GOODS | New Designs By Foe & Dear, Zula, Catherine Hartley, Wolf Circus At “Cavalier”

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

Cavalier is located at #217-207 W. Hastings St. in Vancouver, BC | 604-681-0047 |

The GOODS from Cavalier

Vancouver, BC | We all know that music festivals are just as much about the style as they are about the music. Check out our latest style guide above for some festival inspiration featuring some of Vancouver’s top local designers. Pictured here: Wolf Circus, Zula, Catherine Hartley and Foe & Dear – all available in-store. Learn more after the jump… Read more

LOOKCITY | On The Hunt For Awesome Hats At The New “Hastings Hattery” In Gastown


by Robyn Yager | Wearing a hat requires confidence. To many of us, the addition of a topper to our everyday attire can feel entirely foreign, but when done right they can add a little extra personality to every outfit.

I recently had the pleasure of talking with Rachelle Cashato, head of Hastings Hattery (no pun intended), one of the newest arrivals to the western edge of Gastown and a descendant of The Granville Island Hat Shop, a retail store that doubles as a studio where hat enthusiasts can customize, alter, repair, and personalize their existing hats. Here’s what she had to say about how hats fit in your personal style and what we can expect when on the hunt for the perfect one at Hastings Hattery.

How do hats fit into personal style? Hats are really the defining accessory in personal style. Most of the people I have worked with over the years have a relationship with their hat. It becomes an old friend, a companion. It gives on the ability to express themselves in a way that no other fashion accessory does. I think our personal style is developed as we experience life and typically your hat is along for the ride.

For someone looking to start wearing hats, what kind of tips would you recommend to them to find the perfect one to suit their style? The basics are to find something that compliments one’s features. Making sure that you are wearing something you reall love and feel confident in will only accentuate your existing style. The nice thing about our new space is that we offer full restoration and custom work, so even if someone has a hat that they haven’t committed to wearing, we can often help find a way to adjust it and make it really work for them, so sometimes its not even about buying new, just working what you already have.

Hats can be a really tricky accessory – it can either pull a look together or totally throw it off. Why would you say hats are so dramatic in this sense? Drama is relative; 80 years ago you couldn’t walk down the street and see someone NOT wearing a hat. It’s all about confidence. Wear what you want and you will feel as comfortable as you do in your pj’s.

Do you have any favourite hat brands that you think do it really well? Any Canadian brands? Aside from all the amazing hats we make in our own studio here, I love Akubra – their Sydney is my go to hat; you can it in so many ways, and Cha Cha’s House of Ill Repute from New York. We have a lot of Canadian talent: Magill and Canadian Hat in Montreal, and Lilliput in Toronto.

Are there any particular styles of hat that you see as a trend right now? What do you think will be a trend in the next few seasons? Toppers, traditional and non-traditional – either super classy or very eccentric allowing for a lot of for personalization. I also have a lot of people bringing in hats they received from parents or grandparents that have sentimental value. We restore old hats to be worn so they can be enjoyed. We are also going back to personalized embossing on interior hat bands. We have a machine from the late 1800′s that we have had refurbished, embossing in gold leaf. It lets you put your own stamp on your hat, literally.

Hastings Hattery is located at 157 West Hastings Street (follow them on Instagram). Their sister store, Granville Island Hat Shop, can be found at 4-1666 Johnston Street at the Netloft.

- Photo of Rachelle Cashato by Anita Alberto.


HEADS UP | Consignment Store “Hunter & Hare” To Open On Pender St. This Weekend

Hunter & Hare is a new consignment store opening at 334 West Pender Street this weekend. We recently popped our heads in to check things out and, although the team was still setting up shelving and just beginning their merchandising, the aesthetic and overall vision were clearly taking shape.

The store will sell both men’s and women’s clothing as well as a small selection of accessories and small items for the home. Think Jordan River Soap, seeds from Strathcona 1890 Urban Seed Collection, stationary from Dani Press, crystal pendants from Charles & Grace, HeyDay Designs candles from P.F. Candle Co., and more. The look, feel, and concept is similar to that of Front & Co. on Main Street.

