Reformation to Open 1st Tech-Heavy Canadian Flagship Store in Toronto

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Innovative eco-friendly US-based women’s fashion brand Reformation will be opening its second storefront in Canada this year, this time showcasing the company’s technology-driven dressing rooms in a flagship space in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville area. Reformation entered Canada in 2019 with a store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre and now the expansion is picking up again after the pandemic. 

The flagship at 87 Yorkville Avenue opens mid-December, spanning 3,556 square feet on one level. The retail space, accessed by a short flight of stairs, was occupied by a Clarins spa until about a decade ago and has housed numerous pop-ups since then. The new store will become Reformation’s second-largest globally with only a store in London’s Covent Garden being a bit larger. Reformation as a permanent tenant at 87 Yorkville Avenue is a welcome addition to the area which is seeing new high-end retailers opening nearby, including several luxury brands. David Wedemire of brokerage DWSV negotiated the lease on behalf of Reformation, and Allied REIT manages the building. 

“We’re excited to bring the brand to life for more Toronto customers with our new flagship store in Yorkville. Canada is our fastest growing international market and our Canadian customer is focused on being fashionable, while also living a sustainable lifestyle,” said Hali Borenstein, CEO at Reformation in a statement. 

“This will also be our first Retail X store in the market, which is a great way to add magic back to the shopping experience. Through our one-of-a-kind technology, customers can spend more time getting to know the brand and the product compared to a typical retail experience.”

New elevator for the future Reformation store at 87 Yorkville Avenue on November 7, 2022. Photo: Craig Patterson

87 Yorkville Avenue on November 7, 2022. Photo: Craig Patterson

A total of eight Retail X “magic wardrobes”, will be located in the Yorkville flagship. Touchscreen monitors will be placed throughout the store where customers can digitally choose the styles they’d like to try on while shopping. The consumer’s selections will then populate into one of the store’s dressing rooms. Additional touchscreens are included in each dressing room to order new sizes or styles, and the magic wardrobes (two-way doors) will allow for product fulfilment to a customer’s room without having to leave. Customized lighting options in the fitting rooms will allow shoppers to see how a garment may look in ‘golden’ light vs ‘cool’ lighting with another lighting option being ‘sexy time’. 

The store will feature localized merchandising and regional assortments of products and a dedicated Canadian landing page on Reformation’s website will allow for shopping in Canadian dollars. Also included on the website will be localized imagery, copy, pricing, North American size guides, and payment options like ApplePay, PayPal and Klarna.

Sustainability is a focus of the new store. All Reformation stores are designed with sustainability in mind, using natural and recyclable materials including vintage furniture, eco-friendly fabrics and hangers, and reusable totes. Reformation says that it offsets 100% of its electricity with renewable energy.

Reformation dressing room. Image supplied
Image: Reformation website
Yorkdale store. Photo: Jeff Berkowitz

Reformation’s first Canadian store opened in the summer of 2019 at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in a 1,650 square foot space in the mall’s Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing that opened in 2016. Reformation is located between a new Psycho Bunny flagship and Zadig & Voltaire, and is across from retailers Williams Sonoma, Away, Muji and Uniqlo.

The much larger Yorkville Avenue flagship is Reformation’s ninth store to open this year, bringing its total store count to 36. Six of those are located outside of the United States with four stores being in the UK. 

It’s not yet known if Reformation will open other stores in the Canadian market — Vancouver and Montreal could be targets depending if the right space can be found.  

Reformation, known for its sustainability focus, is also known for being a “cool girl” clothing company (as stated in Allure). Reformation has become popular amongst celebrities such as RihannaTaylor Swift, and model Karlie Kloss and the celebrity endorsements have reportedly led to the brand seeing strong sales exceeding $100 million annually. The company says that its goal is to create designs that are ‘sexy, edgy and feminine’, utilizing sustainable methods and materials. 

Video via BuzzFeed

Reformation began by selling vintage clothing out of a small Los Angeles storefront in 2009. The brand quickly expanded into making its ‘own stuff’, with a focus on sustainability. In 2019 Reformation announced that it had sold a majority stake to Permira Funds, a private equity firm known for investing in labels such as Valentino and Proenza Schouler. 

We’ll follow up on this story with a visit to the store next month. 

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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