It all started with a ‘kiss on a collar’ that solidified the name ‘Christopher Bates’ into the Canadian consciousness. This cheeky design catapulted Bates from novice to expert and launched a business that consistently delivers sophisticated yet edgy men’s wear in the highest quality Italian fabrics.
Bates visited Vancouver in April for back-to-back meetings and to oversee the inclusion of his Spring/Summer 2019 collection in Pacific Centre’s Nordstrom. Located in the centre of the upscale men’s wear section of the third floor, the 40-piece collection is striking in its tailoring, the complementary colour choices, and the fabric selection which ranges from lightweight suiting to knits to technical.
As we flip through the racks at Nordstrom, I mention that many pieces in the new collection would be easily marketed as unisex and prompt him about creating a line for the stylish woman who loves to wear men’s wear. Bates says “I’m very keen to start designing my women’s wear line, but realistically it is more a mid-term goal, as we still have much work to do on expanding and streamlining our men’s wear and footwear businesses.”
In 2014, Bates opened a design studio in Milan primarily for sourcing and production with the objective to create a high-quality authentic ‘Made in Italy’ line and over a few years has an established network of excellent suppliers.”
Last fall, Bates traveled to Hangzhou, China organized by RozeMerie Cuevas of Jacqueline Conoir. “It was a fantastic experience, and I am very keen to expand my brand to China, as she has done so successfully.”
Shuttering the studio in Milan, was always part of his business strategy so when the time came, Bates was ready. “I will miss the food, wine, and climate the most. It was so easy to travel around Italy and Europe being based there… but I never mastered the Italian language which made living there and doing business quite difficult at times.”
What is up next for Christopher Bates? There is no hesitation in his voice as he answers. “We will continue to strive for excellence with respect to our materials, production, and being a ‘Made in Italy’ product. Next phase plans are to continue to grow with our existing Canadian accounts – Nordstrom, Harry Rosen, Gotstyle, Espy – and to pursue expansion into the US market with Nordstrom.”
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- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Marketing & Communications Inc and publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine and digital women's lifestyle magazine EcoLuxLifestyle.co. She is a prolific content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist within the ecoluxury lifestyle niche. Post-pandemic, she has worked with many small to mid-sized plant-based/vegan brands to build their digital foundations and strategize content creation and business development. Helen is the west coast correspondent to Canada’s top-read industry magazine Retail-Insider, holds a vast freelance portfolio, and consults with many of the world’s luxury heritage brands. Always seeking new opportunities and challenges, you can email her at [email protected].
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