Roots Canada is debuting a customization shop at its flagship store in Toronto’s Yorkdale shopping centre, the Financial Post reports.
The 5,000-square-foot boutique includes DJ stations to be used at special events, a lounge area where customers can hang out and order online, as well as varying decor in changing rooms to encourage social media coverage, according to the report.
This customization lab is the first of its kind for Roots, the report says. The lab will allow shoppers to peruse leather and fabric samples and use a digital interface to add custom touches like monograms, along with otherwise customizing jackets and other items. A custom Roots jacket, which allows for a monogram, a choice of colors and other design elements costs an added $100 and takes an additional three weeks to make at the company’s area leather factory, according to the report.
Roots Canada has cultivated a following thanks to its dedication to high-quality basics and a marketing push that includes relationships with several Canadian musicians and bands. The effort in Toronto also seeks to add personalization through customization, which Roots Canada spokespeople told the Financial Post is on the company's radar.
"Footwear customization has existed for quite some time, and we have been watching that," CEO Jim Gabel told the publication.
Illustrating the competition for personalized goods, Nordstrom has invested in Australian company Shoes of Prey, which offers footwear customization, and Amazon won a patent earlier this year for "a system of on demand apparel manufacturing [that] includes a textile printer, textile cutter, and a computing device" that could be used to make apparel or textile home goods.
While textile and apparel manufacturing has been speeding up since the Industrial Revolution, "fast fashion" has perfected speed, with Spain’s Zara arguably snagging the crown for speediest. Since the 1970s, Zara has prided itself on churning out small batches of quickly-made designs, preserving the retailer’s ability to react to the varying levels of demand for any one piece. Roots, by contrast, is clearly not interested in speed so much as nurturing a level of personalization that entails slow-fashion levels of custom-ordered design elements.
The effort also allows the outdoorsy privately held retailer, which Gabel told the Financial Post is outperforming overall apparel sales, to connect with more urban customers.