Inside Uniqlo’s first Canadian store, at the Eaton Centre

By Jean Grant| Photography by Kayla Rocca
Inside Uniqlo's first Canadian store, at the Eaton Centre

The wait is almost over: Uniqlo’s two-floor Eaton Centre flagship opens its doors to the public on Friday, letting shoppers load up on fall and winter staples at even more of a steal than usual (tip: there will be a huge opening sale). As with all Uniqlo stores, the focus is on inclusion and individuality: you can shop for your grandmother, toddler and hipster cousin all in one spot (Uniqlo has no target demographic), and although each piece on its own may seem basic, endless variety means mixing and matching to create a unique look is a breeze. Plus, the label’s $150 down coats will appeal to just about every Torontonian as the temperature dips.

Before its Toronto launch, the brand set up mini pop-up shops within cool local stores like Souvenir Studios, Drake General Store and Blacksmith Cycle. Now, select items from each store (including familiar Canadiana from DGS) are available in Uniqlo:

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Here are some delicate ceramics from Souvenir Studios:

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Uniqlo’s most distinctive in-store feature is floor-to-ceiling product displays (that’s a lot of plaid flannel):

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Uniqlo’s Eaton Centre shoppers are immediately greeted by a pillar covered in origami maple leafs, a nod to both the store’s Japanese origins and its new Canadian address:

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While the shelves are strictly uniform, chic mannequins throughout the space provide stylish inspiration. Uniqlo Canada CEO Yasuhiro Hayashi took frequent research trips to Toronto to determine what the store ought to stock, and decided that Torontonians dress similar to Londoners or New Yorkers. “Torontonians are confident in how they express themselves,” he says:

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When it opens on Friday, Toronto will be the first store to carry Uniqlo’s brand-new Uniqlo U line, which was created by former Hermès designer Christophe Lemaire. We love the reversible white-and-gray bomber jacket:

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The label’s logo consists of 12 Us, a reference to the essential nature of the line—you can wear it 12 months a year:

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The brand’s popular ultra-light down jackets, which have an aluminum lining for extra warmth, conveniently fold up into a small pouch:

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Down coats (and pretty much everything else) are available for kids, too:

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For $150, you can basically walk around in a sleeping bag all winter long. When asked if these down jackets will be warm enough for Canadian winters, Hayashi notes that Uniqlo also sells them in Moscow:

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The brand’s collaboration with Parisian model and designer Ines de la Fressange, full of effortless French-chic basics like trench coats, turtlenecks and A-line skirts, is also available:

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Affordable accessories, like two-tone shawls and fall hats, will add cozy flair to any outfit:

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Fluffy fleece hoodies (and matching fleece pants, if you dare) work especially well in chilly climates:

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The denim selection is also huge, and includes selvage threads and Uniqlo’s extra-warm “Heattech” jeans (which are lined with a special material that locks in warmth):

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