From the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies to the bustling urban landscapes of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver, the Canadian streetwear aesthetic is as diverse as the country’s geography itself. A distinctive blend of functionality, comfort, and a healthy dash of the ‘Canadian nice’ attitude. It’s all about embracing the spirit of the Great White North, taking cues from the country’s elements and infusing them with the urban rhythm of its cities to create a streetwear culture that’s unabashedly and quintessentially Canadian.
These brands are not just fashion statements, they’re invitations to explore Canada’s vibrant fashion landscape, proving that our northern neighbors can rock the runway just as comfortably as they skate on ice.
Dime, the Montreal-based brand, has firmly established itself as a significant player in the space where fashion and skateboarding intersect. Initially recognized as a collective of skaters celebrated for their humor-centric approach, Dime has since evolved into an internationally renowned brand. It is known for its distinctive visual style that combines ’90s skating nostalgia with a unique sense of humor. The brand was founded by a group of skaters including Phil Lavoie and Antoine Asselin. Dime’s enduring appeal has been shaped by their laid-back, carefree attitude, which is reflected in the brand’s video content and its streetwear products.
Dime’s evolution as a brand took a significant turn with the inclusion of Vince Tsang in 2011, whose creative influence helped develop the brand into a graphical powerhouse. While the creative process behind Dime’s designs remains a collective effort, Tsang is responsible for refining each collection and guiding the brand’s aesthetic direction.
Dime has had notable sneaker collaborations over the years including the Asics GT-2160, Reebok Club C, Merrell Moab 2, and the Adidas Busenitz.
Amidst all its success, Dime remains true to its roots, focusing on having fun, skateboarding, and maintaining its refreshing take on skate culture.
JJJJound, founded in 2006 by Justin R. Saunders, began as a digital mood board, revolutionizing the way timeless design patterns are examined and appreciated. Originating as a color-coordinated stream of curated images, it quickly established itself as an indispensable global reference in the design community. This endeavor laid the groundwork for Saunders to transform his discerning eye into a distinctive, modern clothing brand.
JJJJound has evolved into a multifaceted design studio based in Montreal, driven by the mission to inspire across various domains. This includes crafting items with a focus on purpose and longevity, creating meaningful physical spaces, and continuously enriching its digital platform with curated content.
JJJJound has forged notable partnerships in the sneaker world, teaming up with leading brands like New Balance, Asics, Adidas, Salomon, Crocs, Vans, and Reebok. Beyond footwear, the brand has developed its own line of refined basics, such as t-shirts, hoodies, cargo pants, and chinos. Its clothing collaborations span heritage brands like Levis and Eddie Bauer, as well as Japanese streetwear giants like Bape.
4YE, initially established in Toronto as a media company, pivoted into the fashion realm in 2018 to emerge as a unique culture and lifestyle brand. This global clothing brand strategically positions itself at the intriguing crossroads of cultural identity and community. Its philosophy permeates through its diverse range of products, which extend from durags to sweat fleece, accessories, and upcycled second-hand clothing. This expansive offering signifies 4YE’s commitment to exploring and representing a wide spectrum of cultural and lifestyle facets through fashion.
The brand’s debut product, a durag with a clear standard for quality and innovation. Its distinctive features include elongated tails, open seams, and a large cape covering, underlining the brand’s attention to detail and functionality. Another significant element of the 4YE fashion line is the cropped and boxy 2-way zip hoodie, crafted from cozy, medium-weight brushed fleece. Its chain stitch embroidery of the 4YE signature logo and sun motif further accentuates the brand’s penchant for creative and unique design aesthetics. This blend of comfort, style, and cultural commentary positions 4YE as a distinctive player in the global fashion industry.
Established in Toronto in 2017, Mr. Saturday is a luxury direct-to-consumer fashion brand founded by designer Joey Gollish. The brand, which swiftly rose to fame and bagged the award for the top menswear brand at the Canadian Arts and Fashion Awards in 2022, recently made a memorable mark at men’s fashion weeks in Milan and Paris with its Fall/Winter 2023 collection. Gollish drew inspiration from the stylishly eclectic ’70s and ’80s patrons of the iconic Parisian nightclub Les Bains Douches for the collection. This assembly showcased a fusion of snug tailoring, fur elements, streetwear-influenced pieces, and statement outerwear, setting the tone for trends in men’s fashion in the year ahead.
Founded in 2019 by then-14-year-old Ryan Nelson, Crash is a Vancouver-based brand known for its vintage-inspired over-dyed hoodies and a wide range of graphic t-shirts. The brand also offers embroidered baseball-style dad caps and a collection of unisex jewelry, including rings, necklaces, and bracelets. Notably, Crash has collaborated with the US-based underground streetwear brand Half-Evil, releasing the unique Crash-Evil collection.
