By Megan Harman
British women’s fashion brand Oasis Fashion is breaking into the Canadian market, with the first location set to open in Halifax this month.
Launched in 1991 in the U.K., Oasis specializes in trendy, colourful clothing geared towards women between the ages of 18 and 50, with a focus on consumers in their late 20s.
“Oasis Fashion always has colourful, bright and happy clothing. It stands out for its prints and colours,” says Matthildur Baldursdottir, owner of the Oasis Fashion franchise in Canada. “The store will have everything you need, if you are going out dancing, going to a business meeting, just casual or if you want some accessories, shoes, bags or jewellery, we will have everything.”
Oasis Fashion operates nearly 400 locations around the world, including both standalone stores and concessions within department stores. After having developed a strong presence in regions such as Europe, the Middle East and South America, the brand is now turning its attention to North America.
With international fashion brands such as H&M, Zara and Massimo Dutti having had success in Canada, Baldursdottir says Oasis Fashion saw an opportunity to expand into the Canadian market, in particular.
Halifax was a perfect location for the chain’s first Canadian store, he said, given the city’s young population—thanks to five major universities in close proximity—and the rapid growth and development currently underway in the city.
“Halifax is a great city with the perfect balance of big city flare and small town charm,” Baldursdottir says. “There is no shortage of young people, which means the city is always alive. We think it is a good fit for the first store.”
The new store will be located downtown Halifax on Spring Garden Road, next to Judith and Charles and Lululemon, and across from Halifax Central Library. The store is 1,660 square feet in size and is divided into two sections: the front of the store is designed to be a bright space which showcases casual daytime styles; whereas the back of the store houses dresses and eveningwear.
“It is going to be a beautiful store,” Baldursdottir says.
Baldursdottir is already actively looking at expanding the Oasis Fashion franchise into other Canadian markets. Currently, he’s most interested in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver, with a focus on locations within shopping centres. Most Oasis stores are between 1,500 and 2,000 square feet in size.
The Halifax store's grand opening is on September 15.