Topshop comes to The Bay (Toronto): Yonge & Queen and Yorkdale Mall Review

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Topshop and Topman open at The Hudson’s Bay Company at Yorkdale Mall in Toronto on Oct 5, 2011 at 11am.  Are you excited?  😉  It’s almost here…..

One of the first Topshop’s opened at Yonge and Queen Street on Thursday, June 30, 2011 to much pomp and circumstance.  It was a big deal when Topshop came to our humble Toronto town that’s fo sho.   😉

The Bay also announced as part of this new relationship with Topshop as of this September; shoppers from across Canada will be able to purchase Topshop and Topman merchandise through thebay.com/topshop and thebay.com/topman websites. This agreement is an international first, and will allow fashion lovers from across the country to be a part of the Topshop and Topman experience.

Since it launched in 1964, Topshop has become a major style authority and one of fashion’s biggest success stories. Topshop began as Peter Robinson’s Top Shop, a young fashion brand in the basement of the former department chain, Peter Robinson Ltd. The first standalone Topshop store was opened in 1974.

In 1994, the Topshop flagship store was born, as the brand took over a 90,000 sq ft space at London Oxford Circus. It remains there today, and is considered the world’s largest fashion store on the high street, attracting over 200,000 shoppers each week. In April 2009, the first American Topshop store opened its doors in New York.

In 2005, Topshop showed its own in-house designed collection, Unique, as part of the official London Fashion Week schedule. The only high-street brand to show on schedule, Unique’s witty approach to style has made it a first choice for those who like to stay ahead. 2012 will see the tenth anniversary of Topshop’s sponsorship of New Generation, which has nurtured an impressive roster of British talent over many seasons of London Fashion Week.

My connection with Topshop is a sentimental one.

On my first trip to London with one of my gf’s at 19 we hit stores like Topshop, Primark, Miss Selfridge and C&A.  We were just some urban Toronto girls and never exposed to such fancy street wear but man we were instant converts.  These stores were the epitome of fashion.  The clothing and accessories were super trendy, cool, daring and on sale decent towards the Canadian dollar.  We were in love.  We came home with our suitcases packed to the brim.  Yes, we even had to sit on each other’s cases on our last day in London.  We were over in our baggage allowance flying back on Canada 3000 – but we didn’t care.

Every time since I have been back to both London and Manchester I hit Topshop.  It’s expensive and now having a mortgage and full time job I can’t go as crazy as I used to as a kid.  But I have still picked up staple pieces like a fitted army jacket, cute miniskirts, warm woollen tights, a silver leather handbag, a yellow and chocolate brown leather clutch, cheap and cheerful necklaces, rings and earrings and even better many a flat shoe and heels.  I have stuff from Topshop I bought 8 years ago that I still wear!  They are investment pieces.

This past week I checked out the Topshop at Yonge and Queen.  It’s no Topshop London ladies.  The pieces are lovely sure.  There is nothing English and traditional about the pieces.  They look like simple items you could find anywhere really.  They are also way too boring for the Canadian market.  To top it off the prices are obscene.  The accessories…meh.

The Bay is really bringing their A game to try and sell the Topshop brand to a whole new younger retail market.  I get it.  But I am not going to spend $100 for a cardigan.  Nor will I pay $70 for a plastique/imitation leather satchel.  Why would I?  When I can do my research as a 38 year old and go to Winners?  Joe Fresh?  Or a vintage show and get something more unique with a brand name with some weight behind it.

These Topshop clothes are meant for Forest Hill kids.  They aren’t meant for urban Toronto kids.  Hey I know Toronto kids have money – but why would they want to put money in a brand that’s at The Bay?  Their mom’s, dad’s and grandparent’s stores?  They need to be wooed in our already cluttered disposable trendy retail clothing market.

Now Topshop has been doing their wooing on Twitter and Facebook – I give them that.  But come on, you’re gonna get them in the door once.  There’s no guarantee they are going to come back once they see those prices no matter how many free gift cards and scarves you give away.  http://ow.ly/i/ilVC

Do you honestly think kids in Halifax or Winnipeg are going to be able to afford this stuff full price?  Nope.  These kids when they visit Toronto as well as Toronto’s urban kids have brand relationship connections with Old Navy, The Gap,  American Eagle Outfitters and Hollister all located closest to Dundas Square and in the thoroughfare at the Eaton Centre.  Going into The Bay to look at Topshop is miles away.  It was miles away for me and I work downtown.

Toronto teens may check this stuff out – sure.  But they will still continue to take their wads of cash and credit cards to the disposable fashion stores like H&M, Forever 21, Madewell, Urban Outfitters and Ruche.  They aren’t looking for long term relationships with their clothes at the Topshop’s current price point. Personally, even as an adult I will wait for this stuff to go on a 75% sale rack.  Even then I’m not going to heat up the doors outside of The Bay to get in and snag these offerings.

