Retailer bucks trend of ‘menswear woe’ with new store

Wolf KanatMenswear retailer, Wolf Kanat has launched its first bricks-and-mortar store at Sydney’s Mid City Centre.

The menswear brand sell suits, jackets, shoes and was started originally by the brand’s namesake, Wolf Kanat who escaped persecution in war torn Russia before eventually making it to Australia where he started producing clothes.

Backed by Simon Kanat, who is the director of Ted Baker Australia and Flair Industries who owns several brand licences including Hugo Boss and is a key tailored apparel supplier to Myer, David Jones and Target, Kanat has launched the first physical store for the brand named after his grandfather, following on from the success of Wolf concessions in around 25-30 Myers.

Kanat said having a standalone store will allow the brand to display its full range – unencumbered by the restrictions and buying whims of a buyer from a department store.

“With your distribution being in the hands of a department store like Myer, it limits your potential because ultimately the range is limited to how the buyer sees the product,” he said.

Securing a suitable location has been “a challenge” for the brand – a balancing act between weighing up rental occupancy costs and footfall in a downtown ground floor location. “We’ve now got a range that gives the consumer a full option of suiting formal offer so that he’s got choices,” said Kanat.

The store – akin to a tailor’s shop  and designed by creative agency YourStudio to harken to the brand’s heritage– will heavily focus on the service element, which Kanat said is imperative given the abundance of choice in today’s retail environment. Particularly at a time when a lack of differentiation has seen some major names fall by the wayside.

“On every corner there’s another option and unless you stand out on so many levels you just line up with everyone else,” he said.

“There’s no room for mediocrity because if you look at what’s changed in the last five, 10 years internationally and you’ve got brands like Topshop, Zara, H&M, Uniqlo and major volume that’s gone into the marketplace.

“We want to create an experience led retail environment that sets us out from our competitors.”

Kanat said the brand’s first store has knowledgeable staff, well versed in tailoring, in order to replicate the premium fitout with its experience instore.

The store has a built-in projector with pulldown screen that is used to display content across social media campaigns – which Kanat asserted will not simply be boring run of the mill Facebook or Instagram posts. Instead, campaigns will look to engage customers by displaying content aligned to the brand’s heritage – a look back at the 90 year old company that has had three generations of tailoring heritage.

The mid-city store will be not be the last for the brand, though Kanat said the expansion strategy will be “organic” and that the company was in no rush to slug the market with stores, instead opting for the “right locations”.

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