Inside Hunter Boots’ 1st North American Flagship [Photos]

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UK-based fashion brand Hunter, known for its rubber wellington boots, has opened its first standalone North American location — and only its third globally. More locations could follow in Canada, according to Hunter CEO Vincent Wauters

The 2,800 square foot store is located in the Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing at Yorkdale Shopping Centre, in a retail space located between Samsung and a recently opened Roots flagship. 

The Toronto store was designed by Hunter’s in-house interior design team, led by Creative Director Alasdhair Willis, husband of fashion designer Stella McCartney. The store’s design is described as follows: "It reveals the sky and exposes the space to the elements, with the store’s internal envelope acting as a protective canvas to the external landscape lining the perimeter of the space. Visitors ‘look out’ from the contemporary barn architecture onto a backdrop of the Scottish Highlands - the birthplace of the Hunter brand." Additionally, Hunter confirms that "in-store weather elements will be changed seasonally."

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(Click photo for interactive Yorkdale mall floor plan) 

(Click photo for interactive Yorkdale mall floor plan) 

The store’s flooring is fashioned from strips of rubber from the Original green boot, and the store also features mid floor tables that will double as seating, using natural oak and Douglas fir. 

Hunter’s 30-foot wide Yorkdale storefront is "reminiscent of a contemporary greenhouse giving the sense that the sky is surrounding customers upon entry where they are immediately immersed into the brand world of Hunter.” 

CEO Vincent Wauters explained that Hunter is seeking out store locations in a selection of the world's most cosmopolitan cities, where locals and tourists can converge to experience the Hunter brand in its entirety. Having a retail store allows Hunter to showcase its brand in a way that isn’t possible in a multi-brand retailer. 

Given the rainy climate on Canada’s West Coast, Vancouver could eventually see a Hunter Boots flagship store, explained Mr. Wauters. Nothing is confirmed at this time, however, and the company will expand methodically into markets that make sense for the brand. 

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('Toronto Limited Edition Original Top Clip Backpack’, exclusive to the Yorkdale location)

('Toronto Limited Edition Original Top Clip Backpack’, exclusive to the Yorkdale location)

The Yorkdale store carries Hunter’s fall/winter 2017 collections for men, women and children, including Hunter Original footwear, outerwear and accessories collections alongside the Hunter Field technical collection. As well, to mark Canada’s 150th birthday, Hunter has released a limited-edition backpack in red and white that will be adorned with a red maple leaf. The 'Toronto Limited Edition Original Top Clip Backpack’ has been crafted from rubberised leather and it will be exclusive to the Yorkdale location.

Hunter’s first freestanding retail store opened on Regent Street in London in the fall of 2014, measuring about 5,300 square feet. A second location opened in the spring of 2016 in Tokyo’s Ginza district, spanning about 3,100 square feet. In Taiwan, Hunter also has a partner store in Taipei. The interior design of the Yorkdale store is somewhat lighter and brighter than the London and Tokyo stores, explained Mr. Wauters. 

Hunter Boot Ltd. was originally established as North British Rubber Company in 1856 and it is headquartered in Edinburgh, Scotland with offices in London, New York and Düsseldorf, Germany. In the past, the company was also involved in the manufacturing of rubber tires, conveyor belts, combs, golf balls, hot water bottles and rubber flooring. Being a heritage brand, Hunter holds several Royal Warrants by Appointment as suppliers of waterproof footwear. One of Hunter’s most recognizable products is its ‘Green Welly’ boot, which is now manufactured in China and is favoured by the hunting set. 

*Photos are courtesy of Hunter. 

Canadian Retail News From Around The Web: November 17, 2017

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