The late Henry Singer remains an iconic Albertan. A community builder, civil rights advocate, broadcaster, and jazz aficionado who believed that one’s highest calling is to make a difference, Singer opened his first made-to-measure hat and suiting store in downtown Edmonton in 1938, with $300 to his name.
What we wear and how we choose to present ourselves tells the world a story about who we are. Henry Singer understood the importance of personal style, and after returning from the Second World War, grew his business by helping servicemen shed their khakis and reassert their individuality. For three generations, celebrating the man inside of the suit has been the driving spirit of the company he founded.
The Henry Singer Fashion Group recently unveiled their new flagship location on the strip of Calgary’s trendy, historic Eighth Avenue, partnering with Calgary’s award-winning architecture and interior design firm McKinley Burkart. Taking inspiration from Henry Singer’s rich history and the entrepreneurial spirit of Alberta, the 6,000-square-foot space speaks on every level to craftsmanship, luxury, and individualism.
The celebration of artistry is everywhere, from the textural, plastered walls and carved-out niches to the oak herringbone floors. Architect Walker McKinley says the firm based these handmade elements on a desire to emphasize the continuing presence of the real people behind the work, and to reflect upon and honour the artistry that goes into every detail of fine suit-making. “You can feel the hand of the person who created it,” he says. The visual language of the store is based on McKinley Burkart’s ethos of designing emotionally compelling projects that tell the story of the people behind the business.
This concept of crafted luxury reaches beyond looks. There are VIP change rooms, a made-to-measure personal shopping suite concealed behind a movable bookcase, and an open-concept tailor shop. The experience is made complete with an on-site barbershop, staffed by the artists at Johnny’s (a member of the Hedkandi Salon group), and an apothecary featuring a veritable wealth of premium skin care and fragrances.
The clothes don’t make the man—but they help the man make a statement.
Henry Singer, 545 8 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2P 1G1.
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