Coal Miner's Daughter (Queen St.)
The Coal Miner's Daughter's new Queen Street location has been open since April 7th, and is so new that paint cans figure largely into its window display. Co-owner Krysten Caddy is sheepish, insisting that the store still needs a bit of work, but to my eyes, the space is polished and the stock well-curated. Her partner, Janine Cockburn-Haller, is the designer of clothing line Clementine&Tweed and also undertakes the shop's requests for tailoring and bespoke clothing, while Caddy is a long-time jewellery designer and creates the shop's eponymous line.
Cockburn-Haller and Caddy are a classic tale of living your passion. They were friends and neighbours who made the significant leap into business ownership after the Mirvish Village location went up for sale without much foresight: "we didn't even sleep on it," Caddy tells me. The seed of the idea was to sell their own work, which they continue to do, even as their list of designers continues to swell. The stock is curated through personal preference and gut instinct, such as Norwegian Wood's absurd pairings of colour-blocking and patterns, which generated a deeply confusing love-then-hate-then-grudgingly-admire response in me.
They weighed between Queen West and Yorkville for a second location. Caddy previously worked at Anne Sportun, so her familiarity with the neighbourhood and client base certainly factored in. Now, the stores vary slightly to avoid stock redundancy, and whereas the original space holds Cobourn-Heller's studio, the Queen West location serves purely as a showcase, with bright white walls, wood accents, strategically placed mirrors, and antlers serving as jewelry racks.
New and exclusive to this store is the Pretty make-up station operated by Andrea Victory-LaCasse, which features chemical-free fragrances, make-up, and remarkably vivid nail polish — a godsend to the sensitive-skinned among us.
Upon entry, I'm marauded with gumdrop hues and far more of them than I'm typically comfortable with, but taken individually, they're stand-out pieces. The majority are local, sustainable, and sometimes organic, and despite the flirty hues, maintain a level of sophistication not often found at such a reasonable price point.
Caddy aims to provide "one-of-a-kind and few-of-a-kind" creations sourced from Canadian designers, such as Sessie Dress' skirts made from up-cycled materials, Jennifer Glasgow, and the organics and digitally printed cottons of Montreal's Alice and Alishka. Caddy tells me that she often chooses pieces with the cyclist in mind, and the array of A-line and flared-skirt dresses are clearly well-suited to biking. Also on my instant must-have list are an eye-catching silk-cotton-blend dress from Dagg & Stacey and a mood-lifting coral tie-neck blouse.
Caddy tells me they aim to "balance out well-made and socially-conscious clothes with accessibility," and compared to the significantly heftier price-points in the boutique stretch between Bathurst and Trinity Bellwoods Park, $85 for a well-constructed, white-lace-back dress from Sarah Duke seems like a steal. Jewellery is similarly affordable, with geometric necklaces from Oddbird Designs available for $30. The shop's selection of vintage shoes goes up to $40, while the spring/summer clothing stock caps at $250. Good to know: Caddy's own work ranges from $40 to $300, and she also creates custom pieces.
Coal Miner's Daughter is perhaps a conceptual mid-point between the shamelessly femme aesthetic of bicyclette and the matured cool of Fawn a bit further west. "We just want to do what we love," Caddy tells me, "and I don't see that ever changing." Why would they, when it looks so good.
Photos by Mariam Matti