By David Agren - Monday, January 14, 2013 - 0 Comments
Slim, stylish, and—in case of an emergency—a shield
Colombian fashion designer Miguel Caballero dresses world leaders, the rich and famous and even royalty, with his slim and stylish bulletproof garments. Now the man known as the Armani of bulletproofing wants to outfit a new and unlikely clientele: schoolchildren. Capitalizing on the fears of parents after the slaying of 20 first graders in Newtown, Conn., Caballero recently launched a new line of children’s clothing under the MC Kids label. It includes bulletproof T-shirts durable enough resist a Mini-Uzi, reinforced puffer jackets that weigh only five pounds, and a backpack that doubles as a shield.
Caballero says he’s no opportunist, just responding to demand—albeit reluctantly. Over the years, he’s received repeated requests for kids’ clothing from clients in Asia and the Middle East, but always refused, “because I believe that minors should not be part of the conflict.” But the Bogotá-based designer does big business in dangerous places, including his native Colombia, where former president Álvaro Uribe wore bulletproof guayabera shirts, and Mexico, where he opened an outlet in the capital’s posh Polanco neighbourhood. Now he has America’s parents lining up.
By Rosemary Counter - Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 1:40 AM - 0 Comments
The working man’s department store rebrands itself to chase a female demographic
Indifferent shoppers might not notice, but look up: Mark’s Work Wearhouse, the massive Calgary-based clothing retailer best known for it’s firm grasp on the working-male market, is now just Mark’s.
“Research showed that although the name grew us into an enormously successful business, it was limiting our growth,” says Wendy Bennison, vice-president of operations. After 35 years, 380 stores and counting, and a $166-million price tag when Canadian Tire bought it in 2001, Mark’s is rethinking its identity. “The words ‘work’ and ‘wearhouse’ over our door were creating misconceptions about the brand,” says Bennison.
The massive reinvention is now in “full rollout mode.” It began in a 26,000-sq.-foot flagship store in Edmonton, proved similarly successful in Winnipeg and Ottawa, and is moving further into Ontario this fall with 60 updated stores. One of the largest rebrands in the Canadian retail landscape in years, it includes store redesigns, new merchandise, a national marketing campaign and the name change.
By Joanne Latimer - Thursday, October 13, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 0 Comments
Canadians have a (delusional) wardrobe bias toward summer clothing
“It’s an odd form of denial,” says Alexandra Mélançon, creative director at Be Sleek, an image consulting agency in Montreal. “We have a wardrobe bias toward summer clothing in Canada. You don’t need 20 sundresses. You need 20 cashmere sweaters! It’s not like owning more shorts will create a longer summer.” Shame, that. “Those two weeks of perfect weather in July have a psychic grip on our imagination,” adds Caroline Alexander, co-owner of Ludique, a personal shopping service. “We have to talk people into balancing their wardrobes.”
Guilty! Facing a closet stuffed with sundresses, I lament packing them away. Mostly, I resent paying money for clothing that doesn’t fuel the myth of an endless summer. Catyanna Antoniou, a 23-year-old marketing student at York University, couldn’t agree more. “I own about 70 little dresses and 90 pairs of heels,” says the upcoming Toronto contestant on the reality show Princess. “If I have any baggy sweats or turtlenecks, it’s because I’ve stolen them from friends or my boyfriend. Eighty per cent of my wardrobe is for summer, with only about 20 per cent boring warm things.”
As the owner of the knitting store Americo Original, Nicole Sibonney is an unlikely person to exhibit summer shopping bias: “Oh, I have over 25 swimsuits—which I wear with linen pants—and I wear sandals through to the end of September,” she says. “It all creates a little fantasy. Psychologically, summer clothes take up less ‘room.’ ”