Best of the West
We take a look at Vancouver’s most innovative menswear brands.
A mix of old-growth forest and rugged beachfront forms Vancouver’s impressive landscape on the edge of the Coast Mountain Range. You’d be hard pressed to find a local resident who didn’t proudly take advantage of the geography that defines the Pacific Northwest. A deep appreciation for the wilderness invariably informs the way inhabitants dress. People here aren’t deterred by a little (or a lot) of rain and prioritize functional fashion engineered for an active lifestyle.
While the city tops the charts for livability, it is not always associated with high style. However, tides are changing and Vancouver has carved out a unique identity for creating performance driven apparel with modern attitude. In fact, homegrown favourites like Arc’teryx Veilance and Reigning Champ –both now available at Harry Rosen– have been quietly developing industry leading sportswear making waves in the international market.
Arc’teryx was born out of necessity when its founders required climbing harnesses and quality jackets for mountaineering. The discerning gearheads sought to create perfectly optimized equipment to stand up to adverse alpine conditions. Helping hikers reach new heights, the Canadian company answered the need for warmer, drier and lighter clothing. Superior textiles were ergonomically shaped into smart performance apparel instantly beloved by Vancouverites, and soon the world over. Realizing that functional design had demand beyond the great outdoors, Arc’teryx Veilance was introduced to cater to the unique needs of us urban dwellers.
The elevated collection has since captivated fashion audiences by packing Everest summit technology into minimalist menswear. Asymmetrical shapes and fully taped seams find form in streamlined outwear with weatherproof capabilities. Headquartered in the North Shore of Vancouver, Arc’teryx Veilance looks to its surroundings for creative inspiration and testing prototypes. The pioneering brand has once again appealed to the needs of its customers, this time with progressive clothes that feel at home both on ski slopes the city streets.
Putting Canadian fashion firmly on the map is cult favourite Reigning Champ. Crowned the “Kings of Fleece,” the understated label handcrafts original fabrics with a focus on premium cotton. “It’s a combination of both textile development and process that keeps the brand moving forward,” explains Creative Director Tung Vo. “At the beginning of each season I’m excited to see how we can manipulate textiles to suit our needs, whether it be aesthetically or functionally.” These soft fabrics are precision cut into sporty staples guided by Reigning Champ’s mission statement: Respect the details. Master simplicity.
Streetwear fans turn to Reigning Champ for a casual uniform promising wardrobe longevity. “The whole idea is the clothes are comfortable, yet they still feel robust and durable,” notes Tung. “We design for our environment. Fleece and knit sweaters are very, you know, Vancouver.” Proud of its British Columbian roots, the brand’s entire design and manufacturing process takes place locally. This unique strategy allows Reigning Champ to maintain unparalleled quality standards and fine-tune the collection.