From New Zealand to Vancouver:
Icebreaker to Open First Retail Store in Western Canada
Icebreaker TouchLab store will offer Vancouverites the complete line of pure merino wool adventure apparel in March 2011 –
Wellington, New Zealand (12 January 2010, 7 a.m. Pacific) – Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the outdoor merino wool apparel category, today announced it would open its first store in Western Canada in March 2011.
The new TouchLab retail store will showcase the complete Icebreaker line from its Outdoor, Running, Cycling, Travel, Kids, Underwear and City collections, all made from merino wool born in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
“We call this a TouchLab store because it’s all about touch,” said Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker’s founder and CEO. “Visitors will enter the store and start by being able to touch raw merino fibre. Icebreaker merino is so soft that often people don’t even realize it’s wool. Merino is so beautiful that we want people to touch the fabric and start a conversation about it, and then discover how great it is for hiking, skiing, running, biking, and just kicking around the city.”
The Kitsilano neighborhood is home to a high concentration of healthy, fit shoppers that match Icebreaker’s target demographic. These shoppers are known for being early adopters and setting trends. Icebreaker was also attracted to the neighborhood by the concentration of other lifestyle retailers with stores in the area, including The North Face, Roots and Lululemon. Several Vancouver area specialty retailers, including Eco Outdoor Sports, Skiis and Biikes, Sigge’s Sports Villa, Strub Sports, Atmosphere Sports, On the Rivet, Europe Bound and Australian Boot Company, currently sell Icebreaker. Icebreaker expects the move to improve overall brand awareness for them as well.
Icebreaker Design is working with local architects from Vancouver Nick Sully from SHAPE Architecture, for the Kitsilano TouchLab. The store will be the company’s seventh TouchLab in the world. In North America, in addition to the TouchLab store in Montréal, Quebec, the company has a store in Portland, Oregon. It opened its first flagship TouchLab store in New York City on 1 December 2010.
Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop a merino fibre layering system for the outdoors, starting with its Bodyfit baselayer, ideal for Vancouver winters. There are now 25 to 30 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.
This fall, Icebreaker introduced Realfleece, a premium natural alternative to a synthetic fleece for men and women. Unlike synthetics, Realfleece is highly breathable to prevent clamminess and overheating, and doesn’t hold odour. Stylish, sophisticated Realfleece can be worn on the mountain as well as on the town.
Icebreaker is sold in more than 3,000 stores in 37 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 140 high country stations in the country’s Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature’s work with human technology and design.
The company was the first outdoor apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it began in 1997. Icebreaker is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008, the company launched “Icebreaker Baacode,” a pioneering supply chain transparency and traceability program. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.