Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the merino wool adventure apparel category, today announced it will open its first “TouchLab” store in Chicago, Illinois, USA. This is the company’s first Midwestern location and its tenth North American retail store. The new store will be feature a completely new design that brings to life the New Zealand sheep stations that supply Icebreaker’s all-natural merino wool.

The new 2,225-square-foot concept store will open downtown in October 2013 at 44 East Walton Street in Chicago’s popular Gold Coast/Magnificent Mile shopping area, just off Michigan Avenue. Icebreaker will be the latest addition to a growing cluster of outdoor and activewear brands that have staked a claim in the heart of the city, including Burton, lululemon and Patagonia.

“We are excited to have active, style-savvy Chicagoans be Icebreaker’s Midwest ambassadors,” says Jeremy Moon, founder and CEO of Icebreaker. “Our high performance apparel is perfect in every season and for every activity, from a run or bike ride along the Lake Michigan shoreline to a destination ski trip. Fashion-conscience shoppers will love our expanding line of lifestyle apparel.”

The Chicago TouchLab store will feature Icebreaker’s complete line of innovative merino wool apparel, including its Outdoor, Run/Fitness, Kids, Underwear and Travel/Lifestyle collections and Socks and Accessories, all made from merino wool sourced from the Southern Alps of New Zealand.

Noted Moon, “Merino regulates temperature, which means it warms in the cold and cools in the heat – a significant selling point for the Midwest, given its sweltering summers and freezing winters.”

New Design Features

The Chicago store will debut a number of new interior design features that tell the Icebreaker story and engage shoppers. Upon entering the store, customers are met by a “mountain” display that demonstrates how to maximize Icebreaker apparel through layering. New Zealand sheep stations, home to the sheep that provide the all-natural merino wool used by Icebreaker, served as inspiration for the materials and textures throughout store, from the natural woods specified for the walls, fitting rooms, floor fixtures and shelving on the wall fixtures to the natural steel incorporated into the design of the tables and floor hang bars. Finally, a community/library provides the space to spark conversation and discovery regarding Icebreaker’s heritage and brand.

Icebreaker has nine other North American TouchLabs: Portland, Oregon (home of its US headquarters); New York City (SoHo and the Meatpacking District), California (San Francisco and San Jose), Montréal, Vancouver and British Columbia (Kitsilano and North Shore). It will open its first store in the Washington, DC area, in Bethesda, Maryland in September 2013.

The Icebreaker Chicago TouchLab will be open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 9 pm and Sunday from 11 am to 8 pm.

Logo courtesy Icebreaker

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