Herschel Supply opens North American flagship in Vancouver

Herschel Supply opens North American flagship in Vancouver

Credit: Britney Gill Photography

The company’s largest global location is a whole new bag

Herschel Supply’s new North American flagship, which opens on Saturday, June 16, at 347 Water Street in Gastown, will showcase the largest physical collection of the company’s products anywhere in the world. Lyndon Cormack, who founded the company with his brother Jamie in 2009, explains that the objective is to wow Herschel fans with the large and varied selection, but “if you’re new to the brand, then it gives you the best introduction you could possibly have in a retail setting.”

Cormack emphasizes that the company produces many more items than its popular backpacks, from headwear and wallets to duffle bags and suitcases. But the 5,000-square-foot space, designed by Bocci creative director Omer Arbel, is more than a store. Instead of a traditional window display, a dozen statues made of materials ranging from wood to macramé represent diversity. “We think that the sculptures in general are going to be an amazing entrance through the glass when people are coming by,” says Cormack. “Just sort of an art moment, whether they’re commuting to work or want to come in.”

Inside, a huge screen displays images of an airport, and a mirrored infinity room features airplanes flying overhead and endless reflections of Herschel Supply luggage. “It allows us to share our passion for travel,” notes Cormack. Actual floatplanes can been seen through the windows overlooking Burrard Inlet at the back of the store. “We took down the back of the store and opened it up so we could share this with the tourists,” he says.

In any shop, a place to process purchases is a necessity, but here it was seen as a challenge to make “the most interesting cash desk ever known to humans,” Cormack remarks. The solution was to use Bocci 44 aluminum clusters to create a grotto effect.

Altogether, “it’s a spot that can be put on the map as not only a great place to shop but also like a must-see for Vancouver,” Cormack says. “Our goal is to make sure it promotes conversation about what makes cities great, and what can a simple bag or a jacket or wallet do to promote conversation about arts in the city and help connect people to all the things that make this city an amazing place to be. We hope we can have those conversations with people and teach them a little bit about what we care about and they can teach us a little bit about what they care about and then we all get better together.”

Herschel currently operates more than 40 locations worldwide in partnership with third-party distributors, but Herschel Supply Gastown will be its first fully owned and largest retail storefront. It opens to the public at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 16. Among other opening day gifts and giveaways, the first 200 people through the door will receive a free piece of carry-on luggage.