‘SOIA & KYO’ to Open First-Ever Retail Location

 Construction signage at Square One. Photo supplied.

Construction signage at Square One. Photo supplied.

By Craig Patterson

Popular Canadian outerwear company SOIA & KYO is the latest brand to announce that it is opening its own retail stores, with its first location set to open in August at Mississauga’s Square One shopping centre. 

The retail space will span about 2,300 square feet, according to the company, and will be located across from Square One’s Apple Store near the mall’s impressive Holt Renfrew-anchored ‘luxury wing’. The SOIA & KYO retail space will feature “beautifully crafted wood and metal” and “a warm inviting colour scheme,” with more details to come ahead of its August grand opening. And when it opens, the store will carry SOIA & KYO’s Fall/Winter 2018 collection including knitwear, blazers, wool jackets and coats, leather jackets, transitional pieces, down coats and accessories.

Brokerage Aurora Realty Consultants represents SOIA & KYO under the direction of Jeff Berkowitz, who negotiated the Square One deal on behalf of the retailer. 

 Click for interactive mall map

Click for interactive mall map

SOIA & KYO was founded by Quebec-based designer Ilan Elfassy in 2004 when he launched his first women’s outerwear collection. In 2010, he expanded the line by introducing men’s fashions. The line has become quite popular and is known for its made-in-Canada high-quality, warm garments that are priced slightly less than some premium outerwear brands such as Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles and Mackage

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The brand’s styling includes unique elements such as oversized buttons, asymmetrical collars, wide belts and contrast trimmings. Notable items include a range of classic trenches, soft suedes, and leather jackets as well as a variety of wools, downs and rainwear. The company says that its jackets are “designed to be the perfect balance between fashion and comfort”.

SOIA & KYO is a division of The APP Group, which is a family-run company based in Montreal which also owns fashion brand Mackage. The brand is available in an expansive range of multi-brand stores in North America, ranging from small boutiques to larger stores such as Nordstrom

Brands are now opening their own retail stores at a pace not seen in the past, and several notable outerwear brands have recently gone in this direction. Sister brand Mackage now operates stores in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver and New York City — its first store opened in October of 2015 at CF Carrefour Laval, and more are said to be in the works. Canada Goose opened its first-ever permanent storefront at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the fall of 2016, and the brand continues to open stores globally, with several more to soon be announced for Canada. Edgy Montreal-based Moose Knuckles unveiled its first North American store at Yorkdale in the winter of 2017 in a unique space designed by Canadian firm Burdifilek

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Opening stores often results in higher profit margins than those from wholesale accounts and as such, brands are looking to go direct-to-consumer. Canada Goose, which sources say has secured at least four more spaces in Canada to open stores, says that its own stores have margins of about 60%, compared to 43% from wholesaling.

Brands are also opening stores to showcase their product in a curated environment that best reflects the brand, while offering dedicated customer service as well as the possibility to offer exclusives, hold events, and otherwise engage with consumers in a way that might not be possible in a hosted multi-brand space. 

SOIA & KYO wouldn’t say if more stores are in the works just yet, but noted that there is demand for the brand and to “keep an eye out and stay tuned”. 

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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