Roots dresses up with Douglas Coupland

It's the artist's first foray into fashion - a new line called Canada Goes Electric will launch on a Roots Facebook pop-up shop, promoted through online media channels to the literary crowd as the retailer attempts to bolster its online marketing and sales.

Vancouver-based artist and writer Douglas Coupland is next week launching his own clothing line for Roots called Canada Goes Electric. The bright-coloured clothing, accessories and home decor items will be sold first on a Facebook ‘pop-up shop,’ giving Root’s 15,000 fans first dibs at the new, limited-edition line, which won’t make its in-store debut until July 8.

‘All of this is an effort to further establish Roots as a pre-eminent digital retailer in Canada,’ James Connell, senior director of e-commerce, digital marketing and new media for Toronto-based Roots Canada, tells MiC. ‘It’s not only about social media and marketing – it’s also about being an online retailer, which we feel that the Canadian market needs more excellence in.’

A print buy in weekly newspapers in Vancouver and Toronto, wild postings and some OOH will be used to promote the launch of the new line. But new media will be the main promotional thrust of the campaign, handled internally by Roots and by Coupland. Two teaser videos created by filmmakers Anthony Green and Matthew Budman have been released on the Roots X Douglas Coupland microsite as well as Coupland’s YouTube channel and on iTunes, which are all outlets the writer has used to promote his previous books The Gum Thief and Generation A. The author will utilize his existing fan base on those channels to promote the new line.

‘This collection, it’s crossing over a lot of markets,’ says Chris Nanos, producer, Radke Films, who has worked with Coupland and helped facilitate the collaboration with Roots. ‘The whole direction of this collection is to aim it at potentially new customers. People that may have been shopping at American Apparel and H&M, this would be of interest to them,’ Nanos tells MiC.

A relaunch of the clothing line’s microsite, developed by Frisco, Texas-based digital agency Farstar, will go live on June 18 to coincide with the Facebook pop-up shop, which will house more videos and be connected to the Roots Twitter page.

‘We’re reinterpreting what we’ve always done in a very different way, leveraging Coupland’s prominence in the literary world,’ says Connell. ‘They’re products that you wouldn’t necessarily come to Roots and expect to be on the shelf so it’s sort of a reinterpretation of a traditional product.’