ARC Group Client Spotlight:
Introducing ERIC SANA,
the man, the designer and the brand
One of the most rewarding aspects of being in business is getting to know our clients and leveraging your network to showcase the incredible talents of the businesses we serve. Today, we’d like to shine a spotlight on a name you should know and never forget when it comes to quality, comfort and fashion forward design, Eric Sana.
Who is Eric Sana?
The visionary behind Eric Sana the brand is the man himself, Eric Sana. Born in Bosnia Herzegovina, Eric immigrated to Canada in 1987. After completing university with a background in law, this lover of fashion and student of textiles as he refers to himself set out to really embark into fashion, beginning with his passion for the textures of textiles and fabrics and pushing the envelope on traditional design concepts.
In case you’re wondering, no, Eric is not the gentleman in the photo above as he prefers to have his clothes garner your attention rather than featuring a photo of himself. Eric and his team have been designing and manufacturing the finest modern menswear for over 27 years. Within a few minutes of sitting down with Eric it is clear that the brand is his essence personified. His core belief truly is that there is a connection between who we are as individuals and how we feel, everyday we dress. While clothes do not define us, they influence who we are and how we see the world, each and every day.
Threading the Needle
Unlike most designers, Eric defined a niche in the market and flipped the traditional business approach in fashion. Rather than needing a product to market and building a service around it, Eric’s unique concept was to develop a must have service model. As the service approach grew Eric and his team became well established as the in-house tailoring services for major Canadian department stores like Eatons and Hudson Bay. Eric relied on the retailers to sell their own inventory of products and then his team of tailors stepped in to provide what would later become the signature Eric Sana elevated the client experience. With each thread of the needle, off the rack garments were altered to feel as though they were made to measure.
By 2013, customers were seeking more than customized alterations and that’s where the tailoring services segued into the made to measure market, again in house for the major retailers. Through this collaboration Eric was able to understand the needs of clients and these are now the very fabric of the Eric Sana brand: quality, design, fit and comfort. This vision expanded as Eric gained more credibility as a designer in his own right in menswear, creating custom made to measure dress shirts for the US market and over time this grew to designing entire pret a porter collections for an array of small boutiques in the US.
From Needle to Threads
While Eric’s initial business plan was to expand his highly successful model into a wholesale program with Canadian retailers, the pandemic put these plans on hold. The commitment to expand the reach of the Eric Sana experience remained unchanged. Rather than pursuing a wholesale resale approach, Eric saw the value in pivoting his vision to respond to the changing market. Clients are seeking personal and elevated customer experiences after spending nearly three years relying almost solely on a depersonalized online shopping platform. People need people and are longing for the personal touch and the conversation and sharing the joy when someone tries on a garment that looks like it was made for them.
The newly opened Eric Sana at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke is exactly this experience. While sitting down with Eric the buzz in the store is undeniable, customers are beaming with how well the clothes feel and fit, not to mention the quality and thoughtful designs. The added bonus of course is Eric is usually in the store and that personal one on one interaction is fulfilling for him as much as it is for his clients. He is able to see and hear real time feedback from shoppers and weave this into future collections underway. The team in Italy is currently finalizing Fall/Winter 2023 but Eric is fully immersed in the process and has a long standing relationship with the suppliers and manufacturers such that he is able to make last minute adjustments to meet the needs of his clients.
Building the collection in Italy allows the long history of European craftsmanship, attention to detail, knowledge of fabric making, technology of textile advancements to shine through the collection. The Eric Sana team both in Canada and in Italy takes care with every aspect of the design and manufacturing of the garments, individually sourcing luxurious technical fabrics from Napoli and the finest wool from mills in Prato and Biella, Italy, leaders in sustainable wool for over 800 years.
Who is the Eric Sana Man?
The Eric Sana man is someone who values quality, fine details, comfort, design, durability and is comfortable making a statement, not in an extravagant way necessarily, but with statement staple pieces that really show who they are as an individual. Comfort is really something that the clothes value, Eric believes you can be comfortable while looking well tailored and polished, comfort should never be compromised if you need to look well put together.
Eric notes that the value add is really important to his design concept, sustainability and quality over fast fashion fads are at the heart of his designs. Eric finds nature and water as a big source of inspiration as well as seeing innovation in other industries that he can pull into his collection from rethinking color pallets, textures, patterns and reimagining designs. The Eric Sana, deconstructed jacket is a great example of this innovative thinking, the jackets you will find in store rely on technical fabrics with stretch and unique textures rather than needing bulking padding or lining, Eric has done away with much of these aspects in favor of fine details while enhancing fit and feel in the process.
The Eric Sana brand sees this as an essential component so that the brand becomes an expression of the personal style of the person wearing it, not the other way around. It’s no surprise that many first time and returning customers tend to have that “wow” look on their faces when trying on a piece. The wow factor is exactly what Eric is looking for he admits nothing is more satisfying than knowing when a happy customer is complimented on a piece in the collection that they are able to proudly say, this is an Eric Sana product.
A Perfect Fit: Eric Sana and ARC Group
Eric Sana and ARC Group partnered in 2014 and this business relationship has continued to grow and evolve in response to the changing business model of the fashion house. Eric has been working very closely with Adeel Rajput and notes that it has been so easy to work with Adeel because they have the same values, namely strong long term relationships and elevated service.
“Adeel kills the service, he loves providing excellent service, and that is something I want to do too” Eric spoke candidly about the importance of responsiveness for any business. “It is so great to have somebody available… I try not to take advantage of that, but whenever we need something Adeel is there to help and that is something you can’t pay for.” ARC Group’s relationship with Eric Sana is built on “responsiveness, trust and the relationship go hand in hand.” These are timeless values that are at the cornerstone of good business.
The Next Stitch
Beyond the beautiful, bright new Eric Sana retail store at Sherway Gardens Mall, Eric has a vision of where the next few stitches may lead. The current focus of the team has really been to build the Eric Sana experience and with a few months under their belt now they can begin to turn their mind to making the brand more accessible yet still personal. The next phase in the early new year will include an online retail component to the website ericsana.com Next, leveraging the success of virtualtailor.ca another innovative niche concept Eric created in response to the pandemic, where customers could have a virtual consultation with a tailor for their garment needs, the Eric Sana website will similarly offer one on one personal consultations with Eric himself or a member of the team to help personalize the online shopping experience for customers.
If you are in the greater Toronto area, please stop by and check out Eric Sana at Sherway Gardens Mall. Not only will you be greeted warmly and not be disappointed by the collection in store if you mention this ARC Group blog you will receive a courtesy discount. When you are there, be sure to say hello to Eric!