Owners Joanne Bousaleh and Micki Cole both have a background in the fashion industry and knew shortly after they met that they wanted to open a shop together, a place that cultivated good style while following a path that encouraged waste reduction rather than over consumption. A consignment store was a perfect fit. The long search for a space finally ended when the two signed on to move into the increasingly awesome Victoria Block between Homer and Hamilton (where you will also find The Paper Hound and recently opened Cinara).

Hunter & Hare will open this Saturday, May 24th. Drop in to the shop between 5pm-8pm that evening for an opening party where you can check out the space and meet the people behind it.

Hunter & Hare | 334 West Pender Street |

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #490 | Behind The Closing Scenes @ Vancouver Fashion Week


by Luis Valdizon | On Tuesday, March 24th, Vancouver Fashion Week‘s Fall / Winter 2014 season came to a close. I had the pleasure of attending its two final evenings at the Chinese Cultural Centre where everything from VFW’s opening gala to shows took place. Both nights offered an atmosphere that was lively, friendly, and largely free by the elitism that can sometimes sour these type of affairs.

Generously, my invitation to document VFW went beyond the runway. It was a privilege to capture all the models, designers, make-up and hair artists right in the thick of their elements, right when everything is just coming together. It’s the side of fashion that excites me the most, and I feel fortunate to be able to share it with you.

One note of criticism: it’s too bad that more local menswear labels such as Reigning Champ and wings + horns weren’t on VFW’s radar. It would have been nice to see the two internationally coveted brands by West 5th’s own CYC Design Corporation on the runway. There’s definitely an appetite for more menswear at VFW, and it’s unfortunate that it’s not capitalized upon. Presentations by the aforementioned labels, together with the stunning Arc’teryx Veilance 2014 F/W collection and the latest season from the budding Raised by Wolves, would have all been welcome additions!


SEEN IN VANCOUVER #487 | A Look Inside Fiona Morrison’s ‘Wolf Circus’ In Chinatown



by Grady Mitchell | Local designer Fiona Morrison specializes in jewellery that’s elegantly edgy. After receiving compliments on a favourite – a ring shaped like a wolf’s head – and realizing the confidence a detail like that could invite, designer Fiona Morrison began creating her own pieces and named the Chinatown-based company after the ring that started it all.

Fiona says her ideal customer is “bold, beautiful, brainy and badass. They’re not the perfect little princess who’s going to wear a locket and heart. They’re edgy, and they want something that speaks to that.” True to those words, Wolf Circus pieces make innovative combos of metals and minerals and ride the line between grace and aggression. She recently launched Creatures of Desire, a higher-end collection, and has begun work on a men’s line, too. You can learn more and shop for pieces at Wolf Circus’ website.


Pony Salon




73 E Cordova Street | Vancouver BC | V6A 1K3
Tel: 604-620-9260 | Email: | ONLINE BOOKING
Web | | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest




Pony Salon opened its doors in late November 2012 in the heart of Vancouver’s Gastown area and is home to a team of hand-selected experienced, engaged and thoughtful stylists. The salon ‘keeps it simple’ by specializing in what they do best; expert haircuts, hair colours and styling serviced by top professionals who are passionate about their craft.

The salon space showcases the 100 year old bones of the building with high ceiling, south facing windows and exposed posts and beams, a design aesthetic that personifies the historical Gastown neighbourhood. An assortment of complimentary beverages, the latest fashion magazines (including those bewitching gossip magazines), wifi and comfortable styling chairs all help the staff easily provide for every experiential need during services.

Pony Salon is not just a home for hair, but also an intersection where the Gastown’s incredible art, fashion and food communities meet and share ideas. It’s the place where a few strong, dedicated and spirited hair stylists are crafting wearable art.

The salon exclusively carries the Bumble and bumble hair care line from New York City and staff frequently train at the House of Bumble in Manhattan.



Gastown BIA | Van City Buzz | WE Vancouver | Wed Luxe | Green Circle Salons

LOOKCITY | 10 Sweet Reasons To Get Into A Changeroom At Eugene Choo On Main St.

