Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s; William Sonoma and Pottery Barn; Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic – there’s some sister stores you have probably heard about. Sister shops are stores owned by the same retail brand and they generally target different markets. For example, at Gap Inc., Banana Republic is aimed at a more professional market with expensive, timeless pieces. Old Navy sells trendy, family-friendly clothes at affordable prices. And Gap? It falls somewhere in between, while still maintaining it’s free-spirited, West Coast origins with quality denim garments.
Though these sister stores are different, they often have similar fashion sensibilities. So if you like one, you might find yourself interested in another. We looked at some of North Americas top brands from H&M to J.Crew and discovered their lesser-known spinoffs. Here’s a look at some of the top fashion stores and their sister stores that you may have not heard about. Check out what you might be missing now.
No. 8 – COS – H&M
Just last month, the sister brand of H&M opened up several pop-up shops to the LA market after testing the waters in NYC late last year. COS (Collection of Style) offers a luxury look and feel at a more affordable price. The store “focuses on timeless design”, according to In Style magazine, which is a slightly different approach from the trendy and affordable H&M. COS, which is currently available in Europe and has 82 stores worldwide, is looking to expand their classic pieces and high-end basics into Canada (in Toronto, in particular). With high-profile celebs (like Miranda Kerr, Madonna, Beyonce, Kylie Minogue and Lana Del Rey) partnering with H&M, we wonder who the brand will seek out for COS!
No. 7 – Lefties – Zara
Lefties (which gets its name from leftovers) has over 100 stores in Portugal and Spain, the home of sister brand Zara. It opened back in 1993 with the purpose of getting rid of unsold, last-season Zara stock. However, what was once just a discount outlet was recently revamped, according to Glamour magazine.
They now create and sell their own designs too! Right now they have no plans of bringing the brand into new markets; though, Harper’s Bazaar did report that they could one day expand into markets where Zara has a bigger presence like the UK or Germany.
No. 6 – Piperlime – Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy
What began as just an online shoe store has expanded into a full-scale designer e-tailer. Piperlime, a sister store to the Gap Inc. brands Banana Republic, Gap, and Old Navy. Launched in 2006, Piperlime has sold tons of designer names like Calvin Klein and DKNY over the years. Celebrity guest editors – the latest being Olivia Palermo – stop by to give shoppers the scoop on the hottest trends for the season. People online magazine reported that Palermo passed on the crop tops while at Piperlime, saying “it doesn’t translate into the same elegance it once had.” Previous guest editors have included Rachel Zoe, Rachel Bilson and Jessica Alba.
No. 5 – Gilly Hicks – Abercrombie & Fitch
Known as the “Cheeky Cousin” of Abercrombie & Fitch, Gilly Hicks sells trendy and sexy intimates and sportswear. Hicks opened in 2008, but this sister chain has taken a hit in recent years, closing all of its retail locations. And while that means no more shirtless models at the doors, it’s not all bad news: the brand is now being sold exclusively in select Hollister Co. stores and online. That means you can still be a #GillyHicksGirl, as their campaign promotes, when you share your purchases on Instagram.
No. 4 – Madewell – J.Crew
Madewell denim has been around since 1937, but it was only in 2006 that sister brand J.Crew shaped it into the store it is today. While they may not have exploded into the fashion scene just yet (they only have 1,700 Twitter followers compared to J.Crew’s 12.4K), they are certainly moving up.
Just this past week, the denim powerhouse opened shop on Madison Avenue. Plus tons of celebs have donned the clothier including Vanessa Hudgens, Jessica Alba, Eva Mendes, Drew Barrymore and Michelle Trachtenberg. “Other than denim, accessories is another category we want to be known for,” explained head designer Somsack Sikhounmuong to online NYC fashion mag Racked.
No. 3 – & Other Stories – H&M
Despite being launched a little over a year ago, & Other Stories offers an ample collection of clothes, accessories and cosmetics. Just seven stores exist worldwide but goods can be purchased online while the H&M-sister brand looks to expand into new markets like North America.
Right now, some of its main stores include their Regent Street location in London, which ELLE magazine labeled as one of London’s top shops. Actress Michelle Williams and model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley are just a few of the celebs who have been spotted wearing the brand.
No. 2 – Athleta – Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy
Active-wear enthusiasts will want to check out the sporty brand at Gap Inc., Athleta. In business since 1998, Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy’s sister shop only joined the family in 2008, but has already made an impact on the performance clothing market. The shop is expanding and should have 100 stores by the end of 2014. In a report from Forbes on the recent success of athletic-wear stores, it was noted that Athleta’s expansion comes at a good time “as its main competitor Lululemon is struggling with bad publicity.”
The rich and famous are eating up the trendy designs that are matched with quality pieces, including Ashley Greene, who was seen wearing Athleta on her way from a workout.
No. 1 – Little Burgundy – ALDO
Home to brands like Hunter, Converse, Vans, Seychelles and Adidas to name a few, Little Burgundy is the hip sister store of ALDO shoes. The Canadian, fashion-forward shoe store is on the pulse of the latest trends in pop culture. Little Burgundy used to be Stoneridge shoes before the company rebranded the image and transferred the designer brands to their new store in 2008. ALDO also owns Call It Spring, which was introduced into JC Penney in the USA in 2011 and has stores worldwide. With the success of Call It Spring under their belts, they just might look to introduce Little Burgundy to more markets soon.