From Le Chateau to Zellers, it’s officially comeback season for the clothing stores of our childhoods. Retailers that shut their doors long ago in Canada are now returning for a fresh start, including the throwback brand Esprit.

The California-based clothing brand was founded in 1968 and expanded to countries worldwide, including Canada.

After its peak in the mid-80s, the retailer slowly declined in popularity. Today, it’s nothing more than a vague, distant memory to most people.

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However, Esprit has been working tirelessly to revive the unique flair that led to its booming popularity in its early years.

The CEO, a Canadian lawyer named William Pak, is at the forefront of that mission.

“The company very, very much lost its identity over the last 10 years,” Pak said to WWD.

“Esprit has not opened new stores in over a decade, and this is a very exciting thing internally.”

Esprit has launched its return to North America with a pop-up shop in Los Angeles, followed by a permanent storefront in the city early next year.


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Next on the agenda is two new stores in New York, followed by one in Vancouver and possibly two in Toronto. According to WWD, Espirit is still scoping out its retail locations in both cities.

As for the actual clothing, Pak says the new era of Esprit won’t be all about “gimmicks or just retro things.”

“The look will have a very minimalistic silhouette, but there will be a lot of attention to detail.”

“It will be something you’d be happy to wear to a Sunday brunch or a Christmas Day lunch but not to a formal night out or a night at the club.”

Between millennials’ love for nostalgia and Gen Z’s obsession with Y2K, it seems like Espirit stands a pretty good chance of succeeding in today’s world.