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Ethan Song & Hicham Ratnani

Founders, Frank and Oak

They transformed their millennial retailer into a lifestyle brand, complete with in-store cafés and a print publication.


Ethan Song and Hicham Ratnani are the Canadian duo behind Frank and Oak, which serves affordable basics to creative millennials.

The upstart lifestyle brand launched its e-commerce website in 2012, immediately attracting a demographic seeking handpicked styles curated to each individual’s taste. Today, Frank and Oak has more than 2.5 million members, operates 20 brick-and-mortar stores, and has expanded into lifestyle, with in-store barbershops and cafés, as well as a bi-annual print publication.

Since 2017, Frank and Oak has increased turned its focus to sustainability by sourcing eco-conscious materials and methods. The brand aimed to have 50% of products made with minimal impact processes by 2019. In February 2018, Frank and Oak raised $16 million in a funding round led by Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec.

The childhood friends grew up and attended school together in Montréal. Following jobs in consulting at Deloitte, the pair made a pact to start their own company. After considering the beauty business, Song and Ratnani settled on men’s clothing, and founded Modasuite in 2010, an online store offering customisable menswear. Despite a strong concept, the brand failed to attract clients and investors.

After identifying a gap in the market for quality menswear at an affordable price, Song and Ratnani launched Frank and Oak in 2012. From its inception, the brand has focused on design, quality, and a seamless shopping experience.

The label operates a vertically integrated structure where all production remains in-house, making monthly collections. A fundamental feature is customisation. Customers must become members to shop, allowing them to create a style profile and receive a monthly personalised selection of items.

With the aim of becoming a global lifestyle brand for millennials, in 2016 Frank and Oak expanded into womenswear, attracting over 100,000 customers in its first two months.

The label’s fast growth garnered worldwide attention. In 2015, the Frank and Oak topped Deloitte’s Canadian Technology Fast 50, with a four-year revenue growth rate of over 18,000 percent. 

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What is The BoF 500?

The people shaping the global fashion industry, curated by the editors of The Business of Fashion, based on nominations and on-the-ground intelligence from around the world.