Almost a year after it came under new ownership, MEC has rebranded as Mountain Equipment Company, and “brought back the peaks”—as of today, it's launching a modern, updated return to its original 1971 logo.
Mountain Equipment Co-op was created by six friends from UBC back in 1971, but the company had struggled financially for several years before it was purchased by Kingswood Capital last year.
The team worked with local branding company Hulse & Durrell to “bring back the secret sauce,” says VP Marketing Michele Guimond. She came over from Arc'teryx four months ago to help with the rebrand, because it was a project she couldn’t resist, she says. “It’s a cult classic,” she said. “How many times do you get to be a part of that?”
MEC’s “square” logo was introduced in 2013, and the modern update returns to the familiar peaked logo of its origin story. Vancouver was the first store to see the rebrand, and CEO and Chairperson Eric Claus notes the return of the mountains on the logo had an emotional impact on the staff. “We have tenured staff who’ve worked here for 10, 20 years,” said Claus. “The ‘square’ drove ambiguity, and ubiquity wasn’t a good thing for people to rally around. People were tearing up when they saw it—the energy around the mountains is very real.”
Hulse & Durrell
It’s a bit of a relief to see that—given the summer of Heat Dome we experienced on the west coast—the company has also doubled down on their sustainability efforts with aggressive targets going forward. A sneak peek at a few new pieces launching under the MEC Label saw the use of Bluesign fabrics (independently audited to ensure there aren’t harmful chemicals used in the manufacturing process), recycled polyester and responsible down. The company has also committed $1 Million to support outdoor organizations like Protect Our Winters, Spirit North (supporting indigenous youth in 40 communities), and CPAWs.
Both Claus and Guimond still referred to their customer base as members—which seemed to be a throw-back to Mountain Equipment Co-op’s membership-based model. But the membership program will be (and has been) continuing, albeit without the possibility of a dividend cheque. (Though admittedly, those haven’t existed in years, either.) Instead, they’re in the process of retooling the (free) program to include benefits like ski tuning and waxing
For its 50th anniversary, MEC will also be revisiting classic catalogue pieces, and updating the silhouettes for new releases. Expect to see those launches in the coming months.
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