Roots leather is meant to be passed down. It is built to last generations, to evoke feelings of nostalgia while at the same time feeling timelessly current. Whether it’s a jacket or a weekender bag, each item’s craftsmanship is matched with memories of the person or persons who once owned it.
Now thanks to a special customization centre, Vancouverites can design their very own Roots bags and coats, from the ground up, to be handed down one day.
At the new 3,868-square-foot Roots Cabin at Pacific Centre—the first in Western Canada, and one of only three in the world—shoppers find themselves inside a bright, cozy space inspired by the quintessential cottage getaway. Light, rich reclaimed wood takes centre stage, along with thoughtful elements of Canadiana including a wooden canoe and handmade paddles; there are also charming nods to Roots history, such as the vintage sewing machine that was used in the company’s leather factory starting in the early 1970s. There is a lounge area fit with leather seating and iPhone charging station, and the changing rooms are outfitted in custom cottage-themed wallpaper. In true Roots fashion, almost every facet of the store’s design was made in Canada.
But the crowning marshmallow of this campfire s’more is the customization desk—one of only two in the world. Here, iPads are used to design a completely unique Awards Jacket (a style worn by the likes of Drake, Katy Perry, David Bowie, and The Weeknd), English Saddle bag, Banf Small duffel, Student Pack, or Downtown Tote bag. Choose the desired colour, style of leather, and monogramming for all products; for the jacket, clients can also choose patches for both sleeves, interior embroideries, buttons, trim, lining, and chest/back logos. Items take approximately six weeks to make, and are done so in the Roots factory in Toronto. The Pacific Centre store also has a complimentary monogramming station, allowing any leather item (new or old) to be personalized onsite.
“Roots is about the open air,” says company president and CEO Jim Gabel, seated at an intimate lunch prior to the store’s opening. He points out that Roots is not trying to be in the athletic-wear industry, but rather is about being outside in a multitude of ways—whether that be drinking coffee on the front porch, or going for a long walk near the family cabin. “We’ve had experience with this great province for almost 40 years,” Gabel says, mentioning that the Roots Cabin brings the total number of British Columbia Roots stores to 19. Despite the fact that Pacific Centre is very close to the other two downtown Vancouver shops, at Robson/Burrard and Robson/Thurlow, Gable says they are going full steam ahead at all three.
Besides, it’s only at the Roots Cabin that you can create your own personalized jacket or bag, to be handed down to a daughter or niece or grandson who will use it with pride—because it’s Roots, yes, but also because it reminds them, so perfectly of you.