Lifetime Collective is one of the most successful and respected brands in street wear to come out of Vancouver in the past decade. Yet surprisingly, it’s never had a retail space of its own—until now. Lifetime cofounders Reid Stewart and Trevor Fleming recently opened the doors to their first-ever store (4386 Main Street) with an intimate gathering of friends, supporters, and a handful of the many artists they’ve worked with over the years. So what took them so long?
“We were sort of lazy,” jokes Fleming, who, along with Stewart, took time out of the celebrations to talk to the Straight in the store’s back room—which doubles as the company’s studio/headquarters. “No—the whole thing just kind of aligned. We needed to move, and we thought it’d be great to have a retail store in front of our workshop, instead of just being on the second storey of some office building.”
Stewart adds, “And then in the process, we ended up finding this space.”
While setting up shop in new SoMa digs is definitely big news in the world of Lifetime, it’s not the only major change for this ever-evolving label. This year, Stewart and Fleming were able to buy their company back from some long-time investors. Also new: in 2012, they introduced the Uniform Standard series, a price-conscious collection of street-cred basics for old-school dudes.
“When we first started the company, we were into skateboarding, snowboarding, and music—and we still are,” says Fleming, who’s married to One of a Few owner Michelle Rizzardo. “But as we changed and got older, our interests changed—my wife started owning boutiques and started getting me into other types of fashion and different kinds of brands.”
Naturally, this exposure to a more eclectic mix of contemporary styles started to be reflected in Fleming’s Lifetime designs. This was great for creative fulfillment and attracting new customers, but Fleming and Stewart didn’t want to risk icing out their original fan base with this new direction and price point.
“We decided, ‘Wait a minute—what about all these people who helped support us and get us to where we are?’ ” Fleming says. “That’s why we segmented the brand.”
Now, Stewart oversees the Uniform Standard line and Fleming heads up the more contemporary designs for men. But they do so in a harmonious way, with both collections being displayed alongside each other seamlessly.
For example, in the men’s section of the new store, you’ll find the Uniform Standard Nolan jacket, a camel-and-navy hooded baseball bomber ($169.99). As well, there’s the Hatchet, a dark-blue denim logger’s jacket with a quilted lining ($109.99). Right next to these two classics, you’ll find the Reynolds: this russet, heavy waxed-cotton rain jacket with floral lining costs $249. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of crossover shoppers on the men’s side of things.
Over in the women’s section of the store, however, it’s a different story. There’s just the single core line of understated hipster-chic pieces like the chillin’ tapered floral Castaway pant. When it comes to creating stylish threads like these for the ladies, Stewart and Fleming leave it up to designers Jude Feller and Laura Tanner—a decision they made back in 2008.
“Reid hated designing women’s clothing,” Fleming says. “I loved doing it. I was like, ‘I just want to design women’s clothing—it’s so much more fun.’
“But in the end,” he concedes, “we both agreed that having a woman’s touch in the women’s collection made sense.”