By Helen Siwak
Wuxly Movement is a proud animal-free outerwear company based in Toronto. As the world’s luxury brands are increasingly discontinuing the use of animal fur and exotic skins in their collections, Wuxly is proudly out in front with the times, creating animal-free outerwear that effectively rivals the warmth, and perceived elevated social status, of wearing fur. Co-founders James Yurichuk (BC Lions, Toronto Argonauts player) and Anthony DeBartolo have never wavered in their stance and continually strive to make their production, products, and packaging as green as they can be.
Wuxly started lean in numbers, with everyone wearing multiple hats. It started with a small group of like-minded persons with passion, vision and an eagerness to get the brand off the ground. The company did not bring in outside investors, and this decision did come with extreme challenges and pressure, but Yurichuk explains that they had a solid group of advisors and a strong team that allowed them to excel in the current retail climate. It was a way that allowed them to run the business with total control of the vision. “Having the ability to make decisions on positivity rather than profit strengthens the integrity of the brand. The integrity attracts the talent and people that want to work on a purpose-driven project.”
Wuxly employs a unique production process that utilizes military grade and innovative sustainable fabrics and implements the most stringent fair labour practices. Their VeganTech Shells are sourced from a 100-year old company in Montreal which employs a ‘clean water’ policy—every ounce of water that leaves the facility is clean, after being tested and treated for any water pollution. Additionally, they reuse the heat from the dyeing process to help power the facility.
The Wuxly manufacturing facilities also implement some of the highest labour standards in the world, and local production allows the company to work with, and give back to, the community. They pride themselves as being a connector brand being inclusive for all people, regardless of lifestyle or priorities. Consistent throughout branding is the word ‘warmth’ and all the connotations that this evokes. “Canadians are known as warm people, it’s in our DNA, and we have certainly delivered warm products to the world,” says Yurichuk.
“What makes our brand position unique is that warmth extends beyond the product itself. It is treating workers warmly by making it in fair labour conditions in Canada, the technical and recycled materials we utilize that respect our planet and peacefully leaves animals out of the equation. Lastly, it’s treating our community warm by creating a lasting relationship that they can contagiously spread back into the world. It’s a full circle of 360-degree warmth for us. I think all groups can get down with warmth.”
The company is currently establishing its design house on Queen Street West in the Trinity Bellwoods Parks. Facing the park, the location is easy to overlook, and that is how the company wants it. “It’s our lair, it’s where we cultivate a small rebel force of young talent,” says Yurichuk. “Trinity-Bellwoods is a happy and warm place, a neat hub for creative and fashion minds alike. There’s a fresh, fun and cool vibe that spills from the park. This aura definitely makes its way into the Wuxly Barn, reverberates through our team and is evident in the products and experiences we deliver.”
Trade Up Program
Unique to Wuxly is the Trade Up Program, which encourages patrons to bring in outerwear that has fur and contains down and receive a credit towards the purchase of either a men’s Elk Parka or a women’s Doe Parka. Their website lists brands that are acceptable and not acceptable for Trade Up. Luxury outerwear brands such as Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles, Mackage, Nobis, and Moncler, are included and will garner a trade-in value of $75-$275.
The program is one of many attractive features of the brand, especially for those in the growing vegan lifestyle community, which have embraced the brand and their stance. The Wuxly mission ‘Living Warm,’ contributes the traded-up jackets (minus fur trim) to partner homeless shelters such as Lookout Society, The Mustard Seed, Refuge des Jeunes De Montreal, Eva’s, Brands For Canada, and Youth In Transition, for distribution to those who need warmth to survive.
Wuxly is introducing three new parkas as part of their Fall/Winter Collection that will appeal to a broader audience and be suitable for all winter conditions, including one that will be completely waterproof, good down to temperatures of -30C, and more streamlined with an urban look.
Additionally, Ontario’s thriving film industry made over 50 requests in the past year for heavy duty jackets. This progressive industry is demanding animal-free products for their production people, the local movie set suppliers, and Wuxly is looking forward to collaborating to ensure that those in this demanding industry have the parkas that protect them against the elements.
The brand is stocked in 21 locations across Canada in most provinces (1x NB, 1x QC, 16x ON, 1x MB, 2x AB) and at Moo Shoes in New York. British Columbia is a province with a demographic that will definitely embrace Wuxly and the company is currently planning a vendor strategy.
Led by the Brand Development Team, and spearheaded by Julie Crossland, the company has been nurturing a relationship with Sports Chek over the last year and a half. The Canada-wide sporting goods chain has been watching the brands direction and after a strong showing at Toronto Fashion Week this past February, activity has stepped up.
“Manoeuvring between wholesale, e-commerce, and direct to consumer retail takes multiple layers and depth. Now it’s about taking our level of execution to the next level, combining our passion with excellence, and creating warm moments for our clients and community,” says Yurichuk. “We will begin the roll-out of Fall 2019 with strategic locations across Canada; a few notables include Yorkdale, Collingwood, and Chinook Centre in Calgary.”
Although the brand has undergone many name changes since launching in 2012 as Mammoth Outerwear, then Wully Outerwear, and since August 2018 has been known as Wuxly Movement, they have always been dedicated to their core belief to create outerwear that is warm, cruelty-free, and vegan.
As the shift in the marketplace away from animal products continues to grow, brands such as Wuxly, are ahead of their competition and will continue to innovate and lead the way with their humane policies, extensive field-testing, and great style.
Helen Siwak is the publisher of EcoLuxLuv.com Magazine, content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her rescues. firstname.lastname@example.org