Hi all! So I came across a blog post someone else did a few weeks ago and it totally inspired me to do this post! The post was about their favourite Canadian brands and designers. Unfortunately I can’t remember the site (otherwise I would link it) but I just found that they forgot or failed to mention a lot of really popular brands that started out in Canada. So I decided to do my own list. The brands I mention below are in no particular order in terms of my favourites.
This popular athletic-wear brand was founded in 1998 and opened their first store in 2000 in Kitsilano, British Columbia, which is a beach area in Vancouver. The brand soon became so popular that stores have sprung up all over Canada, the United States, and the world. Although it is without a doubt that Lululemon is most popular in Canada I have found that it is starting to get a cult following all of its own in the United States as well.
I still have my first pair of Groove Pants which I bought six years ago, and although they are a size 10 (I’m currently a size 6 in “lulus”) they are still in excellent shape. That’s the thing about Lululemon, their stuff lasts forever. And if something goes wrong with it they will fix it at no cost (aside from a bag I have which strap broke, the rude salesperson at the store told me it was “time to retire it”). Their stuff is quite pricey (Groove Pants run for $98 CDN, hoodies can run way over $100 CDN), but like I said it does last forever and it’s so comfortable and fashion-forward that it’s not exclusive to just working out.
I have found that the stores in Canada are way larger than the ones in the U.S. but consumers can also order stuff online as well. They offer free shipping and it gets to your house quite quickly.
Make-up Art Cosmetics (better known as MAC) is one of the world’s most popular beauty brands (which I’m sure all of you guys know). The company was founded in Toronto, Ontario in 1984. It is currently owned by Estee Lauder Companies (whom also own a variety of other popular beauty brands such as Clinique, Bobby Brown, La Mer, Bumble and Bumble, and more).
As you all know, the company boasts lipsticks, foundation, glosses, eyeshadows, mascaras (although I have heard that they aren’t the best), and anything else a makeup addict can dream of. Their counters can be found in popular department stores (in Canada they are found at The Bay) and they have stores all over the world. The also have Pro stores which carry their Pro line, which includes exclusive colours that you won’t find anywhere else, as well as products that their counters and regular stores don’t carry.
They are quite the philanthropic company as they have established their MAC Aids Fund, where 100 per cent of their proceeds from their MAC Viva Glam lipsticks and glosses go directly to helping people and countries directly affected by AIDS. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera, KD Lang, Fergie, and a variety of others have been the face of the line.
MAC also offers a Pro discount to makeup artists, hairstylists, photographers, aestheticians, on-air talent, and a variety of different jobs in the industry. For more information on the program click here. They also have their Back to MAC program, where if you bring back six empty containers (whether it’s empty lipstick cases, eyeshadow cases, etc.) you can receive a free lipstick (at the counters) or a lipstick, gloss, or eyeshadow (at the stores).
I personally love MAC and I always feel a sense of Canadian pride when I see someone using it online (whether it’s in a YouTube video or on a blog) knowing that it was founded in Canada.
Joe Fresh is only available right now in Canada at the Real Canadian Superstores around the country (each province has a different name for the store, its weird. For example, in Ontario it’s called Loblaws), as well as a few standalone stores (usually in bigger markets like Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, etc.). Joe Fresh was founded by Joe Mimran, the same guy that started Club Monaco. Right now the brand currently consists of clothing for women, men, children, babies, as well as active wear, bathing suits, shoes, lingerie, jewelry, and cosmetics.
The thing that sets Joe Fresh apart from other brands out there, in my opinion, is the fact that it’s inexpensive, good quality, and easily accessible. For those of you that don’t know what the Real Canadian Superstore is, it’s a grocery in Canada similar to Wal-Mart or Target but usually with cheaper prices. I have a little bit from everything that they produce (aside from mens and babies) and I don’t have any complaints about it. The makeup is fantastic (I think the most expensive thing is $8), their nail polish is very pigmented and lasts forever (way longer than OPI or China Glaze), their jewelry is super cute and fashion forward, their workout gear is comparable to Lululemon for about one eighth of the price, and their pantyhose is great (that last one is random, but they sell the best black tights in my opinion).
