SHAN: Made in Canada
Making the most of a summer that’s as short as it is sweet is a strong Canadian tradition. And we all know that when you only have a couple of months of nice weather to enjoy, how you style them is critical. For a summer well-spent at the cottage or the beach, nothing beats sporting the best in homegrown swim and loungewear for women and men from Montreal’s Shan.
When designer Chantal Levesque started Shan 34 years ago, her goal was to bring the elegance of European swimwear to Canada, combining high-fashion aesthetics with North American sensibilities while always emphasizing proper fit. It was an elevated approach to swimwear design that had never been seen before in Canada, and it was an immediate success.
Known best for its epic winters, Montreal may seem like an unlikely home for a top global swimwear brand, but it’s this very contradiction that motivated Levesque to first take the plunge into the bikini business. “Chantal has always been driven by travel, by being on the beach, being around a pool—especially in the wintertime,” says Shan vice president Jean-François Sigouin, explaining that Shan is Levesque’s celebration of those joyful moments of escape, whether they’re happening nearby in cottage country or at a faraway tropical paradise.
Today, those daydreams are what keeps the company grounded. All of Shan’s operations, including production, are based out of their workshops in the Montreal suburb of Laval. Keeping everything local means that Levesque can personally monitor the production process from start to finish so that she doesn’t have to compromise on quality.
“It’s never been a question of outsourcing because when you control all aspects, you hit your expectations,” says Sigouin. And the expectations at Shan are high. “With a luxury car, you have the feeling of luxury inside out. It’s the same for a Shan product,” says Sigouin.
A luxurious design would be nothing without the right materials. To do her swim and loungewear justice, Levesque sources many of the fabrics from the most renowned suppliers around the globe, including silk from Italy. Bringing the best of the world back home is a Canadian tradition, and one that’s worth toasting on the dock this July 1.