Saks preps Canadian launch with T.O.-themed film series

Documentaries shine spotlight on 'Utopians' from local creative scene

As Saks Fifth Avenue Canada puts the finishing touches on its first two locations, the high-end retailer is putting a spotlight on Toronto and its creative community.

The HBC-owned department store chain launched what it calls a “social media driven short documentary series,” titled #saksuTOpia, which taps into the city’s creative scene.

Recruiting nine tastemakers and influencers, the online series explores areas of fashion, design, food and culture, as seen through their eyes and explains why each of them loves Toronto.

The campaign “Utopians,” as they’re referred to by the brand, include Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri, professional ballerina Sonia Rodriguez, fashion bloggers The Beckerman twins and designers George Yabu and Glenn Pushelberg.

Qianna Smith, Saks’ director of social media, said the campaign was a year in the making and draws inspiration from neo-noir flick Sin City as well as The Truman Show – an idea that came to her one day while watching Netflix.

When casting the documentary, Saks was looking for socially savvy Torontonians who run the cultural gamut to reflect the city itself, said Smith during a campaign launch event in Toronto’s trendy west end Monday night.

Fashion plays an equally important role in the video series. Smith styled each Utopian, pulling from Burberry, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and the retailer’s own collection.

The retailer went live with the campaign on SnapChat Monday night “to a targeted Canadian audience,” the retailer said in a release. Campaign assets can also be found on the brand’s blog, YouTube channel and Facebook pages.

The short film series launches ahead of the opening of the retailer’s Toronto Eaton Centre Queen Street (Feb. 18) and Sherway Gardens (Feb. 25) locations.

This is the second film-focused effort from Saks Canada. In September it introduced a two-minute flick (below) that chronicled the long distance relationship between real life couple Alyssa Campanella and Torrance Coombs as a way of expressing the brand’s love for Toronto.

Saks is just one of several luxury retailers betting Canadians are willing to spend more for higher quality and reputable brands.

Nordstrom has been slowly opening its department stores in Vancouver, Ottawa and Calgary, with plans for a store in Toronto’s Eaton Centre (a block away from Saks) next year.

If that weren’t enough for the financially flushed fashionista, Holt Renfrew and Harry Rosen are renovating and expanding store locations and Quebec retailer Simon’s is preparing for a national rollout.

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