When asked in March about his ultimate goal for his brand by the end of 2022, Inder Bedi said that it was to successfully open BEDI’s first store in the Mile end. He wanted a location that was close to our community of like-minded people. The idea originally came up in 2019 with our pop-up on Rue St Viateur.
Covid gave us the opportunity to jump further into research and development, fine-tune our offering and inspired a little name change and rebrand. We decided that 2022 would be our year to make a permanent home in the Mile End, amongst friends and neighbours with the same ethos: slow fashion, slow food, authentic beauty, all designed and made locally with love.
Almost 6 months later, we are elated to announce the soft opening of our first store in the Mile End, this Thursday, September 1st 2022. Our opening hours will be from 11:00 am - 6:00 pm Tuesdays-Fridays and Saturdays from 11:00 am - 5:00 pm. As a thank you to the Mile End community for being so neighbourly and generous upon our arrival, we are offering a free tote bag to customers with the purchase of our first 7 jackets. We can’t wait to welcome you all to our new space!
The road was not smooth, nor is it ever with this type of feat, but seeing the end result of our products hanging in our new storefront and experiencing our community’s reactions makes it so worth it. Maybe for someone with simple objectives and straightforward retail goals it could have been easier, however that is not the case for BEDI. Our goals are deeper and more complex than simply selling a product - we are encouraging a lifestyle and a shift of perspective, as well as offering a space for the community to gather and educate themselves on slow fashion. As a group of creative perfectionists, it took a long time to find and decide on the absolute best location for us as a team to be able to accomplish that.
We looked at several spaces along Blvd St Laurent in the Mile End in Montreal. We went back and forth on several locations comparing window sizes, floor space… really everything. Until we came to the conclusion that the first space we looked at - our first “coup de coeur” - was the one that would be perfect for our team. It consists of big windows (arguably the biggest on the strip) in the front, a first floor where we have created our storefront, a second floor to offer space for our in-house photography studio and perhaps a table for sewing and alterations, and a third floor all the way in the back to act as our office space. Our fourth level is our “chill space” used for brainstorming and making coffee. We signed the lease and finally were able to move on to the next step of the process: renovations.
We had a particular feeling in mind that we wanted to instil in this space. We already had a lot of what we wanted - an open-concept space with high ceilings, natural light, cement floors, natural wood stairs, with hanging aluminum bell lamps that echoed the industrial feeling our brand already has. Tiny adjustments needed to be made, however as usual nothing is as simple as you think it will be when it comes to renovating a space. We refinished the floors and stairs to their natural texture, extended a wall, and refinished the hardware to our favourite matt black. With the help of the industrial designers at Rainville Sangare, also situated here in the Mile End, we were able to come up with a design for a few custom permanent fixtures, all made from our signature recycled and industrial materials, that will be installed mid-September. Once everything is finished and installed, we very much look forward to hosting a grand opening event, of which the planning is also in the works (stay tuned!)
For now, we thought it silly to waste such a beautiful space while waiting for these final touches to be put in place. As mentioned in a previous article, we are very much inspired by artists creating “art from trash”, specifically Ian Berry and his Denim Creations (read more here). We wanted to create our own display made from “raw materials” (aka trash) we found around the city. What started as a pile of garbage turned into something beautiful. We were able to use a large sheet of discarded plastic from a construction site to drape across one of our walls, not only diffusing the store’s bright natural light but also mimicking the natural draping of fabric you would see in the design of elegant clothing or thick luxurious curtains. We layered the plastic in netting, representing the fish nets that are used to create the Econyl, the fabric used to make all of our products. Finally, we got several rolling racks off of Facebook Marketplace and spent a lot of time cleaning them up and polishing them so that they could be used to display our products.
After a lot of trial and error, we finally figured out the “formula” to make these materials look good. Our initial intention was to use the display only for the backdrop of our most recent marketing campaign shoot, however, we liked it so much that we decided to keep it for our soft opening and even to help our long-time friends at Visit Zane in Toronto who carry our jackets and bags install something similar in their store window.
The one thing we would like our community to take away from this installation is that there is beauty in everything and that all that is needed is a simple change in perspective. If everyone used things that we already had, or that already existed, rather than falling into the cyclical black hole of fast fashion, one day our brand’s mission could really come to life:ONE DAY
WILL COME FROM