January 15, 2014 


by Robyn Yager | Kildare Curtis has carried some of the highest quality international and Canadian designers at Eugene Choo since it opened 2000. His shop is at 3683 Main Street with its extension, The Annex, located right next door specializing in accessories, bags, and seriously beautiful shoes. Here are 10 wants from a recent pass…

1. Fleet Objects Drop Necklace and Bracelet | Inspired by the floats and bobbers of fishing equipment, this line (no pun) by Fleet Objects is a colourful and minimal way to incorporate colour through accessories. The pendants are products of Zoe Garred’s design studio in Vancouver, where she uses natural materials to make objects that speak of an abstract aesthetic in function and form. You might also recognize some of her other work at Chinatown’s Bestie (her hanging Mariner Lamps are gorgeous).

2. Eliza Faulkner wool skirt | Eliza Faulkner’s repertoire included the likes of Erderm, Zandra Rhodes, and Roland Mouret prior to her launching her eponymous line in 2012. The designer was born and raised on Vancouver Island and trained in London at Central St. Martin’s College of Art & Design. Pleats are huge this season, so zero in on this wool skirt in red and wear it with a cream cropped cable knit sweater, black tights, and black pumps.

3. Valentine Gauthier gold leather weaved flats | Metallic is basically a neutral these days. Gold, silver, copper, rose gold – anything goes. These gold leather weaved flats are no exception and would look amazing with just about any outfit. They’re retro in the weaving (some may even say nursie), but the colour modernizes them plenty. Gauthier’s resume includes lines at Rochas and Maison Martin Margiela, experience that makes for a feminine line with classic masculine twists.

4. Noah Waxman green leather desert boots | For guys, how beautiful are these green Noah Waxman leather desert boots? Again, footwear is a fantastic way to up the winter wardrobe ante without being too obnoxious about it. Noah Waxman is a footwear specialist who learned from master craftsmen in Amsterdam who instilled in the young shoemaker the highest respect for what it takes to make beautiful, comfortable and handcrafted footwear.

5. Strathcona Stockings | Who doesn’t love an insane printed tight or stocking? We’re not talking regular prints like the ubiquitous cat print or skull print, we’re talking tropical birds, lilies and avocados, mushrooms, peaches and the beautifully illustrated Mary Jane. If we have to wear tights in this cold and wet weather why not sport something more interesting? Every print from Strathcona Stockings are original – designed, collaged, photographed or drawn at the studio in Strathcona or on various travels. All products are made locally and in limited quantities. Ryley O’Byrne is behind the brand. Her prints have been featured in StyleBubble, Vogue Italia, New York Magazine, Elle UK, Nylon Magazine and all over the web and back. Let these tights and stockings be the statement piece in the outfit (because nothing says Vancouver more than weed on your feet).

6. Eliza Faulkner colour blocked silk dress | Another piece by Eliza Faulkner. It’s a very elegant and conservative dress that transitions well from day to night. The detachable rope belt can be used to cinch the waist or can be removed for a more draped effect. The knee length makes it a Vancouver-appropriate piece as we longingly await spring.

7. Comrags Thwaites dress | The Quartz Border Thwaites Dress by Joyce Gunhouse and Judy Cornish of Comrags is more like a piece of art than a dress, and more reminiscent of a green spring day than of the holidays that have just passed. This is what happens when two Canadian designers with the same design sensibility and work ethic come together. The company, born in 1983, is still based out of Toronto where their designs boast of “femininity with an edge”.

8. Oliver Spencer men’s colour blocked t-shirt | Tired of the usual black and neutral winter wardrobe? This Oliver Spencer jersey t-shirt is an awesome way to incorporate colour into the otherwise drab assortment of current winter wear. A modern British brand, Oliver Spencer is inspired by hunting and military clothing, Americana and Japanese style, and Sandy Powell, the costume designer for Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York. Total British cool.

