by Stephen Garner

Montréal-based outerwear brand Kanuk will open its first U.S. store in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood on November 23rd. Located at 75 Greene Street, this store will be the brand’s first standalone boutique outside of its Quebec home.

For more than 50 years, Kanuk has been designing and creating outerwear conceived to protect against extreme weather conditions. The brand only recently decided to expand internationally, and it has already garnered the attention of world-renowned retailers, including SSENSE and United Arrows, among others. Kanuk’s expansion to the U.S. is a natural next step. To pay tribute to Kanuk’s storied past and beloved heritage, the New York store is designed to reflect the Montréal spirit by blending the brand’s legacy together with its continued evolution.

“Kanuk has locally handcrafted its coats for over 50 years. Today, we are thrilled to announce that we are one step closer towards bringing meticulous Canadian craftsmanship to a truly international market,” said Richard Laniel, president of Kanuk. “Our new SoHo store is an exciting new chapter in our evolution from a small outerwear manufacturer to a global Canadian brand. A reinvented neighbourhood centered on arts, fashion, and impressive architecture, SoHo closely mirrors Kanuk’s outwear staples with an edge, and we are thrilled to have found a new home on Greene Street.”

Designed by the award-winning architecture studio Atelier Barda, the 4,000 square foot space lends itself to a sensory experience that evokes an urban utopia emblematic of Montreal’s winter climate. Upon arrival, visitors will enter through a narrow passageway anchored by a free-standing altar as they gravitate towards the main shopping section. The white-domed room showcasing Kanuk’s collections is illuminated by punctual and controlled lighting created by New York-based Derek Porter studio and James Clotfelter Lighting Design in collaboration with Atelier Barda. Inspired by the art installations of Doug Wheeler and James Turell, the use of light blurs the boundaries of architecture, creating the illusion of the coats being suspended around the room. The fitting rooms’ full-height monochrome curtains complete the visitor experience.

“Inspired by Montreal’s retro-cult character, the team of designers drew from the idealistic vision of the 60s and 70s that transformed the urban face of Montreal at that time and still inhabits the city today,” explained Cécile Combelle, co-founder of Atelier Barda. “The tension between utopia and nostalgia was something we wanted to explore in order to design a space that freely reinterprets Kanuk’s history as much as its current evolution.”