Since pulling out of the North American market in 2011, Esprit was mostly remembered as a symbol of 1980s nostalgia and by its big red logo.
But after undergoing changes within its management and creative direction, the brand felt that it was ready to enter the Canadian market again.
The fashion retailer made its way back to Vancouver last month by opening a shop at Metrotown (4700 Kingsway), and recently celebrated its grand opening.
The 2,641 square foot space is the second Esprit standalone store in Canada, following behind Edmonton. It features earthy tones, brick walls, and wooden installations.
“Going back to its roots, it’s very Californian-inspired, natural, and environmentally friendly,” said Lawrence Routtenberg, co-owner and vice president of sales at Freemark Apparel Brands, to the Straight. “Keeping it just simple, clean, with a fresh new logo and just letting the products speak for itself.”
Routtenberg’s company is responsible for bringing the brand back into North America.
As for changes in Esprit’s clothing design and style, he acknowledged the brand’s fashion development.
“There’s definitely been an evolution in the brand, a little bit more faster fashion, a little bit edgier, but always keeping the foundation of very wearable, good quality, good price value for the customer,” Routtenberg added.
Inside the store, customers will be able to find women’s and men’s apparel, which ranges from casual wear to chic street style. Hot picks for the summer include men’s printed tees and women’s crochet tops.
“The quality didn’t change. The fits didn’t change. Fits and quality are as good [as before]. We just evolved in time, as any other brand evolves in time,” Any Marcotte, national brand manager of Esprit Canada, told the Straight.
The Esprit team has plans to open more retail stores in the city and across Canada. Metro Vancouver could be seeing shops spring up at Richmond Centre or Guildford Town Centre.
“It’s the right place for us to be, and I think everybody can find something because Esprit is not an age, Esprit is an attitude,” said Thomas Fröhlich, vice president head of wholesale for Europe and Americas at Esprit, to the Straight. “We embrace everybody here in the store.”
Scroll through the photos below for a look at the fashion retail storefront.