By Barb Paszyn

If you’re into the fashion-industry, you’ve probably heard of this retailer before, particularly if you’ve visited its place of origin – Quebec. This retailer has been around since the 1840s and, over the years, it has expanded across the nation into English Canada. This fashion retailer exhibits its Canadian values by being environmentally-conscious, supporting the arts, and encouraging diversity – three common threads woven into the Canadian mosaic.

So who is this retailer? Simons is a truly customer-centric fashion retailer that offers sought-after styles from the design capitals of the world. The company was around to witness the birth of Canada, and it has been growing along with Canada ever since through its many initiatives.

This environmentally conscious company acts on this value in numerous ways. Their everyday business practices include recycling cardboard packaging and ink cartridges, banning Styrofoam containers, and using real mugs instead of disposable mugs. They also practice the value at a product level by increasing their selection of clothing that uses eco-friendly wood pulp, organic cotton and viscose that is guaranteed to not come from endangered forests. They use sustainable materials and practice sustainable behaviours, lived beliefs that are openly shared on their website. Like many Canadians, Simons values the environment and works to positively contribute to the environmentally-conscious movement.

In addition to supporting the environment, Simons also supports Canadian artists by showcasing their artwork at its retail outlets. Many locations feature art pieces by local artists, and the artwork becomes the centrepiece of the store. For instance, their Park Royal location in Vancouver features several impressive art installations including the bow tie sculpture by Douglas Coupland, who lives in West Vancouver. This colorful and impressive sculpture fills the two-storey central atrium of the store.

Simons is also involved with a project that both supports the arts and celebrates Canada’s mosaic of culture, our diversity. The Canadian fashion retailer is currently executing an art project that involves 3D printing to show how diverse Canada really is. The art installation will involve about 2000 Canadians from across the nation. These Canadians will have their portraits printed with a 3D printer, and these portraits will be collectively placed in one of Simons’ stores.

Over the years, Simons truly has become a part of Canadian culture, not only by expanding its retail locations nationally, but also by appreciating the environment, the arts and our diversity. Just a few integral values we, as a collective, hold dear.