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Rapidly Growing Canadian Outerwear Brand FREED Opening Multiple Pop-Ups as Business Expands

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FREED, a Canadian Vegan outerwear company, is going to be opening multiple pop up locations in Canada and internationally. 

Opening in 1921, the international company is a fourth generational garment manufacturer based in Winnipeg Manitoba. The brand originally started out as a pant factory; however is now known as a luxurious outerwear brand focusing on sustainability and vegan products. 

“I took over 13 years ago. My great grandfather started the business and it originally started out as a pant factory and then when my grandfather took over it was still a pant factory – but started leaning into outerwear. When my father took over, he continued onwards with more of a focus on outerwear and structured goods such as blazers. I essentially grew up living and breathing in the garment industry so it really is ingrained in me. We are 100 years old and in our fourth generation – very few companies last like we do,” says Marissa Freed, the CEO of FREED. 

New Pop Ups Coming Soon 

Image: FREED

As FREED focuses on outerwear for the winter months, Freed said the pop up locations will be opening hopefully by the end of October. Before the pandemic, Freed said consumers would typically start looking for their winter clothes in July and purchase in August; however, today she has noticed a difference. 

“We are finding now that people are purchasing more on a needed basis, so more in real time. We are trying to open pop up stores in October when the weather begins to turn and people truly start focusing on outerwear. We are from Winnipeg – nobody knows the cold like we do and we want to make sure that everybody understands that FREED has something really luxurious to keep people warm, to make people feel better, and elevate their look.” 

As for pop up locations, Freed announced there will be a couple opening in Toronto, one opening in Winnipeg, one opening in Montreal, a couple opening in the United Kingdom, and one in New York City. 

In addition to opening new pop up locations, Freed said she is gearing the company towards focusing on more zero waste initiatives. Freed started thinking more about these initiatives once she started her family. 

“Once you start having kids, you start to look at things differently. Like you start to worry a bit more about the environment than you used to, what the world is going to look like when they are older, what you should or should not be eating and the list goes on – it is endless. So I am being more mindful about the world my kids will grow up in and that leads me to the zero waste initiative that is currently in the Freeds line, to be much more mindful of animal welfare, and we truly believe we can achieve our zero waste goal as possible.” 

Consumers can count on all products at FREED to be made and designed in Canada, be 100 percent vegan, cruelty free, uses eco textiles, slow waste production, and Freed said she is always looking for new ways to be more sustainable and every year she brings on a new sustainability initiative and will in 2023. One way Freed says she reduces waste is she doesn’t do deep discounts because of how that drives overconsumption in stores – which is “not the point of FREEDS mission.” 

FREED also keeps everything local as all of its products are designed and made in Winnipeg Manitoba, where the company first began, as it is important to manufacture in Canada. 

Individuality at FREED 

Image: FREED

Each product at FREED celebrates individuality as the outerwear can be worn in different styles and for different reasons. The FREED product line also consists of matching outerwear for children and their mothers – creating a stylish look for everyone. 

The products at FREED include jackets for adults and kids, accessories, and also collaborations with other companies such as Indigo and Section 35. 

“We celebrate individuality at FREED. We truly believe we have put a collection together that is trendy but it also serves a variety of needs for our target market which is truly between 25 years old to 85 year old customers. By serving those age groups, we are celebrating individuality as our products can be worn in so many different styles, for different reasons, and at the same time be mindful of the changing world and continue our initiatives every year.” 

Image: FREED

To show individuality at FREED, Freed says they recently completed a photoshoot for its new collection in a local Winnipeg grocery store and entered a lot of Manitobah products. The new photoshoot includes every different age group, gender, how customers can have fun with the coats, and how they can use the products. The new lookbook will show how FREED has elevated its products while pulling in the town where it all started. 

In 2023, customers can also expect FREED to expand its vegan leather offerings, accessories, and to have increased its collection. Freed says they have always been known as producing high quality products and because of that she does contract work for a lot of major brands such as the Canadian Olympics athlete uniforms and she even designs for the RCMP. 

“We stand above and beyond any competitor in regards to quality, fabric, and also our zero waste initiatives. There is nobody that knows quality like us, fabric, and I don’t think there is anybody that knows outerwear like us. To still be there, not only as a fourth generation, but after the pandemic, I am grateful. There is so much more to come from us and I truly believe that the sky’s our limit.” 

Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala, based in Toronto, is a new Journalist to Retail Insider. She has experience writing for local newspapers and also internationally for Helsinki Times while she lived in Finland. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree from the University of King’s College and a Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

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