Loviah, founded by professional skateboarder Pierre-Yves Frappier (PIF) from Québec City, Canada, started with a single product: a baggy corduroy pant. These pants, resembling sweatpants in comfort, were initially offered in colors like brown, black, and wine red. Gradually, Loviah expanded its line to include tops with prints, all hand-printed in the back of Adam Green’s shop OSS in Saint-Sauveur. The brand sets itself apart with high-quality, skater-friendly pants that combine style, durability, and comfort at an affordable price.
Maison Coterie, established in 2017 by Les Frères (Igal and Adam Perets), gained prominence in 2018, notably after participating in Montreal’s Mural Festival. The brand, known for classic staples like sweatsuits and workwear, also features popular items such as graphic tees and parachute pants. Their collection includes traditional graphic t-shirts, full-zip hoodies, and baggy cargo pants. Maison Coterie is also recognized for its elevated outerwear designs.
Founded in 2006, HAVEN is a Canadian clothing brand specializing in high-quality, functional attire designed to enhance everyday life. The brand embodies the Gorpcore aesthetic, combining an appreciation for outdoor gear with a commitment to utility and style. Each piece is meticulously crafted, echoing a deep respect for craftsmanship and innovation, all while upholding an uncompromising dedication to authentic design. Guided by the diverse seasons of Canada, HAVEN’s collection improves comfort, performance, and utility, striking a balance between the familiar and the inventive.
Operating out of Vancouver, British Columbia, HAVEN collaborates closely with manufacturing partners in Canada and Japan to ensure each garment is carefully crafted, tested, and refined. This precise approach ensures the brand’s timeless design and lasting quality. Moreover, its retail locations in Vancouver and Toronto offer not only the HAVEN collection but also a carefully curated selection of complementary pieces from premier Japanese and international brands.
Raised by Wolves, founded in 2008, has spent the last 15 plus years putting Canada on the global streetwear map. The brainchild of Cal Green and Pete Williams, the brand prioritizes domestically-made staples, earning a reputation for high-quality Canadian apparel, impactful visuals, and robust community support. Raised by Wolves’ distinct identity is reflected in their product line, with goods tailored to Canada’s challenging climate, graphics referencing Canadian narratives, and breathtaking visuals of the Canadian landscape.
Atelier New Regime (ANR) is a bold streetwear label originating from Montreal in 2009. The brand emerged from the love for art, design, photography, and street culture. Over a decade later, it has transformed from a basement operation selling clothes from car trunks into one of Canada’s most recognizable streetwear brands. ANR prides itself on its refined aesthetic, distinctive use of vibrant orange, and core values of creativity, freedom, and passion.
A Part of the Global Streetwear Landscape
Canadian streetwear brands offer an enthralling glimpse into the blend of grit and grace that defines the nation’s fashion scene. Yet, the global streetwear landscape is a rich and varied tapestry, each region weaving its unique threads into this dynamic narrative. For those seeking to broaden their fashion horizons, our exploration doesn’t end here. Expand your global fashion fluency by delving into the distinctive streetwear aesthetics of the United Kingdom and South Korea. After all, style, much like knowledge, knows no borders. Continue your exploration and watch as your wardrobe becomes a world map, a testament to the interplay of cultures and creativity that continues to shape the streetwear scene worldwide.
Honorable Mention Canadian Brands
October’s Very Own (OVO), founded by Drake and his tour manager Oliver El-Khatib in 2011. The clothing line extends beyond simply being “Drake’s label merch”, and is known for its distinctive owl logo. OVO’s brand has permeated not just the fashion industry but also the sports world with collaborations with the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays.
Founded in the heart of Downtown Toronto by Matthew Chrones Scott and Caleb Cooper, PARANOID is a distinctive brand deeply intertwined with the city’s urban vibe. This artist-owned and operated company uniquely stands out in the streetwear scene by valuing craftsmanship and artistry, evident in its small-batch production method. Each piece is designed and hand-printed in their underground screen printing bunker, embodying the brand’s philosophy of creating wearable art.
3.Paradis was established in 2013 by Creative Director Emeric Tchatchoua. Born and raised in a low-income neighborhood of Paris, Tchatchoua infuses his own personal journey and life’s complexities into the brand. This foundation of freedom, hope, and universalism pervades 3.Paradis’s ethos, expressed through a symbolic visual language that has become the brand’s signature. These symbols carry deeply personal stories and emotions, stirring reactions that can be both comforting and confrontational, thereby forging human connections at points of synchronicity and alignment in individual journeys.
BBE, the brainchild of Toronto-born painter, product designer, and graphic artist Bryan Espiritu, is known for its fusion of expressive artistry with contemporary streetwear. Espiritu, whose creative mediums span large-scale acrylic paintings to apparel adorned with his distinctive typographic patterns, channels themes of mental health, trauma, and paths to self-betterment into his designs.