Harry Rosen Partners with Toronto Raptors President Masai Ujiri on New Capsule Collection: Interviews

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Iconic Canadian retailer Harry Rosen has taken another step in its journey to support diversity in partner designers. 

Harry Rosen has teamed up with Toronto Raptors Vice-Chairman and President and Giants of Africa Founder Masai Ujiri to present the Humanity capsule collection in its second consecutive year.

Building on the #ThatsHumanity movement that Ujiri launched in 2020, the 10-piece athleisure curation is inspired by values of diversity, inclusion and community partnership.

The 2.0 capsule collaboration is between business leader and philanthropist Ujiri and celebrated Canadian luxury designer Patrick Assaraf.

Image: Masai Ujiri & Harry Rosen 2.0 capsule collaboration with designer Patrick Assaraf.
Trinh Tham

Trinh Tham, Harry Rosen’s CMO, said the partnership is one the company is thrilled to be bringing back with Masai Ujiri for the second consecutive year.

“We reached out at the beginning of 2020 to see if Masai would be interested in partnering with us. We got talking and our values are very much the same. He’s a leader and we’re very much about being seen as leaders and supporting a lot of our customers who are leaders. Inclusivity and diversity is a really important value of Harry Rosen’s and that’s obviously something that Masai Ujiri I think everyone knows has been a champion of both for the Raptors and through his efforts with Giants of Africa.

“We got to talking and he was just about to launch the movement #ThatsHumanity and we wanted to express our support for #ThatsHumanity through fashion. Masai’s a very stylish person, leader, and it just all kind of came into place.

“This 10-piece athleisure collection that we created is inspired by the values of diversity, inclusion and community partnership. We did a collection last year, a seven-piece capsule, and it sold out almost immediately and did very well. Last year’s collection featured a hoodie with the word Humanity created across the front and Masai’s actual handwriting.

“This year the collection is comprised of various hoodies. We’ve added a tie-dye fleece option with matching sweatpants and an assortment of logo print T-shirts and a full-zip Humanity logo merino sweater as a very special limited collection piece.”

Tham said one of Harry Rosen’s values has always been inclusivity. 

“The organization has been undergoing a business transformation, a digital transformation, and a transformation to really reach out to a younger and different demographic of customers. As part of our brand evolution, our brand refresh actually, that we also launched in the fall of 2020, we decided that we wanted to work with role models – role models who exhibit the same values that we believe in – leadership, creativity, passion and inclusivity,” she said.

“We started wondering who in Canada could exhibit those and Masai Ujiri came to us right away. And we really wanted to focus on supporting the BIPOC community. In fashion, the BIPOC community is one of the areas that we as an organization believe very strongly that we need to do more to support. We have a commitment internally to bring on more designers from the BIPOC community, supporting and nurturing that community from a fashion perspective as well with our internal staff.”

The collection will be available in time for the holiday season exclusively at Harry Rosen in early December, in-store and online. The capsule items will join shelves that also feature lines from new BIPOC designers Bohten and Aller Retour.

“The #ThatsHumanity movement is meant to challenge all of us to seek out and embrace the things that make us human,” said Ujiri. “Inspired by Nelson Mandela’s fight for equality for all people, it is expressed through stories, shared experiences and art—all of which is represented here in the beauty of fashion.”

John Millar

A key component of the 2021 Humanity capsule project will be a donation to community partner Water First Education & Training Inc. Founded in 2009 to bring drinking water resources to rural schools in Uganda, Water First began working in Canada in 2012. The Water First Internship Program supports young Indigenous interns to become certified water treatment plant operators within 15 months—with 90 per cent of the pilot Internship graduates employed or pursuing further education within weeks of completion.

Larry Rosen

“Absolutely everyone should have sustainable access to safe, clean water,” said John Millar, Executive Director and Founder of Water First. “This support from Harry Rosen and Masai is a critical investment in Indigenous youth and communities that will help solve water challenges independently, and in the long-term. We are inspired to have new friends from diverse walks of life join us in making a meaningful impact together.”

Larry Rosen, CEO of Harry Rosen, said the company is thrilled to partner in this project.

“It is a priority for us to raise funds for charity, support local communities and remind the world that there’s more that unites us than divides us,” he said.  

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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