Earlier this fall, Hudson’s Bay announced a partnership with the platform INLAND, which features collections by Canada’s most exciting new designers.
As the department store chain continues its commitment to supporting more Canadian and BIPOC brands, shoppers can find apparel, footwear, accessories, and jewellery by emerging local designers via thebay.com.
Collections by over 40 brands are currently in the online store, including nearly 40% BIPOC designers. Sarah Power, Founder and Creative Director of INLAND, says the platform is expanding all the time and adding more brands.
“By promoting sustainable collections, advocating for diverse representation and empowering local voices, we make it easy for Canadians to feel good about everyday wardrobe choices,” she says.
Designer Allison Smith graduated from Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s fashion design and technology program before going on to work in Montreal’s rag trade. In 1998, she launched Allison Wonderland, followed by Pillar in 2011.
Both of the designer’s lines adhere to slow fashion for quality and longevity. They’re made in Vancouver in collaboration with local small businesses, and fabric scraps are donated to local crafters for use afterwards.
Smith is driven by a desire to create clothes for the way women really live, designing go-to pieces with a sense of playful, effortless style, often inspired by the 70s (her favourite decade).
“I try to make each style as trend-proof as possible so it can be worn for many seasons,” she tells Daily Hive. “This season there is a lot of colour and fun prints. I want to make pieces special to give people a reason to part with their money. Especially during a pandemic.”
She continues, “There are some fun dresses that would be great to wear around the house since there is nowhere else to go!”
The designer says she always wanted to be a part of INLAND events, but being based on the West Coast made that difficult. “The new online site has made it happen,” she notes. “I was very excited to be one of the designers they chose. The fact that it’s associated with the Bay makes it more exciting.”
Eunice Quan, the designer behind Priory, says she thinks the alignment between INLAND and Hudson’s Bay is “the way of the future” for the fashion industry.
“We have seen in the US many of the big department stores fall one by one. These larger stores did not adapt and innovate for the ways people want to engage with consuming in the current times. In the online age, people are more educated and connected.”
The designer says consumers want to know the story behind the brands and people they’re supporting. “Hudson’s Bay has a loyal following, as it is a Canadian legacy and heritage brand. However, being a big establishment with many products to sell, storytelling cannot happen seamlessly on the sales floor.”
INLAND, Quan adds, is a champion for featuring smaller designers and their stories. “Together, both parties are able to bring to the table what they do best.”
In terms of garment creation, all of Quan’s pieces are designed with comfort, quality, and functionality in mind. Her collections are distinctive, with tactile textiles that are worked to focus on the playfulness of fit while creating a loose silhouette and a “refined uncomplicatedness.”
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All Priory designs are sampled and manufactured in a family-run factory in the Garment District of Vancouver. The design team recognizes that sustainability in fashion is effectively unattainable but believes that it’s possible to minimize impact while continuing to create beautiful garments.
As such, Priory is committed to making responsible decisions around the fabrics used in their designs and the factories they partner with.