Style

Massive Bag Brand Herschel Is Launching a Clothing Line

Two, actually. Big things are on the horizon.

BY Mikelle Street | Apr 5, 2017 | News

Image by Herschel

At some point at the end of last year, Herschel, the Vancouver, British Columbia-based lifestyle brand known for its modern take on the classic backpack, sold its 15 millionth bag. It's a long way from the firm's beginnings, which saw founding brothers Jamie and Lyndon Cormack strike out on their own with no manufacturing background. But with so many pieces already out on the market, a growing list of competitors, and a business that already sells to over 100 countries, will the brand be able to stay cool enough, in the coming years, to maintain its success?

"We found that the bag market was underserved," Jamie says of the 2009 start of the company. "We talked about lots of ideas but we kept going back to [bags]." And for good reason: At the time, there was a giant space in the market for design-driven bags at a consumer-driven price. And that's just what Herschel delivered, dominating the market and collaborate with brands like Coca Cola, Apple, and Stussy. But now, it's time to expand.

Image from Herschel.

"We don't want to get comfortable," Jamie said. "We love to grow and we want to change." That change this year comes in the form of two apparel lines, Voyage and Forecast, to be released in July at stores that already sell the brand's bags like Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters and Bloomingdale's. With one line focused on weather-ready rain gear and the other focused on packable outerwear, it's not really a departure from the travel-minded lifestyle the brand is already themed around.

"It just feels like an extension of our DNA," Lyndon says. "It feels like we've been doing it all forever," For the launch range, Herschel product designer Kenta Goto designed three Voyage silhouettes (a coach's jacket, anorak, and parka) and two Forecast styles (a hooded coach's jacket and parka). With prices ranging from $69 to $99, the pieces look to the '90s and late '80s for inspiration. The result is everything from a bird print based off of rice bags from Canal Street to a Tribe Called Quest-inspired tri-color jacket and even a Keith Haring collaboration, which is the only partnership of the launch. That partnership also features a collection of matching bags and accessories.

Image from Herschel.

The clean, minimal lines are stylishly understated, but the pieces themselves were made for maximum utility. Forecast items come with two-way stretch and heavy duty bonded seams, while the Voyage collection is not only water and wind resistant but also able to be packed into itself, turning into a perfectly travel-sized package. It's a small but nifty addition that should set the line apart from others on shelves already.

We are excited about the evolution of the brand," Kevin Harter, Bloomingdale's Vice President and Men's Fashion Director writes in an email. "The introduction of cold weather accessories was popular among our customers and we have already committed to an outerwear buy for fall 2017. Similar to what we have seen with their accessories, Herschel showed us innovative and on-trend silhouettes we know will resonate with the Bloomingdale's customer."

But that's not the only addition Herschel has in the works. 2017 will also bring the company's first flagship location, in Vancouver, in a Omer Arbel-designed space of about 5,000 square feet. The location is set to immerse customers in the world that is Herschel. Couple that with an expanded license with Major League Baseball and the opening of a new office in Shanghai and the firm is seeing a watershed of expansion for a fully self-funded company.

Whether or not those tactics will work is yet to be seen, but the company has a good track record. What's more, it's recently begun acquiring retailers like Tokotaleo and a stake in Need Supply Co, the latter of which celebrated 20 years of business late last year. Combined, the moves make for the creation of what could shape up to be one of the foremost fashion conglomerates in North America. Only time will tell.

From: Esquire US


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