Foot Locker Canada Launches Indigenous-Owned Streetwear Brand in Stores [Interview]

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Foot Locker Canada is launching its newest Home Grown brand, Section 35, an Indigenous-owned streetwear brand.

Foot Locker’s Home Grown platform showcases local up and coming designers throughout the US and Canada, connecting communities with brands that are the future of streetwear. 

The Vancouver-based brand was founded by Creative Director and Designer Justin Louis, in which the name comes from Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution, the part that recognizes and affirms Indigenous and Treaty rights in Canada.

“So there’s a political undertone to the name and obviously it’s a big piece of who we are as Indigenous people and our rights. So we took that and put a creative spin on that and it kind of became the name for the brand and it’s been with us ever since,” he said.

The brand was launched in 2016. 

Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Section 35 on FootLocker.ca

Louis is a member of the Samson Cree Nation and was born and raised in Nipisihkopahk (Samson) on Treaty 6 Territory. He is a fashion designer, photographer, and graphic designer – his work blends the past with the present and finds inspiration in the juxtaposition between these elements. 

He launched Section 35 in 2016 with the intention to use art and fashion to tell his people’s stories. The brand’s products were previously on display at the Metropolitan Museum

The launch of its presence in Foot Locker stores will expose the brand to a greater consumer audience. Section 35 officially will launch at Foot Locker stores online at FootLocker.CA and in-store at the following locations: Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Quebec City, Ottawa and Halifax. 

“This collection features a lineup of ready-to-wear staples from bomber jackets, hoodies, tees, and cargo pants. I am always moved when we compare the past, the present, and future. The graphics are inspired by my exploration around the imagery of the past and my internal dialogue around imagery that can be found in the public domain including some of my own ancestors’ imagery,” he said.

“Our stronghold is probably here in Western Canada and we do have a reach into the Western United States. I would say 70 to 80 per cent of our online sales are probably in Canada and maybe 20 per cent goes into the States.”

Louis said the retailer would love to have a bricks and mortar presence in the future with the brand. It’s been a goal of his for a long time but the company is not ready for that yet plus the market is uncertain.

Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

In the past, Section 35 has worked with some other retailers to grow its presence as well as pop-ups including one with Foot Locker at its Robson Street flagship store in Vancouver.

“It’s special to be recognized by a company the size of Foot Locker and for them to believe in the work that we are doing and who we are as a brand to be prepared to bring us in. I think it’s important as well giving a brand that comes from maybe a community that’s a little more marginalized a chance to bring our culture and our art and our work to a broader audience. I think that’s awesome,” said Louis.

“It’s an opportunity for us to reach more of our customers across the country. Some people don’t like to order online and it’s helping us to have a reach into some of these other markets that are a little bit further away from where we are. I think that’s really cool. People can go in and actually try on the product and touch it and feel it.”

Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Section 35 x Foot Locker Canada (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Foot Locker at Yonge Dundas Square (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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