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Joe Fresh has been in NYC for a little while now, but analyzing the Canadian brand's Manhattan invasion is still very much a thing to do. The first pop-up shop sprouted in October, which was followed by a Fifth Avenue store in Flatiron. And by the end of the month, another Fifth Avenue spot will debut further uptown. But how does everyone feel about all that? Yesterday, the Observer penned a three-page article that asks that very question of Canadian-born New York residents, out-of-town tourists, and your everyday New Yorker and famous fashion insider.
According to the article, "There is one group Joe Fresh has had no trouble winning over: New York Canucks." The company started out in the Canadian grocery chain Loblaws, selling its shirts and socks alongside steaks. Rachel Sklar, originally from Toronto, explains the appeal of the concept: "I discovered to my delight aisles of FUN stuff to buy, and something to distract me from wandering the candy aisle."
Turns out, one of Joe Fresh's biggest fans is apparently Joe Zee, who worked for Joe Mimran at Club Monaco way back in the day. And according to Zee, at the time, "It was the coolest thing in all of Toronto."
As for Simon Doonan, well, he's never heard of Joe Fresh—but that doesn't mean he doesn't have a few things to say about it. "New Yorkers always give a warm welcome to breezy wholesome brands from Canada and elsewhere. Everything in Manhattan is louche and gritty and dark. We embrace anything which brings a little outdoorsy je ne said quoi."
And in a similarly ambiguous statement—since she's probably never heard of it either—Carine Roitfeld explains that "people love the fashion they can afford." Which is about as obvious as saying that people don't want to pay a lot of money for a T-shirt that's just a T-shirt, and not also a sportscar or a flat screen TV.
Considering that might be Joe Fresh's big appeal, what about all the others brands that people can afford, like H&M and Forever21? Cue NY1's Pat Kiernan, who puts it like this: "They're legendary for the quality of their clothes, like the Gap in better days, or H&M if it didn't fall apart on you." That being said, Kiernan told the Observer that he mostly shops at Saks and J.Crew—maybe Joe Fresh's bright orange just isn't his color.
· Joe Fresh Takes Manhattan, But Will New Yorkers Buy It? [New York Observer]
· Joe Fresh's Second Fifth Avenue Store Is Coming In March [Racked NY]
· Canadian Invasion: Joe Fresh's Joe Mimran on Conquering NYC [Racked NY]