Gerhard Supply is Toronto's newest menswear destination — and I say destination because while the Junction is quite the hotbed for design stores, it's quite the distance from the men's fashion-heavy stretch that is West Queen West. Aside from a few specialty stores in the area (like Studio Cycle and IZ Adaptive), Gerhard is pretty much the only men's clothing boutique in the area.
The space is generously sized and rather minimal; all of the tables are made from natural wood and the hang racks are a bricolage of old plumbing pipes. The product is perfectly folded or laid out almost systematically and the hung clothing is evenly spaced out on matte white hangers. Suffice to say, the presentation is immaculate. Two photographs of rotting bedrooms are hung on the walls, but I see them as a clever, intentional contradiction to the store's vibe.
Owner Langton Willms greeted me immediately upon my arrival, solemnly pronouncing the store's mission to propel Toronto fashion to new heights with its commitment to "quality, enduring style, and community." Aside from two accessories - handmade umbrellas from The Umbrella Shop in Vancouver ($69) and safety razors by Merkur in Germany ($56 - $70) - everything stocked in the boutique is designed and manufactured in Toronto. High quality and originality go hand-in-hand with this "slow fashion" concept, ergo the impressive selection of locally made goods.
In fact, they've got an assortment of Philip Sparks shirts, including pinstripe oxfords in an array of colours ($225), sold exclusively at Gerhard. According to Langton, the handpicking of the fabrics was a collaborative effort between him and Philip, something that's rare with the brand since it's otherwise only available in the Ossington shop or online through the Philip Sparks website.
Another piece that caught my eye was the Muttonhead short-sleeve shirt in a rugged, speckled fabric ($165), which I was pleased to hear was sustainable and meant to be unisex just like everything the brand produces. The colourful bowties and neckties by Bay Cooper ($50 - $70) that litter the front table, the Outclass spring/summer 2013 line in (almost) its entirety ($85 - $150), and the all-natural aromatherapy skin care by Province Apothecary ($8 - $42) were also worth taking a gander.
In the future, Langton hopes to bring the same three core values - quality, enduring style, and community - to other Canadian cities, nurturing their local talent the same way Gerhard in Toronto will. Until then, he'll garner as much support from Torontonians for local brands as he has himself, through the careful curating of his pristine boutique.
Photos by Morris Lum