9. Dolce Vita pointed oxford flats | Despite our stated affections for stilettos, flats are trending on the fashion front right now. We’re not sure if it’s the masculine influence at play or if it’s just a matter of comfort, but these chic and functional pointed toe flats by Dolce Vita are a wicked addition to the shoe closet. Eugene Choo has them in an all-over black colour and a two-toned black and white oxford version. If you can, grab both!

10. Osei-Duro dress | Osei-Duro is a clothing company based out of LA and Ghana. These beautiful garments are made in Ghana using traditional hand-dyeing techniques and weaving. Each piece is made uniquely and by an individual who is given full acknowledgement for their work. This particular piece is colourful and appropriate for either the summer months paired with sandals or in the winter with a heavy wool coat, black tights, and boots.

Eugene Choo & The Annex | 3683 & 3697 Main Street | 604-873-8874 |


LOOKCITY | Jeff Hamada Of Booooooom Creates New T-Shirt Collection For Aritzia

January 13, 2014 


by Robyn Yager | Jeff Hamada of the art blog Booooooom! has collaborated with Aritzia on a line of uniquely bold graphic tees. Aritzia approached Hamada to design something for their year-old t-shirt line, La Notte, and the result is a small collection of five pieces, each with a design exclusive to the brand. The collection is called Dream About Living The Dream - a “tongue in cheek celebration of being lazy, quitting, and not caring. It’s about wanting something, a certain lifestyle perhaps, but also not wanting to work for it”. The collection is only around for a short time (given the ample followings of both Jeff’s blog and Aritzia’s aesthetic, chances are that they’ll be snatched up quick). Read more about the collaboration here and buy them there.


LOOKCITY | On Stiletto Heels, The Deadly Sexy Fashion Icon Scared Of Cobblestones


by Robyn Yager | The history of the stiletto heel is a little complicated. From deadly weapon to cultural icon, everyone has had an opinion on the shoe style. They’re definitely not for everyone. Some may even scoff at the sight of a stiletto, regarding them as silly or straight up impractical. And yet despite valid debate on function, there’s an alluring beauty to a good, narrow heel. The line of the heel to the sole is attractive and even sexy. To some, it’s comparable to the way a gorgeous piece of architecture can inspire a feeling of awe.

The first high heels were worn by men on horseback (boots with a “high heel” were to gain extra traction in stirrups), but the “stiletto” heel came about in the 1930′s. It was named thus in reference to the Italian “stiletto” dagger of the Renaissance period, a fearsome weapon for personal protection and in close quarter combat. Made popular by designer Andre Perugia and French singer Mistinguett, the shoe was a product of “new technologies” in which a metal rod was used in the heel to reinforce its strength, thus allowing for a thinner, sleeker heel. Designer Roger Vivier took the style into the mainstream in the 1950′s, helping to advance the style beyond the runway and into the mainstream to become an iconic international fashion silhouette.

The idea behind the stiletto is that the diameter of the base of the heel is less than one centimetre. The heel can be of varying height, from kitten heel to the most high (those that accompany the platform, making walking nearly impossible). Eventually, the toe of the shoe was elongated to a point wherein the entire piece was referred to as a “stiletto”. In any event, the name is apt. There have been several instances in which a sharp high heel has been used to injure or attack another person.

Physically, the stiletto heel is a design that’s very difficult to get a hand (or foot) of at first. Like any high shoe, one must trust the heel. With the foot on a slant, walking in heels can make the wearer feel volatile and unbalanced, but the effects are clear. They elongate the leg and tighten the calf muscles to make them appear more slender, lending elegance to wearers who are now walking taller and, after some practise, with confidence

Today, the stiletto shape is used by nearly every designer every season for sandals, boots, or pumps. One of the most notable of the bunch is, of course, Manolo Blahnik, who has projected the style even deeper into the mainstream. Despite the more “frumpy shoe styles” as of late (here’s hoping the Birkenstock reveival stayed in 2013), the stiletto has secured itself in the fashion pantheon as a symbol of (potentially deadly) femininity and elegance.

