not that I’m saying people shouldn’t go to Yorkdale but just we want to see Yorkville continues to succeed as well just because it hasn’t lost its luster but it certainly has lost some shoppers to Yorkdale. There’s no question just because Yorkdale has some stores that Yorkville doesn’t have and that may change in the future and is beginning to but nevertheless – it is what it is. I think things are going to continue to progress.
Lee Rivett 9:07
Now do you think that Kith will bring more streetwear brands to the Yorkville area?
Craig Patterson 9:11
Quite possibly, I’m not aware of any names yet specifically. I wouldn’t I wouldn’t doubt it at this point. We had a trendy sneaker store – was it called “Capsule”. I don’t know if it’s still there.
Lee Rivett 9:25
Oh, no, no, it’s still there. 69 Yorkville Avenue. It’s down in the lower level.
Craig Patterson 9:29
Oh, yeah. Yeah. And I think more youthful streetwear brands could look at Yorkville after the opening of Kith and with John Elliott being in the neighborhood with CTRBND having its presence. This could become another node for for street wear. Particularly I think being expensive. Just given the demographic we would be seeing coming into the neighborhood, the demographic that lives in the Yorkville area, that demographic that’s coming up because there’s a few thousand residential units that are proposed are under construction right now in the area. Quite some of the are very expensive depending you got some smaller units but you also have quite a few units priced at over $5 million. Maybe some younger people might be in there I don’t know a lot of retirees will probably be moving in as well. But I think on top of that, again the rents just being a little bit higher in Yorkville are going to bring in higher end retailers that can afford to pay the rents versus those that can’t.
Lee Rivett 10:20
Well, moving away from Kith, what else is happening in Yorkville?
Craig Patterson 10:23
What we’re seeing a few other retailers opening. I think pretty soon we’re going to see that luxury resale retailer “Mine and Yours” based out of Vancouver opening its first store in Toronto. Courtney has been posting on social media that it’s coming – it was her birthday recently too. That’ll compete and probably compliment Oliver’s or Oliver’s Jewelers (I don’t know if it’s called jewelers because it’s mainly luxury bags. I think it’s got some jewelry). But Russell the Cash Man has his store which has been operating for a couple of years across the street on Yorkville Avenue. Again, Reformation opened just at the end of 2022 – Los Angeles based sort of eco friendly bohemian women’s fashion brand – is not super expensive. It’s not cheap, but it’s not a luxury brand. We reported recently on it was at the hand cut diamond concept VRAI opening at 111 Yorkville Avenue upstairs. Which on the main floor is a retailer called Veronica Beard, which also just opened quite recently. It’s the first one in Canada. It’s a New York City based women’s fashion brand. So Yorkville Avenue is hopping I mean in terms of getting retailers on the street. Diptyque, the French fragrance and candle branded lots people know it for its candles, recently opened a shop. It’s there for a period of time, it’s kind of a pop up only because the building at some point will be demolished. I’m not sure exactly how long it’ll be there for but it’s it’s a cute looking store. It looks great. I popped in last week to look around and I think it’s a terrific addition to the neighborhood. So Yorkville Avenue is coming together. I’ve been watching this progression, I think from the beginning, when Christian Louboutin opened on Yorkville Avenue in 2016. That was kind of the beginning of what we were seeing with this new luxury push. So the street already had a few fancy stores it had Kiton, which is part of the V Hazleton store. But when Christian Louboutin came in with its corporate store, that was 2016 I think, really the beginning of things and then from there and 2017 Chanel came in and I was just like, oh my god, you know when Chanel comes into the neighborhood. That’s when all the other brands really really take notice because it’s one of those super brands that exactly that really establishes something I mean, if if Chanel went into the downtown East side of Vancouver and if zoning permitted it, you will start seeing other brands like that probably moving in. Maybe I’m being really optimistic, but that would be my guess if it ever happened, which it wouldn’t but you know, anyways, that’s sort of how luxury retail works. So with Yorkville Avenue, that was the progression that we saw with Christian Louboutin, we saw Chanel come in and the First Capital REIT formerly Realty really has been instrumental in this movement along with its related consultants that we know having brought in brands like Versace, and Brunello cucinelli, which apparently is doing very well with it store in Yorkville Avenue, Stone Island, a contemporary brand with pretty pricey stuff. So again, the whole neighborhood is coming together which I think is terrific. And then on top of that, too, we’re seeing a bit of a movement along Bloor Street which is two blocks south of Yorkville Avenue.
Lee Rivett 13:20
Speaking of Bloor Street. Anything new going on there from the retailer front as well?
Craig Patterson 13:26
So Bloor Street, formerly “The Mink Mile”. There is a really exciting stuff happening on Bloor Street as well. So again, I’m just I’m so happy to see things coming together. This fall alone, Bloor street along that luxury run – which is kind of between St. Thomas and Bellair on the east side and Avenue Road on the west side just to keep it simple – we’re seeing stores for Rolex opening. Van Cleef and Arpels is doing a corporate store. Saint Laurent is gonna hop over from Holt Renfrew as a concession and do this 10,000 square foot flagship store at 110 Bloor Street West which is going to probably look like it’s about 20,000 square feet from the outside because I think it’s going to have a two level facade. So it’s going to be have this really significant presence on the street. Other new retailers coming in September or October (probably September), Alexander Wang, a New York City based fashion designer, Paris Baguette which Dustin and I actually toured the construction site a few weeks ago. I think Anne Fontaine is probably still coming I’m not sure I think so. And Bonpoint, which is a children’s retailer is gonna be opening at 151 Bloor Street West I should probably do an article on that. But that’s and then further towards Young Street on Bloor Street. There’s some interesting retailers coming. Hopefully that Apple Store is still coming of course. I mean, that was some news for a while but Arc’teryx, there’s a really big store under construction. It’s almost 10,000 square feet. I think it’s gonna have a double height facade as well, just looking at the way the building is during construction. Bloor Street is getting a new Browns shoe store, which is exciting. We need more footwear in the neighborhood, I think. And then eventually the Nordstrom Rack store there’s going to be an announcement made for the former Nordstrom Rack space for a new tenant there as well. So nearby there’s going to be Bowling Lanes at The Ballroom, which will have a food and beverage component to it. This is One Bloor Street East and more things are to come to the neighborhood. So Bloor-Yorkville I think is going to be a really, really interesting place to shop and to visit and to live over the next few years. And I mean, it’s a great place to visit and live. So I encourage people to come down visit, spend some money, there’s great restaurants, there’s all kinds of services, beauty services, if you want nail salons, hair, everything else. So it’s really this clustering of businesses as well as residents that have made Bloor Yorkville a very unique neighborhood. There aren’t many neighborhoods like this in North America. Very, very few actually. You do see around the world, a few global cities that have these types of neighborhoods like say Mayfair in London, or the Eighth District in Paris. Salamanca, I can’t pronounce that in Madrid. But anyways, you think of these different cities and these different higher end neighborhoods in the inner core. Well, this is one of them. So I’m excited to continue to report on Bloor Yorkville here is things continue to progress here with Retail Insider.
Lee Rivett 16:35
Absolutely. And again, thanks for going through Kith with me because that was a brand that I wasn’t as familiar with, as well as giving us a little bit of an update on Bloor as well as Yorkville, generally. So, again, thanks, and chat with you next week.
Craig Patterson 16:49
Absolutely. We’ll be reporting on Kith. We’ll be reporting on the opening. I’m excited to be there. And thank you so much everyone for listening. Take care and bye for now.
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