Late last month, RYU was treated to some very exciting news from the WGSN Futures Awards in London, England. WGSN is the world’s leading trend authority, serving the fashion and creative industries. The WGSN Futures Awards recognize the businesses that have done the most to push the boundaries of the international fashion market. The purpose of the awards is to discover the key players that will influence the future of fashion. This year they went looking for the ultimate retail destination on the planet. And found it in Vancouver.

We’re thrilled to announce that they selected the RYU Flagship Store in Kitsilano as the Best Retail Store in the World. Beating heavyweight favourites like Topshop London, Primark Madrid and Gentle Monster Busan. For those who haven’t had a chance to check it out in person, here are some of the reasons it won.


Designed by award-winning architect Tony Robins, the RYU Flagship Store artfully captures the Beautiful Tough sensory experience the brand is famous for. Industrial hardware, distressed wood and cold steel evoke the feeling of a vintage training facility while clean white walls and modern interior touches create an unforgettable design and fashion aesthetic.


Unlike a typical athletic wear store, customers are not greeted with rows upon rows of endless racks. Instead, collections are displayed and organized by function. Experienced athletes who are fit, fabric and function experts, connect customers with the right athletic gear, products, training and nutrition advice.

While many retailers discourage photos being taken on premises, the customer experience at RYU is entirely different. Phone charging stations are built right into the spacious change rooms to encourage customers to share their experience by taking selfies under the flattering, body contouring light. There is even reverse messaging printed on the change room mirrors as a cue to take and share photos in the gear they are trying on.


A unique feature RYU has built in to the retail experience is an ever-changing pop up nutrition bar. Local vendors supplying everything from mineral infused, electrolyte enhancing performance water and organic, cold pressed juices, to fresh salads, healthy snacks and artisan creations are invited to set up shop for a week where they can introduce RYU customers to products that will enhance their lives.


The retail floor is only half the unique RYU experience. On the second floor is a fully furnished training facility where customers can test their new gear right on the premises. Leading up to the functional training area is a set of stairs. On each stair is quote RYU athletes had to overcome to achieve their dreams. With each step, athletes are physically (and metaphorically) overcoming obstacles, prejudice and personal bias directed to them from coaches, opponents, doctors and even well meaning parents and loved ones. It begins with “THE TOLD ME ALL THE REASONS I COULDN’T” and ends with “WHAT DO THEY KNOW” on the wall at the top. By the time they reach the final step, they have literally “stepped over” these obstacles and are totally pumped for training.


With a mission to awaken one million athletes in the next 5 years, RYU is empowering people to become more active, fit and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. That’s why we offer free community workouts with top trainers in the city right in the store.

If you haven’t had a chance to visit yet, we invite you to drop down and take a look for yourself. Check out our new tailored technical gear, connect with our amazing team, help yourself to fresh fruit and beverages or get your ass kicked by one of Vancouver’s elite trainers at a free Sweat Club. No matter which you choose, you’ll be glad you did.

June 23, 2016 — Rik Klingle-Watt
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