Most men probably have memories of a boyhood spent hanging out at the local swimming pool or playing baseball at the park. Jordan Singer may have some of those memories too, but his childhood also included something less common: running through the clothing racks and stockrooms of his family’s premier menswear business.
Today, as president of Edmonton-based Henry Singer Fashion Group, Jordan continues to appreciate the experience of getting to touch and feel luxury clothing. He is overseeing a retail brand that proves men’s fashion in Canada isn’t dictated solely by what comes out of Toronto or Montreal. In fact, this year will mark Henry Singer Fashion Group’s 85th anniversary, and in some ways a homecoming.
A few months ago the company announced it will be creating a new flagship store that will be based in Edmonton’s ICE District – a mixed-use sports and entertainment area located in the city’s downtown core. While the ICE District might be best known today as the place to catch an Oilers game, Jordan sees it as a natural destination for men to reconsider how they style themselves following the pandemic.
“A year or two ago, no one was dressing up for work, unless it was to wear something decent on top for a Zoom call,” Jordan told Menswhere. “Now we’re seeing people ready to get dressier again. You see it in their choice of a topcoat, or the more structured shoulder they want in a suit. When men put on clothes now, it’s no longer a uniform. It’s a fashion decision.”
Jordan told me he wants to Henry Singer Fashion Group’s flagship to help support those kinds of decisions, while also offering them the choice and flexibility they expect when they’re getting dressed for other aspects of their lives. The brand had already expanded into more casual clothing, for example, before the outbreak of COVID-19, he said, which helped when the world was in lockdown.
Reimagining physical retail goes beyond assortment, however. Jordan noted that men have traditionally approached shopping more like a chore or a necessary evil. The flagship will aim to turn looking for clothes into a more holistic – and pleasurable – excursion that includes a lot beyond browsing the racks.
“We all know that anyone can go online and buy anything they want with ease,” he said. “We believe that the customer wants a unique and special experience (when they come into s store). It might start with a cup of coffee or getting a haircut first, and then eventually they might be buying an important suit for their wedding, or sportswear to hang out on the weekend.”
This means the design of the store, which is being done in partnership with McKinley Studios, will likely require a significantly different look than the brand’s early days, in which Jordan can recall staff smoking pipes and admin workers hammering on typewriters in the basement.
When men put on clothes now, it’s no longer a uniform. It’s a fashion decision.”
Instead of simply inheriting the family’s legacy and running with it, Jordan has developed his own experience and insights into menswear by studying at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. He’s also been on the frontlines with other storied brands, including a stint with Hugo Boss in the U.K. This, along with his time at the helm of Henry Singer, have taught him much about what men really want.
“You can really make it an outing. Being in the ICE District means you can come to us and shop and go out to a hockey game or a restaurant afterwards. There are so many amenities nearby that will help make it a richer experience,” he said. “It’s about creating a feeling, an emotional connection that you can’t get just having something delivered to your door.”