Aritzia mixes fashion with art at new Park Royal store

February 14, 2014

Aritzia is celebrating its 30th year in business in a big way — like 7,000 square feet big.

The Vancouver-based company opened the doors of its largest Canadian store at the expanded Park Royal Shopping Centre in West Vancouver on Thursday.

“It’s very exciting,” says Corinne Kepper, Aritzia’s director of public relations, of the warehouse-sized shop, which sits among similarly glossy stores such as J.Crew, Sephora and Anthropologie in the outdoor shopping strip.

The new location is the company’s second-largest boutique after the 13,000-square-foot, two-level flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Aritzia has more than 50 locations across North America including Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and Toronto.

The fate of its original Park Royal North location, which was the company’s fourth store and was opened in 1988, will be announced later this month.

Shoppers can expect to see the same range of in-house brands such as Wilfred, TNA, Babaton and Talula inside the store, as well as outside pieces from brands including Mackage and Rag & Bone.

“Our different brands cater to different customers and their different taste levels,” Brittney Mackinnon, brand ambassador at Aritzia, says of the selection.

“You can wear one brand with another — they’re not necessarily exclusive to one age group or one style — it’s all about meshing.”

With large windows filtering in natural light, cabin-themed fitting rooms and high-ceilinged walls decorated with original paintings from local artists including Andy Dixon, the store is more like an art gallery than an everyday clothing store.

“We are very true to our Canadian roots,” Mackinnon explains of the design philosophy. “You can see that in the art that we choose, the furnishings and the artists we collaborate with — all of those things are still very Canadian and very Vancouver.”

The new Park Royal location also features touch screens and oversized video screens playing short films starring models wearing Aritzia duds for style inspiration.

“Every store we do is unique. We always consider installations, art and technology,” Kepper says of the various artworks scattered around the store.

The company’s growing focus on supporting local and female artists has been a work in progress, according to Kepper. And it just keeps growing.

“We started doing it about four years with York Lindsey Adelman … an artist in New York who does custom lighting,” Kepper says. “We’ve slowly been collecting and now we have enough stores and enough art that we can really start tailoring to each region.

“It just makes things come alive.”

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