Wednesday, November 9

From the Frozen Food Aisle to Fifth Avenue: Canadian Retail Chain Joe Fresh Opens in New York City

Joe Fresh, the Canadian retail chain whose designs initially sold in supermarkets, opened its first store in New York City on 5th avenue this past week. This marks another career milestone for Joe Fresh founder and Creative Director, Joseph Mimran, who is also the genius behind Club Manaco, another brand who made the journey over the border. Mimran is insistent that at Joe Fresh, "price is paramount." The entire collection is priced from $2 to $159, with many items between $12 and $29. 
Joe Fresh founder Joseph Mimran and Elle Creative
 Director Joe Zee
The idea of Joe Fresh came to fruition back in 2006, when Mimran was approached to design a chic and affordable apparel line for Canadian supermarket chain Loblaws. In a Q & A session at the store opening, Mimran told Elle Magazine's Creative Director Joe Zee (and former employee of Mimran's at Club Monoco), about taking on this challenge. Successfully bringing fashion to the unglamorous grocery aisles seemed to an impossible feat to many. "My friends said I was nuts" Mimran explains. "That I would lend my name they said I was doubly nuts." However, Joe Fresh flourished as a stylish and reasonably-priced clothing line and quickly won over consumers. Since its launch in Spring of 2006, Joe Fresh has opened its own stand-alone stores and is available at over 300 locations across Canada. 

"We want to become a fabric of the city" Mimran explains on the brand's move to Manhattan. In addition to the Flat Iron location, five Joe Fresh locations will open across New York City. This includes the U.S flagship store which will open next Spring, as a second location on Fifth Avenue near The New York Public Library and Bryant Park. Mimran jokes "We've gone from the frozen food aisle to Fifth Avenue."

In Mimran's eyes, fashion is international and transcends boundaries and Joe Fresh will continue to expand internationally. "I see world domination, I always have" he said. "Its my nature."

Joe Fresh has found a particular place in the market for everyday casual and weekend wear, straddling the line between fashion and basics. Developing a signature in its bright color palate, Mimran referred to the influence derived from the fresh harvests of the supermarket "Actually, the notion of 'fresh' is what created our color palette," Mimran explained. "We wanted everything we sold to look really appetizing."

Zee made sure to ask Mimran the inevitable question of how to keep quality up and prices affordable. In terms of keeping the balance, "There are secrets when it comes to sourcing" Mimran says."Editing is our secret sauce."

Despite the economic climate, I have no doubts that Joe Fresh will join the ranks of  other affordable fashion chains, such as Uniqlo and H&M. Having conjured up the perfect recipe for "fast fashion", Mimran's Joe Fresh brand will provide New Yorkers another welcomed option for basic and of-the-moment styles that wont break the bank. 

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