Yorkdale Shopping Centre is now home to ECCO’s first North American flagship store.
The shiny new spot opened its doors on Friday, June 23rd becoming the fourth evolution of the ECCO Prime (flagship store) concept following openings in Hamburg, Berlin, Flensburg and Amsterdam.
Not quite what it used to be, ECCO has evolved in recent years to fuse more fashion into its traditionally more functional footwear. Though it may come as a surprise to some, ECCO now offers a selection of fashion-forward footwear (yes, actually) that can be worn for all of life’s occasions – from high-profile charity event or night out with the guys or ladies, to client meetings, the golf course and Sunday brunch in the city.
“We are definitely focusing more on our heritage in terms of the ECCO product – comfort – and trying to marry that comfort with style,” says Jordan Searle, President of ECCO Shoes Canada. “It’s the whole idea that if you’re not comfortable, you can’t perform in life. Imagine playing a sport and you’re not comfortable; you really can’t perform to the best of your ability. Comfort is the base denominator, and that’s quite an ageless concept.”
The new flagship features products beyond the brand’s regular comfort and style collections found in most ECCO retail stores. Here, you’ll find essentials for kids, golf and sport, in addition to leather styles and both men’s and women’s comfort and style collections. “The store itself allows for a different type of merchandising than our traditional retail outlets; we can focus a little more on our leather goods, as well as on our footwear and our Clean, Care & Protect program (shoe-related accessories),” says Searle.
The brand’s Scandinavian roots (Tønder, Denmark circa 1963) are reflected in the simple, Danish design of the ECCO flagship store, which is centered around premium raw leathers that illustrate ECCO’s heritage (for example, the sofas and seating areas are made with yack leather). With a façade lined with windows, the 1,150-square-foot space features a photo-worthy leather installation that showcases the Toronto skyline in all of its glory, two seating areas for (tired and restless) shopping companions and specially designed modular wall fixtures. ECCO commissioned Danish design house Louis Poulsen to create the lighting that highlights ECCO’s world-renowned collections.
According to Searle, the ECCO clientele is ageless and timeless, therefore, the focus is more about an activity and lifestyle rather than on a particular age group. “We aren’t really a fashion brand; we’re much more trend-focused. Platform sneakers are a big part of our business line and you can see all kinds of people young and old wearing these shoes now,” says Searle. “The brand is for people who are active and crave comfort but don’t want to compromise in terms of the styling.”
As for company goals, according to Searle, among them are making sure that Canadians understand the ECCO brand, that ECCO stays relevant and that the brand is present to its consumers. Clearly, they are on the right track. Over the past year, ECCO’s retail operations have grown by 12 per cent in the Canadian market, with more plans for expansion in 2017/2018. There are currently 32 stores in Canada. “There will probably be 45 by 2020,” says Searle.
Photos below by Nick Lee on Samsung S8 except where indicated