Toronto, November 3, 2014 – Renowned Parisian menswear boutique Loding, opened its doors last week to a second North American retail location in downtown Toronto’s First Canadian Place. Known for its high-quality, handmade shirts, shoes and accessories at fixed prices, Loding debuts its new storefront design as well.
“We are excited about the new shift in our [interior] design,” says Yannick Bigourdan, North American Counterpart for Loding. “Men’s fashion and style has evolved over time, and it is important for Loding to adapt and maintain its appeal to the modern man, providing a great experience, impeccable service and high-quality product – all in a contemporary atmosphere. For the very first time, Loding will be steering away from the traditional green and yellow décor it’s known for to showcase a sleek and more approachable design for the modern gentleman.”
The new 1,000 square-foot store in First Canadian Place features a black and white colour scheme with leather accents, giving a contemporary and sophisticated feel to the boutique. In addition to the new design, the new location includes a polishing station to help maintain the elegance and finesse of the high-quality shoes. Clients will be offered three complimentary polishes with the purchase of a pair of shoes to ensure longevity. Loding has differentiated itself from competitors by offering quality products at highly competitive prices, thus making luxury accessible. Prices are fixed with shoes retailing at $330, ties at $70, cashmere sweaters at $245, cuff links at $50, shirts at $95, socks at $16, scarves at $85, laces at $10, and belts $80.
It’s All Style To Me had a chance to visit the new boutique and interview Nathan Gozlan, Founder and President of Loding and Yannick Bigourdan, North American Counterpart for Loding.
It’s All Style To Me: Why Loding? Where did the name come from?
Nathan Gozlan: Why Loding? It’s a good question! At first the name was Holding, named of our family race horse. We had to change it because of copyright issues so we went with Loding.
It’s All Style To Me: High quality at a reasonable price is something that many strive for, but few truly succeed at. What makes Loding special?
Nathan Gozlan: In France, there are a lot of shoe companies, but few with such high quality at a great price. We opened the first store in 1998 and now have 70 stores throughout France, Europe, China and North Africa. We take pride in our shoes being manufactured in Europe from high quality French leather.
It’s All Style To Me: What’s the difference between British and French men’s footwear?
Yannick Bigourdan: What the English shoe brings is a more classical approach to footwear. What the French have done, especially Loding, is that they have taken these classical designs and have tried to modernize them.
It’s All Style To Me: Tell us more about the leather that Loding uses in its footwear.
Yannick Bigourdan: We get all of our leather from the famous Tanneries du Puy. Their number one client is Hermès [other clients include Louis Vuitton, Weston, Christian Dior, Loewe, Delvaux, Gérard Sené, and Church]. We know the origin of all our skins and they are all shipped by air to different factories that we have throughout Spain and Portugal.
It’s All Style To Me: The two of you met in France and as result, Toronto is now home to Loding’s first (and second) North American boutique. How did that come to be?
Yannick Bigourdan: First Canadian Place is our second North American boutique. The first one is also located in Toronto at 133 Avenue Road in Yorkville. The way it all started, for the past sixteen years, every time I would go back home to France I would visit Loding and spend around 45 minutes in their boutique selecting four to five pairs of shoes. I wear Loding shoes every day. I mean, there’s nothing like it in Canada or the USA – every pair for the same price at such great quality. So, I now own 50-60 pairs of Loding shoes! At one point, we joked around and said guys, let’s save you the trouble and just bring Loding to North America.
It’s All Style To Me: Do Loding shoe styles change by season?
Nathan Gozlan: Between 75%-80% of the collection doesn’t change. What we do is take some stuff out and reintroduce new models. Where we play a lot is in the accessories, shirts and knitwear.
It’s All Style To Me: Where do the influences and the inspiration for new designs come from?
Nathan Gozlan: We go to Pitti Uomo and get a feel for what trends are coming out. For example, we noticed the double-monk strap as prevalent several seasons ago, so we introduced our own take on it. You have a 50-year-old trend in men’s footwear making a comeback. It’s amazing.
It’s All Style To Me: How do you get away with charging such a reasonable price for high quality footwear? Do you make any money?
Yannick Bigourdan: We sell a lot! We have 40,000 pairs of shoes ready to be shipped out in our warehouse. Loding is a serious shoemaker, that’s what they do. The one thing that’s completely different from other franchisers is that there is no obligation [for us] to buy stock. They are completely transparent to their franchisee. As a result, there’s never any unsold product nor any discount sales.
There truly are a lot of great styles to choose from at Loding and Toronto men have serious reason to rejoice. Admittedly, some styles are a lot nicer than others with textured leather and spruced up classics their strongest. Loding offers customization through a coloured patina treatment of your choice. The charge is around $150 extra and the result is something to behold. Treated footwear adds some serious pop for a unique shot of personal style. Gentlemen, you owe it to yourselves to pay them a visit.
Photos: Spiro Mandylor, www.spiro.ca
Product Photo: Loding