Where you can find great stilettos in Vancouver | Because this shoe is so ubiquitous it takes a little bit of shopping around to find what suits your personal style the best. There is no store or boutique that sells “the best”, but there are some that make great starting points. As usual, Gravity Pope has some pretty hot shoes; from Acne to Fleuvog, they offer a plethora of options. The best way to find the perfect stiletto heel is to do some research. Because they’re so individual and they fit every foot differently, shopping around and trying on different brands and heights is worth the investment in time. They’re also not for the faint of heart or the easily vertiginous. First timers must keep in mind that the stiletto takes some getting used to and requires environments with consistently even surfaces. If you avoid grass, gravel, cracks in the sidewalk, and pretty much all of Gastown (their most diabolical of enemies being the cobblestone), you’ll be fine. If not, make this your motto: “Walk tall and carry a pair of flats in your bag.”


LOOKCITY | Sesame Street-ish “ABC Of Fashion” Video With Music By Toro Y Moi

December 9, 2013 


Dig this short and whimsical retro film called ABC of Fashion from i-D Magazine. It sees two beautiful women, Quebec’s Anais Pouliot and Brazil’s Marina Nery, spinning on pedestals and modelling a kaleidoscope of fashions to a new and rather catchy Sesame Street-ish track from Toro Y Moi.


HEADS UP | “Hey Jude” Pairing Up With The Found And The Freed For A Main St. Pop-Up

December 5, 2013 


Our friends over at The Found & The Freed are pairing up with vintage clothing store Hey Jude for a holiday season pop-up of curated antiques and sweet duds at 3088 Main Street. The collaborative awesomeness starts December 7th and runs everyday through to December 21st from 11am to 7pm.

LOOKCITY | On Local Looks, High Heeled Oxfords, And Woody Allen Looking Bummed

November 21, 2013 


1. Etsy’s Industrial Revolution | The world of DIY and vintage has become a viable market for craft lovers and those preferring to purchase items with some hand-made flair. Etsy, the world’s vintage/craft epicentre, recently announced an upcoming change in policy that backpedals on everything they built their business on. A recent New York Times article states that the company is facing the same issue that led to the Industrial Revolution. Ultimately, it’s not Etsy’s policy change that is questioned, but rather what exactly defines something as “hand made”. It makes for an interesting read about the future of the craft industry in e-commerce as well as our changing appreciation for artisanal products. 

2. Park Royal Re-Opens | November 30th marks the grand re-opening of the present mess of a construction site called Park Royal. Anthropologie, Sephora, Anne Taylor, J. Crew, and Zara are among the big name retailers set to be revealed there at the end of the month. So, expect more traffic, longer delays, and less parking in West Van than ever before come the holiday season!

3. Nicholas Ghesquiere at Louis Vuitton | The old assumption that the fashion industry is really incestuous is confirmed. Nicholas Ghesquiere, previously of the house of Balenciaga (which is now headed by that of Alexander Wang), moves to Louis Vuitton as creative director upon Marc Jacob’s departure. It is one of the biggest stories regarding high fashion this year and it will continue to be until the IPO for the Marc Jacobs line is released. Ghesquiere will hopefully “bring a new era to Vuitton in the same way he did at Balenciaga” (via Vogue UK)

4. Old Navy opens on Granville and Robson | Another giant chain moves onto Robson Street (and there wasn’t much rejoicing). Following the opening of Victoria’s Secret on Burrard and Robson, is anyone really surprised that the only store with enough dough to spend on Robson rent is a company that owns both The Gap and Banana Republic? Didn’t think so.

5. Hudson’s Bay Co. Jacket | As seen at the Grand Opening of Still Life on Main Street. Never goes out of style.

6. Isabel Marant for H&M | Why hasn’t my Instagram been flooded with boys and girls sporting the newest designer collaboration with H&M? This could be why: writer Alexander Fury claims that Isabel Marant is a “step down from the other talents H&M have tapped”. In other words, Isabel Marant doesn’t compare to the likes of Rei Kawakubo and Maison Martin Margela. However, her entry into the H&M designer collaboration hall of fame is not for her progressive designs; Marant is heralded for her knack of knowing who the modern French girl is and what she’ll be wearing. In any case, thanks to Fury, I don’t feel so bad for sleeping in on that fateful November 14th morning when the collaboration was launched.

