Canadian Outerwear Brand ‘Moose Knuckles’ Launches Significant Store Expansion

Popular Montreal-based fashion and outerwear brand Moose Knuckles announced this week that it is launching a significant store expansion within Canada and also globally. Included will be two permanent storefronts in Canada, two experiential pop-ups in Western Canada, a hard shop in Holt Renfrew, and international pop-ups in some of the world’s leading cities.

MOOSE KNUCKLES SET TO OPEN PERMANENT LOCATIONS IN VANCOUVER AND CALGARY

In Canada, Moose Knuckles will open two more permanent storefronts in Vancouver and Calgary this fall. Both stores are being designed by O’Neil Langan Architects, an award-winning New York based agency specializing in retail design.

The Vancouver Moose Knuckles location will open in October on the lower level of CF Pacific Centre in a 2,580-square-foot space next to Marc Cain and across from Sandro and Browns Shoes. The Moose Knuckles store will feature a layout revolving around a patterned iced glass structure.

LED technology will provide a ‘blizzard effect’ on loop making it appear as if one is walking through a storm into the store where jackets hang from fixtures descending from the ceiling. CF Pacific Centre is the leading shopping centre in downtown Vancouver and is anchored by Nordstrom and Holt Renfrew. Moose Knuckles competitor Canada Goose operates a store upstairs in the same mall.

In Calgary, Moose Knuckles will open a 2,280-square-foot location at CF Chinook Centre near the entrance to the mall’s Nordstrom location. The Moose Knuckles store will feature an expansive 45-foot facade with an interior featuring a central structure of gold scaffolding that “reflects industrial Calgary and merges high and low culture achieving a laid-back luxury,” according to the company. CF Chinook Centre is considered to be the leading mall in the Calgary area and is anchored by Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, and Hudson’s Bay. Other notable retailers include Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Canada Goose, and Burberry.

EXTERIOR OF MOOSE KNUCKLES STORE AT TORONTO’S YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE. PHOTO: MOOSE KNUCKLES

Earlier this month, Moose Knuckles opened a hard shop at Holt Renfrew Square One in Mississauga. It joins other boutique spaces in the store including Tiffany & Co., Moncler, and Gucci and others. The 140,000-square-foot Holt Renfrew store opened at Square One in the summer of 2016.

In Western Canada, Moose Knuckles will open two experiential pop-ups this fall. That includes a location on the second level of West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton in a 2,340-square-foot space between Swatch and Morphe, as well as at CF Polo Park in Winnipeg. Both stores are described as being “beautiful, immersive digital concepts” conceived by design firm Bureau Betak and brought to life by O’Neil Langan Architects.

The free-standing structures will feature functionality and design elements that hang from a framed structure, with each element dipped in a chameleon metallic gold. Both pop-ups will include a centrally located “chaotic” screen installation that features a clash of colourful images and animations illustrating the “uncompromising world of Moose Knuckles”.

MOOSE KNUCKLES SET TO OPEN EXPERIENTIAL POP-UPS ACROSS NORTH AMERICA, EUROPE, AND ASIA

Moose Knuckles is also opening experiential pop-up retail spaces in global centres including London, Milan, Dusseldorf, Stockholm, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Liverpool, Beijing, Shanghai, Philadelphia, and New York City. Bureau Betak developed a beautiful, digitally immersive concept for the European pop-ups and O’Neil Langan Architects created unique framed structures fully dipped in a chameleon metallic gold for North America and select Asia locations. Each pop-up includes a centrally located chaotic screen installation that features a clash of colourful images and animations illustrating the ‘world of Moose Knuckles’. 

INTERIOR OF MOOSE KNUCKLES STORE AT TORONTO’S YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE SHOWCASING OUTERWEAR. PHOTO: MOOSE KNUCKLES
INTERIOR OF MOOSE KNUCKLES STORE AT TORONTO’S YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE . PHOTO: MOOSE KNUCKLES

All Moose Knuckles stores and pop-ups will feature products from the Fall/Winter 2020 collection, including Power Puff, a new line of reversible, machine-washable puffers. Moose Knuckles is known for its exceptionally warm parkas and the brand has expanded to other fashion categories in ready-to-wear. The company is also known for its edgy marketing.

“While many companies have focused the lion’s share of their attention on the digital landscape, we have strayed from the pack, bolstering our efforts with a smart plan to provide what so many people need right now: space to connect with others,” said Noah Stern, Co-CEO of Moose Knuckles. “Whether it’s our bricks-and-mortar or pop-up environments, creating physical spaces is a bold choice that aligns with our company’s pioneering attitude.”

“Moose Knuckles’ goal is to continue to bring the luxury experience to its customers with the opening of new flagship locations and pop-ups to smaller, more local communities,” said seasoned retail veteran Andrea Elliott, Executive VP, Direct to Consumer at Moose Knuckles. “In both environments, customers will experience the Moose Knuckles product designed with meticulous construction that doesn’t sacrifice style for function.”

The first standalone storefront in the world for Moose Knuckles opened at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre in the fall of 2017, designed by award-winning firm Burdifilek. Stan Vyriotes and David Wedemire of DWSV Remax Ultimate Realty Inc. negotiated the lease. The Yorkdale store was followed by a permanent storefront in New York City’s Soho area in the fall of 2019. The company also operates outlet stores at Montreal Premium Outlets near Montreal as well as at the Outlet Collection at Niagara near Niagara Falls Ontario.

INTERIOR OF MOOSE KNUCKLES STORE AT TORONTO’S YORKDALE SHOPPING CENTRE SHOWCASING OUTERWEAR. PHOTO: MOOSE KNUCKLES

Moose Knuckles was founded by Canadian Will Poho as his master’s thesis at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City in 2007. Mr. Poho said that he brought in Mark Peros as a partner in 2009 for less than a year before releasing him from the company. Mr. Poho is now CEO of Toronto-based outerwear brand Woodpecker Coats.

In Canada, Moose Knuckles products are made in the province of Quebec. Select sportswear and additional items are made in Ontario and British Columbia. The company endeavours to make “the leanest, toughest and most luxurious sportswear in the world,” and its product lines include a range of jackets including parkas, bombers, mid-weight, lightweight down, apparel and accessories. The company is now run by co-CEOs Noah Stern and Ayal Twik who have been instrumental in expanding the brand globally.

Moose Knuckles is also carried in various multi-brand retailers across Canada as well as globally. The retail expansion for Moose Knuckles is taking a page from competitor Canada Goose, which is also opening experiential stores around the world with several locations in Canada. Another competitor, Mackage, has opened its own direct-to-consumer stores in major markets as well. Toronto-based Nobis operates two stores in Toronto and last week, Montreal-based Quartz Co. unveiled its first-ever store in Montreal.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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