Innovative Technical Apparel Brand Launched by Former Lululemon/Kit and Ace Exec

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By Craig Patterson

A new technical apparel men’s brand has launched in Canada that could revolutionize the menswear industry. Called Ædelhard, the brand is a partnership with former Lululemon/Kit and Ace exec Darrell Kopke and Michael Nguyen, the renowned bespoke tailor behind Toronto’s Garrison Bespoke

  Darrell Kopke - Founder and CEO at Ædelhard Sport Culture Inc. Photo: LinkedIn

Darrell Kopke - Founder and CEO at Ædelhard Sport Culture Inc. Photo: LinkedIn

   Michael Nguyen  - Founder at Garrison Bespoke

Michael Nguyen - Founder at Garrison Bespoke

The Ædelhard brand is headquartered in Vancouver, and it’s seeking out selected retailers in Canada to carry the line. Mr. Kopke revealed that he’s in discussions with several prominent multi-brand retailers doing business in Canada to carry the line, which has a refreshing simplicity as well as a messaging of respect, rooted in the sport of rugby. 

Ædelhard says that it aims to solve the problem of ill-fitting, uncomfortable business attire, and it appears to have solved it well. The brand currently features a selection of separates that can be mixed-and-matched with ease — Mr. Kopke wore a suit that he explained felt like a sweatsuit, and has been tested in the gym. Aedelhard applied bespoke tailoring to technical stretch fabrics to make the "world’s most comfortable suit".

The line includes suit jackets, trousers, shirts and accessories, at a contemporary price point that makes it accessible to many. On its website, prices are in US dollars, with its performance blazer priced at $399, performance trousers at $149, oxford shirts at $119, and toques, priced at $39. Ædelhard also sells rugby kits including high quality duffle bags, water bottles, umbrellas, and even first aid kits. 

The Ædelhard brand is rooted in rugby culture, which is known to embody civility, respect, and inclusivity. ‘The world needs more rugby”, said Mr. Kopke, who’s line even includes high-quality, attractive branded leather rugby balls that can be used for sport, or for display purposes (priced at USD $199 each). 

Mr. Kopke partnered with Michael Nguyen of Toronto’s Garrison Bespoke, and for good reason — Garrison Bespoke is known for creating custom suits for some of the world’s best-known athletes and celebrities —  NBA star LeBron James, actor Ryan Gosling and rapper Drake are known to wear Nguyen’s suiting. 

Rugby culture and athletics transcend into the brand’s design — Mr. Nguyen, who is Ædelhard’s head designer, uses body mapping to ensure the Ædelhard silhouette fits perfectly on a more athletic build, while offering exceptional movement and comfort. It packs well and doesn’t wrinkle much, meaning it’s also great to pack for traveling. 

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The line even has a charitable component, and a goal —  Ædelhard supports youth rugby by donating 2% of its sales through programs to promote the sport, with a goal of making rugby one of America’s top five sports by the year 2022. 

Mr. Kopke says that Ædelhard could operate its own standalone stores some day, though the company is starting out with wholesaling in other retailers. He noted that Ædelhard would only open stores in selected markets if at all, in order to keep the line exclusive as well as to be respectful to its wholesale partners. 

Ædelhard could be the next big thing in menswear, and it’s Canadian. The collection can be viewed at Ædelhard’s new website: aedelhard.com.

We've included a few product shots in a slideshow below. 

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Craig Patterson, now based in Toronto, is the founder and Editor-in-Chief Retail Insider. He's also a retail and real estate consultant, retail tour guide and public speaker. 

Follow him on Twitter @RetailInsider_, LinkedIn at Craig Patterson, or email him at: craig@retail-insider.com.

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