Established in Montreal in 1926, Reitmans is an iconic, national brand that many Canadians know and love. The brand has always been at the forefront of Canadian fashion, but now it’s also leading the way in making the retail industry more inclusive, and inspiring women to feel confident exactly as they are.
In a recent study conducted by Equilibre, a Quebec-based organization with the mission to reduce and prevent body image issues, 73% of women said they wanted to lose weight, regardless of their current weight. Fifty percent of teenagers said they were unhappy with their physical appearance, and more than 70% of youth wanted to change their body weight in some way.
“When you combine these stats with an era hevily influenced by social media, it’s more important than ever that we try to instill a positive body image in Canadian women,” says Jackie Tardif, President of Reitmans Canada and board member of Equilibre.
That’s why the Reitmans brand is committed to helping women feel confident, beautiful, and happy in their bodies. The company is making great strides within the industry with its size-diverse, fashionable clothing and renewed brand marketing strategy. Mediaplanet spoke with Jackie Tardif about what Reitmans wants to achieve in Canada and why it’s important to celebrate women from all walks of life.
What makes Reitmans unique in the women’s apparel space?
Jackie Tardif: Our offerings certainly make us unique. We have the widest size diversity in Canadian retail. We’ve always offered plus sizes at Reitmans, but since 2016 we’ve made all of our clothes available from size 0 to 22, and from XXS to 3X. We also offer tall and petite in all of our pants and in many of our other styles. There’s no longer a separate plus-sized section — everything is available to everyone, at the same price, no matter your body type. We also design all of our collections in-house, through our head office in Montreal — which truly understands the needs of Canadian women, be it in terms of the weather or the events that make up her calendar.
You’ve been at Reitmans for 24 years. What has kept you at the company?
Reitmans’ values are very aligned with my own. I really appreciate that it’s a family business — it helps support and nurture inclusivity in the workplace. I also value the open-door policy, and the absence of rigid hierarchy. You’re encouraged to think outside of the box and to speak your mind, and there’s a lot of opportunity to advance. I’ve never felt stagnant over the past 24 years. I’m also surrounded by powerful women — more than 99% of the Reitmans’ employees are female and most of the VP positions are occupied by women. It feels empowering coming to work every day in a space where women’s talents and abilities are valued.
How does fashion empower Reitmans’ diverse customers?
We listen closely to our customers and design everything with them in mind. We make clothing that fits into their lives, and not the other way around. We want to make our customers feel confident and comfortable in our clothes, and not like they have to change themselves in any way.
What’s your personal connection to women’s empowerment?
I truly think it’s more important than ever to make women’s empowerment a priority. I’m involved with a number of boards and organizations dedicated to the cause. It’s so important to continue to pass the knowledge I’ve acquired to the next generation of women — including my own teenage daughter.