By Megan Harman
Modern clothing retailer Frank And Oak is making a definitive push into the womenswear market, with initial plans to open two new stores dedicated to its women’s collection.
The retailer, based in Montreal, launched as an online men’s clothing retailer and subscription service in 2012, focused on providing “elevated basics” for millennial customers. The company has since opened more than a dozen brick and mortar stores throughout Canada and the U.S.
Frank And Oak launched a womenswear collection in 2016, which strives to cater to fashionable and creative female shoppers.
“We knew that we had a female clientele at Frank And Oak when we where only carrying menswear. Women were buying our men's button-down shirts to wear them as dress-shirts or our t-shirts to get more of an oversized fit,” says Ethan Song, CEO and co-founder of Frank And Oak. “With that in mind, we knew we had the clientele for a new womenswear offering. This category is a fast growing part of our business and launching dedicated stores is a natural progression for us.”
Frank And Oak’s womenswear offerings have received an “awesome” response from customers, Song says. The brand releases new styles every week, and recently, it launched its first women’s suiting collection in collaboration with Canadian musicians Tegan and Sara.
The Montreal store, located at 160 St-Viateur St. E., suite 110, is situated next to one of Frank And Oak’s existing men’s stores in the artistic Mile End area. At a hefty 2,500 square feet in size, the new store was inspired by the look of a studio.
“The space is very vast and white is dominating,” says Song. “There are pops of colour here and there in the furniture we selected.”
The Montreal store opened to the public on Friday, Sept. 8th.
The new Toronto store, meanwhile, is located at 634 Queen Street West – a space formerly occupied by fashion boutique Leigh & Harlow, and just half a block from Frank And Oak’s Canadian flagship men’s store. The new store is 1,000 square feet in size, and will open to the public on Friday, Oct. 13 at 12 p.m.
Frank And Oak’s internal design team worked with an interior designer to create the new stores. The company also partnered with local Montreal-based companies to furnish and accessorize the stores, including furniture companies Élément de base and Mobilier de Gaspé, and lighting provider D’armes Luminaires.
In addition to featuring the brand’s latest womenswear collections, the two new stores will also feature large communal tables and lounge areas, where members of the community can gather for events and meetings.
“Frank And Oak always has been about its community and the experience. We believe that it is important to offer more than a shopping experience to our clients,” says Song. He says the event spaces could be used for conferences, magazine launches or even book club meetings. “We will also be very open to suggestions from our community,” he says.
Montreal and Toronto were “natural” choices for Frank And Oak’s first two womenswear stores, Song says, since the two cities represent the company’s biggest markets in Canada. The Mile End and Queen West neighbourhoods were strategically chosen, he adds, since they represent “the essence of our brand.”
Frank and Oak opened its first brick and mortar store in Montreal in 2013. Once the two new stores have opened, Frank And Oak will be operating a total of 16 stores in Canada and the U.S.
In addition to the two new dedicated women’s stores, Frank And Oak operates six stores that carry both menswear and womenswear. The company plans to add more brick and mortar stores, according to Song, however specific locations have not yet been confirmed.
Additional photos below are of the new Montreal Frank and Oak women's store. All photos are courtesy of Frank and Oak.
Megan Harman is a business reporter based in Toronto. She writes about topics including retail, financial services and technology. Megan covers Toronto’s retail industry through her blog Retail Realm (torontoretail.wordpress.com). Follow her on Twitter at @meganmharman.