Topshop’s biggest store outside the UK — all 33,000 square feet of it — opens today in The Bay on Granville Street in Vancouver.
“I’m still getting lost in it, I can assure you,” said managing director Mary Homer when I stopped by yesterday to get a first look at the space, which houses Topshop’s specialty boutique, a petite section, tall section, maternity wear section and gigantic shoe section. Plus, a personal shopping suite.
After my tour I sat down with a few of Topshop’s top people and here’s what they had to say…
Mary Homer on the pre-opening jitters
It gives us such a sense of pride that people are excited for Topshop. You hope that people are going to love Topshop but until people actually come through the door and buy, I’m always a little nervous about the reception.
Mary Homer on how the web’s changed the game
You’ve got an online business and it’s brilliant, but the stores have to be even better now. Our customer is quite interesting because she will go online and look and then she’ll visit the store and buy.
Talk to teenagers and ask them if they’re going to shop online and they say “Oh no. I want to go shopping, I want to have lunch, I want to try things on.”
Topman creative director Gordon Richardson on women shopping the men’s section
You shop Topman? Please say yes. [Well I will now that I’ve seen the sweaters – Kelsey]
A lot of women shop Topman because it’s just good, great clothes, it’s like weekend clothes. Put on a sweater or a big blanket-looking shirt with a boy blazer or a boy jean and it kind of works.
Gordon Richardson on evolving men’s fashion
I think men just haven’t been let free yet to explore. We were just talking earlier that it’s taken us 10, 12 years to build brand credibility within Topman. We needed to make it a cool brand and we needed to improve the product, which I think we’ve done and we’re now at this point where we’re a fashion-led brand every bit as good as Topshop is for women.
Gordon Richardson on what it’s like being creative director
It’s about the creative brushstroke that I have across everything, which is a great role but quite exhausting sometimes.
The stakes are higher, the pressure is there to get it right. There are some things that don’t work as well but you can’t run a fashion business on everything being right. Fashion is about creativity and constant change so you have to run with that.
Gordon Richardson on the big picture
You have to think globally now as well because we’re such an international brand although we’re very British-focused, a lot of our imagery and our look is British. Obviously we’re now going to have now consider international markets.
It has a very British slant this season with all the fabrics and tweeds. The tweed is actual Harris Tweed and I don’t think there are any other brands at our level working with it. It’s woven in the outer Hebrides, north of England. It’s proper traditional cloth gentlemen used to wear to hunt, and shoot and fish.
London calling? Put it on hold and head to Topshop Vancouver instead.
P.P.S. You’ll find all The Anthology’s interviews with the likes of designer Rachel Roy, J.Crew’s design directors Tom Mora and Frank Muytjens, and New York-based artist Jason Young right here.