7. The Bullet-Proof Suit | No, we’re not talking about an extra stylish suit to protect you from social media ridicule. We’re talking about an actual bulletproof suit made for super-heroes and gangsters. Garrison Bespoke in Toronto has launched a line made to withstand a spray of lead whilst looking dapper. The luxury tailoring house said, “after receiving requests from high-profile clients who travel to dangerous places for work, we went out to develop a lightweight, fashion-forward bulletproof suit as a more discreet and stylish alternative to wearing a bulky vest underneath”. So if you’re in the market for a good suit and you want to feel like Batman (and you have an extra 20 grand burning a hole in your pocket), consider a bulletproof suit by Garrison Bespoke. Oh, and it also protects against stabbing. Yay.

8. Black & White Acre Projects | A minimal black and white outfit as seen at the Acre Projects Fashion Show last month.

9. Fur and striped jacket | Spotted at the Vancouver Public Library.

10 Leather and sparkle | Pair something harsh like a black jacket with a leather lapel with something more girly and feminine like a sparkle-embellished athletic sweater. This local girl pulled it off.

11. Polka Dots: This outfit is very Karen Walker Spring/Summer 2013, what with the light blue and white polka dot dress and white cropped blazer. As seen at Cavalier.

12. Obscenely Popular Shoes with Questionable Aesthetics Explained | It’s far too easy to adopt attitudes towards fashion trends and styles because we see it in popular media. Attraction towards something because someone else is wearing it seems perfectly natural but we’re just not entirely sure WHY we like it. Thanks to Bullett Media, current shoe trends and styles are analyzed from an outside perspective, completely disconnected from the blogs and magazines that influence taste. Give it a read; it’s funny because it’s true.

13. Cat Dress | Quirky prints and a coffee make an outfit more interesting. Seen at Revolver.

14. Damien Hirst for Alexander McQueen | Damien Hirst has launched a capsule collection with Alexander McQueen. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of McQueen’s iconic skull scarf (emulated everywhere), the artist has created 30 different styles ranging from the Forgiveness scarf featuring butterflies in various colours and other flying insects surrounding a prominent skull image in the centre, to the purple Perfect Moment scarf with scattered butterflies joining in the middle to make up a skull image. The pairing of these two visionaries is perfect; they share an aesthetic that is dark, eerie, and mystical. The collection launched Friday and is available at Alexander McQueen boutiques. (via T Magazine)

15. Must See Fashion Documentaries | Rainy days call for spending much-needed time inside watching movies. This weekend, consider skipping that Lord of the Rings marathon and take it upon yourself to brush up on your fashion history. Check out this list of “Must See Fashion Documentaries” care of The Style Spy. Not included in the list (but very worthy of your time) is the Yves Saint Laurent documentary, L’Amour Fou and the biopic starring Andrey Tatou as Coco Chanel in Coco Avant Chanel.

16. Must follow Vancouver fashion blog: Style is Style | If there’s one thing I love, it’s a girl who can rock a style no matter the era. Lydia, of Style is Style, can sport anything from thrifted items and adorable boat hats to full A-Line skirts, oxford shoes, and vintage blouses. She’s got a thing for colour and she’s incredible at mixing prints, plus she has a talent for thrifting. So, to say that we should take a few style notes from Lydia would be a severe understatement. We should do ourselves a favour and take a lot.

17. Woody Allen | Woody looking like he’s waiting for a girl to try on a new dress at Oliver & Lilly’s new location near Beaucoup Bakery.

18. Toques & Muted Colours | Restrained colours are popular this winter; stick to more muted tones like beige, caramel, black, rusty red, and white. Toques, natch, are a staple.

19. Black Patent Heels | Spotted in Gastown – a pair of black patent leather oxford heels, perfect for the season.



Robyn Yager is the style reporter for Scout Magazine. She is enthused by anything out of the ordinary, loving art, striped shirts, macchiatos, classic literature and picking through thrift stores for unique treasures. Her mission is to inspire Vancouverites in their sartorial choices and to see beauty and style everywhere.

