Haven is the latest addition to Corktown. This is Haven's third location, with two other successful stores in Edmonton and Vancouver. The open-concept store is bright and organized by brand, with clothes hanging on racks around the store's perimeter and a lot of unused space in the middle (room to grow, I suppose). Haven's two floors have big paneled windows, exposed air ducts and pipes, and whitewashed walls for a loft-like feel...the type of lofts that sell for millions, that is.
Perhaps the best part of the store is the artwork and sculptures by New York-based designer KAWS. His colourful contemporary pieces rework traditional depictions of Mickey Mouse, turning the beloved character into a creepy-but-cool half-dead, half-spliced-open version of its former self.
Haven carries high-end streetwear labels like OriginalFake, Junya Watanabe Man, Neighborhood, Reigning Champ, Comme des Garcons, Wings + Horns, and White Mountaineering. Although there are definitely some good finds here, I worry that the average man won't know what to do with shirts that boast polka dots layered upon fair isle, or pants with rainbow-pattern crotch curves. This place is a breeding ground for sartorial screw-ups.
I also found Haven to be overpriced; think of what you'd pay for a cotton zip hoodie or fingerless gloves, then multiply that by four. A pair of Nonnative wanderer gloves with "ethnic" jacquard aren't only one of the single ugliest garments I've ever seen (think racial insensitivity meets squeegee boy), but retails for $135. A single pair of White Mountaineering socks goes for $50 and a Uniform Experiment "Trim Tee" - literally a white t-shirt with the brand's logo screened on the front - rings in at $143. Talk about the art of paying more to look poor.
Haven's strength is really in their accessories, mostly sneakers and backpacks. They have unique finds like Comme des Garcons' Play x Converse Chuck Taylors, Junya Watanabe Man duck boots, and Master-piece rucksacks.
Best of all, there's no need to actually visit the store because all their stock is available online. Shipping rates are reasonable, even internationally, and the less time spent on streetcars the better.
Photos by Morris Lum