The first international Splendid retail store opened at Pacific Centre on July 28th, 2012, the 9th in total. It took only a quick one and a half months to construct, transforming the former Sterling Group shoe store into a Californian shopping oasis.
The odd times when a national fashion retailer decides to set up its first shop in Vancouver, I wonder why. But given LA and Vancouver share the same West Coast attitude toward lifestyle, it’s not hard to understand.
Store Manager Melissa Araujo says of our city, “The people from Vancouver are so laid back. They love yoga… And who takes the flag for being ecological, organic, and recyclable? It’s Vancouver. So that’s why we started here.” A big push came from the CFO, who’s actually from Vancouver.
What the brand all boils down to is the cotton and their lifelong quest to create the perfect tee. After 10 years in business, Splendid has narrowed down one of their blends perfectly: the 50% supima cotton and 50% modal (a type of rayon). It’s buttery-soft to the touch, light, and breathable.
Some of their best selling shirts that you’ll find at the front table feature cotton in the front panel, and modal in the back panel. Another free-flowing shirt had alternating transparent and opaque panels in its design that you can’t tell unless it’s on a body. Melissa is shown wearing the Double Pocket Long Sleeve in white ($120.00) and I thought it looked fabulous on her. It’s these casually understated details that make the product so appealing.
Items that are favourite staples you’ll find year round include the tanks, v-neck tees, and long sleeve tees in various solid colours. The solid stripes they’re known for show up in their fashion collections, which debuts a new collection monthly. So be sure to pop by the store often, as their merchandise changes constantly.
The men’s collection, which has been around for 5 years, offers cotton shorts that have an additional jersey lining on the inside. Seeing how dedicated they truly are to cotton, I can’t help but think that this company will do so well if they started a lingerie line specializing in bras with cotton lining, as opposed to what we find on the market: cotton bras with polyester lining.
Splendid is actually very actively eco-conscious, though it’s not something they’re public about. The store has live plants, a reclaimed wooden floor, tree stumps as seats, and sustainable lighting (more info to come later). Even in production, accessories are made from post-cutting fabric. So the scarf you see in store came from an act of salvaging materials: fun for us and friendly for the environment! “They just did it because that’s what they believe in. They’re not even thinking we can sell this as green marketing,” says Melissa.
Compared to their Californian peers next door, the store is a lot brighter and easier to shop. It’s got natural wood fixtures and a beachy feel that exudes effortless style. The only critique I have of the design is that although I love the Splendid branding and logo that frames the cash wrap, it also entirely blocks the vision to the fitting rooms, of which there are only two. Since stripes are used on the back wall, turning those into shelving that come out a cut-out in the wall would add instant visibility.
The entire line is also designed and produced in LA, Melissa, the self-proclaimed “cotton child from LA” tells me. She’s such the perfect fit for Splendid, having come from another cotton-based company. Hailing from Brazil and having studied fashion, she has such a passion for textiles that really shows when she talks about Splendid. Be sure to stop by the store soon and check out the brand yourself. Melissa and her wonderful staff are sure to take good care of you while they inform you more about Splendid.