SEEN IN VANCOUVER #476 | 20 Years Of Cool On Display At Main’s Front & Company

November 19, 2013 


by Robyn Yager | The popular Main Street consignment store Front & Company is celebrating their 20th anniversary this year by featuring four of their favourite displays in one collaborative window exhibit. Ranging from 1997 – 2008, the exhibit features a collection of white dresses made from paper, a glass waterfall, a lead submarine, paper cakes and delicacies of every size, all elaborate and stunning in thir detail. Well known for their beautiful and creative displays, Front & Company’s work rivals that of big timers like Holt Renfrew and The Bay.

Diana Li opened the store in 1993, starting out as a small vintage shop with accoutrements traditionally found in thrift shops. The next 20 years has see it grow into much more than Li could have ever dreamed, expanding into a consignment shop selling gently used clothes in addition to samples, new clothing, accessories, shoes, and all manner of eclectic gifts. A smaller novelty shop can be found next door that specializes in home wares, gifts, cards, baby items, and jewelry. So raise a glass with congratulations to Front & Company! Here’s to many more years as one of Vancouver’s best shops!


VANCOUVERITES | With Jamie & Lyndon Cormack, Founders of Herschel Supply Co.

November 19, 2013 


Pecha Kucha is coming up tomorrow night (watch for our ticket giveaway on Twitter), and as per usual we’ve sought out one of the interesting speakers for a sit down. Lyndon Cormack is the Co-Founder of Herschel Supply Co.. He launched the company with his brother, Jamie, in 2009, and the two of them have since changed the way we look at the humble backpack as an everyday fashion accessory. Herschel Supply products are sold in Canada, from the foothills of the Rockies and Europe to Australia and all across Asia (and everywhere in between). Their company was named after the small town in Saskatchewan where three generations of the Cormack family grew up. Scout recently took a tour of the Herschel headquarters in Railtown last week and spent some time talking to Jamie and Lyndon. Here is that conversation:

Herschel is an outdoor-focused brand. It’s in the DNA of the company. Tell us about your favourite local excursions. Where do you go?  (Lyndon) I live in Deep Cove and I have kids, so I stay pretty close to home, I think our family is personally responsible for some of the cutaway trails that go to Quarry Rock. We use the trails all the time and run them. During the recent fog we were getting above it and going up to Seymour where it was scorching hot and sunny. Being from Deep Cove, it’s even an excursion to go to Granville Island. Places that other parts of Vancouver consider to be their backyards are excursions to us. Both Jamie and I have boats (Boston Whalers), so we’re boating around there all the time.  (Jamie) Last trip in the Whaler? I use it weekly. I was out last week,  fishing out by Bowen. We caught lots of pinks. Didn’t keep any, but it’s fun to get out there.


While we’re on the topic of Deep Cove, the two of you recently launched a side project – a new retail shop – there called A’hoy with your brother Jamie and Deep Cove business veteran Megan Curran of Room6. How on earth did you find the time and vision to start a side project on top of running Herschel? (Lyndon) We LOVE Deep Cove. I mean, we both live there. We boat there and spend a bunch of time there. With the geographic location of it, the beauty of it and the access to nature, it’s amazing to me that it’s just not THAT good. It hasn’t developed into something ridiculous. I mean, we have a fantastic, Vancouver-famous doughnut shop called Honey Doughnuts; we have a fantastic restaurant called The Arms Reach Bistro; and there is a great gift shop called Room6, which is also amazing.

So there is some good stuff, just not enough?  Jamie and I were saying: “Rather than bitch, why not do something great here?” We had an opportunity to partner with Megan [Curran] and open something else with a different concept; something that would cater to men, women and kids. It’s a small space (800 square feet), but we fill it up with our favourite classic brands: Vans, Cons, Ray Ban, Levi’s, HBC, Pendleton and Herschel Supply. We wanted a business that could cater to the local community as well as have some cache for Vancouverites to come out for a visit. A’hoy aims to portray a picture of what Deep Cove is about: comfort, casual, classic.

