Christine Collet hadn’t heard of Aritzia until about a year ago, when she started to notice videos about the brand pop up in her TikTok feed.
Now, Aritzia makes up more than half her wardrobe.
“I ordered online, and ever since then I became obsessed,” said Collet, 23, a marketing co-ordinator and graduate student at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn.
Founded in Vancouver in 1984, Aritzia has long been a mainstay for Canadian shoppers, and has steadily grown its U.S. presence since opening two stores in Seattle and Santa Clara in 2007.
The brand has lately been doing well on both sides of the border, but its popularity in the U.S. has exploded, driven in part by TikTok, where videos about Aritzia’s #effortlesspant, for instance, have more than 20 million views. This month, Bloomberg called Aritzia “the hottest fashion chain in the U.S.,” and in the latest quarter its U.S. net revenue grew by 58 per cent compared to the previous year.
“It’s surprising to see a new fashion brand coming out of Canada, but it seems to be really working,” said Tim Calkins, a clinical professor of marketing at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Ill., who likened Aritzia’s American invasion to Lululemon’s in the mid-2000s.
That sales bump wasn’t a one-time fluke. In the last two years, Aritzia’s U.S. customers have tripled, executives told investors last fall, and today about half its business comes from the U.S. The brand has big plans to build on that success in the years ahead, according to those executives, and expects that its U.S. stores will outnumber its Canadian ones by the end of the 2027 fiscal year.
But experts say being crowned the hot new thing in retail can be a blessing and a curse. It means pressure for a business to grow ever more quickly without biting off more than it can chew, or becoming overexposed and losing its intrigue.
The pressure is heightened amid a slowing economy, tepid U.S. retail environment and unpredictable social media landscape, where consumers can tire of a brand as quickly as they jumped on its bandwagon.
“The challenge of growth is very simple,” said Calkins. “How fast can you grow and how do the numbers hold up as you do it?”
What’s driving the hype
Aritzia describes itself as “Everyday Luxury,” a category that sits somewhere between fast fashion and a full-on luxury brand. A popular bodysuit, for example, is priced at $58, while a wool turtleneck rings in at $168.
It’s a genre of retail that’s become more attractive in recent years, said fashion industry analyst Tamara Szames, as customers become willing to spend more to get a better, longer-lasting garment.
Part of what makes Aritzia unusual is that it isn’t just Aritzia. Underneath the brand name is a
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