Canadian Fashion Brand Garage Launches 1st Unisex Apparel Line: Interview

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Cutting-edge Canadian fashion brand Garage has launched its first-ever collection of unisex apparel.

The Montreal-based retailer, which was established in 1975 and today has 190 stores across North America, says the collection, officially dubbed GARAGE FOR ALL, is anchored in everyday basics and novelty pieces with a special focus on earth tones and heavy fleece.

“I think it’s important for us as a brand that we’re a safe environment, we’re a platform for all. So like it was why leave anybody out. We’re really about self-acceptance, self-love, and the whole point of the brand was really Garage for All and unisex gave us the opportunity, that window, to say everybody loves everybody for who they are and with no exceptions,” said Mary Ann Vitale, the company’s Senior Director Merchandising.

“There are no more boundaries. You are who you are . . . It’s no longer a him, her, she . . . It’s people . . . We’re about radical self-acceptance. So really about making a breakthrough with the community and being self-aware of who you are with no boundaries and just being yourself. That’s what brought us to launching the unisex brand.”

Image: Garage

Currently, the initiative is primarily online but the concept has been in a few pop up stores – a shop in a shop. Right now, it’s in the downtown Montreal store.

There will be a drop of the collection every month.

“It’s continuous. We’re not doing this as a one-time rodeo, pony show. We believe in this. We’re going for it as a brand. So we will have a drop every month. We are definitely committed to moving forward with this initiative as part of our brand,” said Vitale.

“We will continue to open up potentially some pop up stores. Now we are in Montreal. In November, we will potentially open up one in Toronto as well. And in Chicago we’ve done it as a pop up as well.”

The GARAGE FOR ALL unisex campaign was directed by film director Mikey Alfred, known for directing the film North Hollywood, shot by famed photographer Sandy Kim, and styled on both female and male cast members to showcase its range of interchangeable looks.

Rooted in functionality and comfort, the GARAGE FOR ALL capsule features timeless basics including t-shirts, crewnecks, sweatshirts, chunky knit sweaters, cozy button ups, and woven cargo pants. With a focus on modern neutral colours such as ginger, walnut, deep amber and pebble grey, the GARAGE FOR ALL unisex line offers versatile styles and shades perfect for the transition between seasons, while remaining fluid between male and female styles, said the retailer.

“Working with such a dynamic group of individuals on this campaign was a way for our brand to showcase the relaxed yet bold range of the collection,” said Stacie Beaver, Chief Merchandising Officer, Groupe Dynamite Inc., which operates the brands Garage and Dynamite.

“The slightly heavier fabrics allow for a more premium look and feel while still remaining accessible to our customers. We’re excited to expand our community with this new line of comfortable yet cool pieces designed for everyone to share.”

Vitale said the unisex collection will include all the different apparel that are being carried in the regular line.

The target customer market for the unisex collection is basically the same as the typical Garage demographic which is about 16 to 25 years old.

“I think it goes beyond making this right for the brand. I think it just makes it right for the community . . . Obviously there’s a financial gain for it for sure but that was not the initial purpose. The initial purpose was really making sure that we heard our audience of customers and where they’re going and what they believe in and we believe in the same things so really just amping up and building our community as one was really the primary objective of all of this,” added Vitale.

Article Author

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 is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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