So, Deep Cove is home, but you think that it could be a lot better. The new shop is a move in that direction. How else would you like to see it change?  Why hasn’t someone opened the best fish and chips joint? A cute, organic fish n’ chip shop with perfect packaging and clever design. Why isn’t it there? I mean, there is a fish n’ chip shop there, but…put it this way, I think Bestie is a perfect example of something that has been able to come in and offer a fresh story. It was done through good design. Good design isn’t expensive. It’s the thoughtfulness and the passion that are the hard part. So why isn’t it there? I don’t know. I find it shocking and that’s why we need to fix it.

It’s about doing things differently. I think the clients in Deep Cove will spend money, if it’s worth it. If you’re just jacking up your prices because you feel you can, you’ll fail miserably because but it’s just not the community that is going to pay for that. They like value but they also care about quality. And they care about design. I’m probably guilty of thinking of the macro rather than the micro. I see the big picture of these businesses and I see the way that Deep Cove could evolve. There are a whole bunch of people who could do it better than us. They should come. Come to Deep Cove! Start a trend!


So, if you have a predilection for the ‘macro’ view with your hobbies, that’s probably true of your business as well. How do you draw the line and stay on track? Both Jamie and I are idea guys. We have to show a lot of restraint in not developing a lot of new products. We’re very focused. It’s not because we can’t. We have every opportunity in the world. We can, wether it be t-shirts, hats, footwear, or glasses or watches or what have you. We could do anything. Right now, what’s important for us is to solidify our foundation, because the foundation’s not set yet. Once we have that firm foundation we can built a lot on that.

The goal is to always worry about that that target on our back, continue to innovate, continue to create, change, continue to adapt . You’ve got to own your space in the market. We earned it, now we have to own it. Globally. That’s a challenge.

How do you avoid the trap of becoming a fad and burning out? We talk a lot internally about ‘getting too comfortable’ and I think that would turn us in to a fad and that would possibly have the ‘fizzle out’ affect. If we got too comfortable and started saying things like “Hey, we sold ‘this many’ black this year and we sold ‘this many’ navy last year” and all of a sudden you stop trying to innovate, stop trying to change, stop trying to be better and you worry about the anniversary of your business rather than creating new stories to tell.

There is a cycle that comes through. Someone who bought a bag in year one might not buy a bag the next year, but they might come through in year three. They need to have that same excitement and sense of discovery at that point. Sure, they know the brand, but now they want to know a new story or a new product within that brand. That requires innovation. That’s going to be the key. That’s the key for every brand. And any great brand that’s actually managed to succeed has constantly innovated, constantly changed. If we don’t do that, we deserve to fizzle out.


In order to make sure we stay on track, we rely on not only our eye and our travel but our partners’ eyes and their travels. We rely on our ‘reps’ who have eyes on the road and in retail stores, and we rely our design team who is well-travelled and well-versed in culture. We listen to what they tell us about what they see. We trust that – with the number of eyes that we have on things now [hundreds] – that we can come up with a pretty good sense of what will work. After that, you’ve got to just go with your gut.

(Jamie) Pushing in to new categories so that even if someone does own a bag and they are not looking for a bag that day, they are going to come back and buy a wallet, buy a computer sleeve, want that new duffle bag. Our range has expanded. That’s one thing that we knew right from our first season, we did not want to be pigeon holed. We wanted to offer range. It allowed us some creative freedom. It allowed us to be able go out there and think about more than just one thing. We had it on our minds because we were travelling.

At this stage, we’ve been able to stand back and look at things like: how do you us devices, how do you use an iPad, how do you travel with your bag? So our bags have a heritage feel for the user, but once you open them up, they function. Constantly innovating.

Is part of the plan to have a little boutique for Herschel, a flagship? (Lyndon) I would have to say yes. It’s definitely going to be something we do. We have some shops in Hong Kong and Taiwan, some kiosks in Korea. Eventually we would move to having a couple of flagships, but they have to be in the right place at the right time. We’re just getting started here in terms of our brand, we’re only 4 years old.


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