I also like how their clothing is made for real women. I hate going to stores where a large feels like a small (Hollister); anyone can shop at Joe Fresh, and I think that’s really the big appeal for the brand. As well as the price.
Founded in Montreal, Quebec in 1964, the Aldo Groupe has shoes and accessories stores all over the world. Brands under their umbrella include Aldo Shoes, Aldo Accessories, Spring Shoes, FeetFirst, Little Burgundy, Call it Spring (which, in addition to their stand-alone stores, will be popping up in JC Penney stores in the U.S.), and Locale (which are expected to replace FeetFirst stores). Fun fact for you: Aldo Shoes were originally inLe Chateau stores (Canadians, you’ll know what store I’m taking about).
The reason why I love Aldo so much is because their shoes are very fashion-forward and good quality, with a lot of them being made from leather (sorry for all you non-leather lovers out there). However, with that being said they do offer a variety of synthetic options as well. The prices for their shoes vary, but most of them are in at just under $100 CDN. They also offer very trendy jewelry, bags, scarves, and other accessories in their stores, as well as in Aldo Accessories stores.
The company currently still operates out of Montreal (where their corporate headquarters are located), but their brands can be found all over the world (I ran into a Spring Shoes in Israel four years ago in fact). Like I said, I find the quality to be very good, which coincides with their reasonable prices.
Founded in 1957 originally under the name Metro Sportswear Ltd., Canada Goose jackets are made for the cold. Like, really cold. This Canadian brand is still made in Canada and doesn’t outsource to other countries, which explains why the price for these jackets are so high (they can range from $300-$1,000). But they are so worth it.
The first time I heard about Canada Goose was actually last year. When I was a production assistant for a television network that was part of the Olympic Media Consortium the head guy had one of these jackets with it’s distinct logo. I didn’t really think much about it at the time other than the fact that it was such a heavy jacket for the weather we were getting. Flash forward to November 2010 when I was in Montreal, and wow, these guys were all over the place. Everyone was wearing a Canada Goose jacket. Literally everyone. Looking back, I don’t know how those people weren’t dying of sweat in them in fact. Most stores were sold out of the popular parkas that when I finally found one at Simons I looked at the price I didn’t get it. I thought who would pay $500 for a parka? I soon quickly realized that they were so worth it.
Canada Goose, like I said, doesn’t outsource their production, their products are made here in Canada with real goose down feathers and coyote fur around the hood (it keeps blowing snow away from your face). Now because there is a limit on how many jackets they can produce in one year (because of Canadian laws on the goose feathers, coyotes, and labour costs) there is such a high demand for them. Not to mention the fact that they are the warmest thing you will ever wear. I was skeptical on that last part because where I live it gets down to -40 degrees Celsius, and if you haven’t experienced that before, let me tell you, it’s pretty darn cold. When I first got the jacket (I ordered it online from an authorized reseller) and held it, it was quite light and I really didn’t think that it would keep me that warm. I quickly slipped it over a t-shirt, grabbed Ziggy, and went for our evening walk. It literally felt like I was standing in my house, I didn’t feel any cold whatsoever.
If you are thinking of getting a Canada Goose jacket, get one early! Styles and colours sell out fast because there is such a high demand for them. If you check out their website they have a list of authorized resellers, this is extremely important because there are tons of fakes out there. Don’t believe me? Do a quick Google search and see how many of those websites are from China. Fake CG jackets have been found to be stuffed with chicken feathers and dog fur around the hood, which will not keep you warm whatsoever (not to mention the fact that it’s gross). Like I said, they are quite expensive and very rarely go on sale (I actually got mine on sale, I believe it was an old model because the tags were old), but shop around and see what’s out there. I got mine from gear-up.com if you are interested. Like I said, they may be expensive, but they are so worth it and I really believe that if you take good care of it, it’ll last you forever.
So those were my favourite Canadian brands. I do have a few honourable mentions – RIM (BlackBerry), Aritzia, Roots, and The Hudson’s Bay Company.
Did any of these brands surprise you at all? What are some of your favourite Canuck brands?
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