Now in terms of colour blocking – yes I love it!  The cobalt blues, eggplant purples, orange jewel tones and patent leather are dynamic.  I love the pops of colour intermixed with the black hues.

The quality of the dresses and cardigans are oh so Topshop.  Perfection!   But again I can probably find similar items at a vintage shop in the city for a fraction of the price.  That said I will haunt a few dresses and see if I can get them on sale. The holidays are coming up….I may need a new frock or two.

The shoes.  Don’t get me started.  They are Payless meets Shoe Company.  Horrific.  They are nothing special – bypass them quickly and do not dwell on them.  Hopefully, they will get better as the collection progresses at The Bay.

The bags are cheap pleather.   For a $70-80 price tag – I wish they were better quality and a lil more eccentric a la Oxford Circus Topshop.

I’m hopeful that the buyers at The Bay get their act together and see what sells and doesn’t sell this season.  I’m sure the pricing for this stuff to send from the UK after duty etc. is nuts – but think brand loyalty please.  Remember the Toronto consumer likes quality, bang for our buck, staple pieces and most importantly affordability.  If The Bay wants to secure a whole new demographic of buyers they have a limited time to woo us.  I give you one more season.  😉

In regards to the Yorkdale store – let’s hope learning from the J.Crew controversy they keep their prices reasonable.  But then again, the calibre of shopper that shops at Yorkdale maybe able to sustain them.

Lastly, I hear on twitter that there will be a special live performance at the Yorkdale Topshop opening.  The Kills are the rumour. I’ll keep you posted!

Check out details at Facebook.com/TopshopCanada and Facebook.com/TopmanCanada as well as on Twitter @Topshop_Canada#TopShopCA and @TopmanCA#TopManCA. Watch the sites for news on the hottest trends out of the UK as well as details on Canadian events and exclusive contests.

Yours in fashion,

Mel xo

p.s.  October 7, 2012:  Check out my latest review on Topshop titled, Topshop Invades The Bay (Toronto): Bay & Queen Street Review, https://thirtyfourflavours.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/topshop-invades-the-bay-toronto-bay-queen-street-review/

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8 thoughts on “Topshop comes to The Bay (Toronto): Yonge & Queen and Yorkdale Mall Review

  1. chameleonic

    great post! we’d love to get a better bay in ottawa, but they pulled Pink Tartan and Halston…. although I think Topshop would work here!

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    1. thirtyfourflavours Post author

      thanks girl! tell me if you do get the bay and tell me what your experience is like. i’d love to hear your views on halston at the bay when you have a moment.
      cheers!
      mel

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  2. Michael Ste

    I’ve heard other people complain about the prices of the Topshop and Topman clothes available thus far at the Bay. The brands will lose their lustre pretty quickly if the Bay abandons a key aspect of the formula that made them so successful in the U.K.

    Just a note: the Topshop and Topman boutiques that opened at the Bay in downtown Toronto (at Queen and Yonge) were just “pop up” stores – intended a bit of a preview of what’s to come. The Bay also did pop-up stores in Vancouver and Calgary. The pop-up stores are really just temporary ads for real boutiques that will follow in those locations. The Yorkdale store is the first real, full-fledged Topshop/Topman store in Canada, and will presumably offer a much clearer picture of what the Bay intends to do with the brands in this country.

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    1. thirtyfourflavours Post author

      Michael – thanks so much for the feedback. I agree. What do you think is the ‘key aspect of the formula that made them so successful in the U.K.’?
      Really, I hope The Bay brings their game and helps in making this brand just as special as it is in the UK here in Canada. In my gut, (and not to be a negative ninny) – I have a feeling its going to fail unless The Bay picks up their socks soon in regards to pricing and the pieces they are choosing to sell in their Bay store(s). Those are the core issues that I am seeing.
      Mel

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  3. Sarah Fennema (@sarahfenn)

    Do they have a full version of the TopShop in the bay in Canada? Because I was looking at the online uk site and there are some cute tops and high wasted shorts that I loved. Would they have something like that available at the topshop in the same? Or do they have limited selections?

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  4. thirtyfourflavours Post author

    hiya sarah!

    i think the top shop items that the bay has in stock is new and some from last season. uk fashion/trends is usually 6 months ahead of canadian fashion. i doubt that what the bay has now is what top shop in the uk is currently selling.

    check out their products here http://www.thebay.com/eng/brands/search/womens-thebay/18833

    if you live in canada – i would say shop online and have them post you your purchases. i’ve checked out their selection in stores and some are limited, sizes go fast and you can find way cooler pieces that are not picked through by online shopping. if you need to try on sizes…sure that’s a risk. if you own any top shop clothing right now use that as an idea for your size selection.

    i hope that’s helpful.

    cheers! follow my blog when you have a moment!

    happy shopping!

    mel xo

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  5. Pingback: Topshop Invades The Bay (Toronto): Bay & Queen Street Review « thirty four flavours

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