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