Fashion designer Paul Hardy sets out to revolutionize retail at the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede’s pre-existing retail model was to outsource vendors to produce merchandise on their behalf. That’s all about to change this year—local designer Paul Hardy has been contracted to blaze new trails with an entire overhaul of their current line-up of merchandise.What is the new vision?“All of the goods are to reflect not only the nature and culture of our city, but also the corporate philosophy or values which include pride of place, commitment to community, and western hospitality for example. The whole idea is to translate the business into year round as opposed to just the ten days of Stampede.”Why you?“I think I have a keen understanding of the city and of the corporate values that the Stampede wants to address.”What is your design aesthetic?“I have an aesthetic that appeals to a broad range of consumers. Instead of dictating to my clients what they will wear I try to adapt my pieces to fit their diverse lifestyles. They can be edgy, rock’n roll, fashion forward or a little bit country and everyone will find a piece that works for him or her.”How do you translate this to an actual product and can you give me an example?“I am hoping to marry the pioneering spirit that exists within the heart of Alberta with the emerging cosmopolitan global center of finance that it is becoming. The result is a juxtaposition of old world sensibilities with modern western mercantile. For example everyone int his city has a few western wear pieces that they bring out for Stampede, like a bandana. This year our bandanas will be hand beaded. We also have gorgeous wrap around scarves in luxurious fabrics where we have incorporated subtle references to Alberta’s heritage like the wild rose, the bison and the horse. Given it is the thirty year anniversary of the Rubik’s Cube we redesigned it in black and white and branded it with the CS bull’s eye, making it the perfect corporate gift. And for our gourmet food line we are using old world packaging, such as apothecary jars for our syrups.”What is it about Stampede that gets Westerners excited?“We have a reputation for being a very hospitable and friendly people and I think Stampede embodies that. It reflects our commitment to community as everyone participates in it and also confirms our hospitality. We do have a pride of place.”hardy