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Canada is home to some of the most stylish stars, designers and tastemakers, but that’s not all: The Great White North is also the birthplace of several fashion brands on the rise in the U.S., including Aritzia and now Oak + Fort.
Oak + Fort, a Vancouver-based minimalist brand, founded as an online-only label by husband and wife team Arjuna Thiagarajah and Min Kang in 2010, has set up shop at Westfield Century City, which is currently undergoing a $850 million renovation. The boutique is situated between gourmet candy boutique Sugarfina and soon-to-open Madewell, and directly across from fellow Canadian retailer Aritzia.
A post shared by OAK + FORT (@oakandfort) on
Oak + Fort is something akin to San Francisco-based brand Everlane with its clean aesthetic and crisp visuals — look no further than the Canadian company’s Instagram for proof. Its latest location mirrors its social media channels’ well-curated vision with white walls, wooden panels and a dressing room area that’s well-lit for all those mirror selfies, of course.
Though the store offers everyday essentials, including tees and jeans, the designs are anything but basic. Among the best-sellers, according to its website, are an off-the-shoulder top with a ribbed elasticized neckline and trumpet sleeves ($48), a lightweight, long-sleeve shirt with split seams at the cuffs ($58) and an oversized sweater with exaggerated sleeves and loop-tie details ($148). In addition to apparel, Oak + Fort also offers accessories, jewelry and home goods at an affordable price range.
Rather than look to traditional marketing, the brand has grown its customer base through word of mouth, and, of course, social media. “A lot of our customers are millennials, so I think we do a fair job with social media, including Instagram and Facebook, and I think that’s driven a lot of our appeal,” said Thiagarajah, who serves as the brand’s director of special projects.
Thiagarajah and his partner wanted to open at the Westfield Century City after having worked with the Westfield Group when they opened their boutique in San Francisco last year. The L.A. location is currently the brand’s fifth store in the U.S., with another one opening in June at Roosevelt Field shopping mall in Long Island, New York.
The brand most recently threw a party in downtown L.A., and though the co-founders were unable to attend, Thiagarajah shared that he and his wife are frequent visitors to the City of Angels. “We visit L.A. quite often — we have family there,” he said.
Though the Century City store opened just last month, there’s possibility for expansion within the L.A. market.
“It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when. This is just the initial opening,” Thiagarajah said. “Like New York, L.A. is a large market. From visiting, I can tell you can’t really get around that well with the traffic, so I think we will certainly open more stores in the future.”
Oak + Fort, 10250 Santa Monica Blvd, Unit 1860, Los Angeles; 424-335-0686, oakandfort.com
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