Herschel's new brick-and-mortar store in Gastown will offer up apparel, hats and, of course, backpacks

Vancouver-based accessories label, Herschel Supply is opening its first North American brick-and-mortar store in Gastown on July 16, 2018. This design-driven label is best known for its classic backpacks, but visitors to the store will see the largest selection of Herschel products outside their website, including luggage, hats and apparel.1The brand sports a signature timeless aesthetic with a nod to vintage-cool. Even their brand name, Herschel, is an homage to the small Saskatchewan town of the same name where three generations of the founders' family were raised.2But that's where the nostalgia ends. During an exclusive tour of the new 5,000-square-foot store with Herschel's co-founder, Lyndon Cormack, he stressed, "We're a look-forward brand."

Pointing to a massive 13' x 9' screen that will greet customers at the entrance with digital images, he continues, "We're always looking out for cool, cultural moments, where we can celebrate diversity."

It's clear, this is an art-forward concept space. Scattered throughout the store are life-sized, figurative sculptures created by a variety of Canadian artists. All the pieces are incredibly textural and organic, such as the macramé bride by Diane Rudge. There's another female figure, but this time in clay, sculpted in five separate parts that were assembled after firing, by Ellen Scobie. And the Asphalt Angel in a collaboration between Bocci and Herschel.3The interior of the store was actually designed by Omer Arbel, creative director of Bocci. Cormack is a massive supporter of Arbel, with 369 Bocci fixtures in his own private home, but of the store, he says, "this is my retail home and I'm inviting the public to share in this intersection of space, research and design. I don't want to just sell stuff. I want to experiment."

This store in Vancouver will be Herschel’s first company-operated location as all other locations are by third-party distributors.4In under a decade, Herschel now operates 48 retail locations worldwide in partnership with third-party distributors selling products in over 70 countries worldwide. Originally known for their classic backpack silhouettes, the collection has grown to include luggage, hats, accessories and apparel.

Herschel, founded by brothers Lyndon and Jamie Cormack in 2009, sold more than seven million bags across 70 plus countries in 2016. There are more than 40 retail locations around the world, including Dubai, Paris, Taipei, Milan, Bangkok and Hong Kong.5