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Fashion Stores

Jonathan + Olivia

Posted by Bianca Venerayan / Posted on May 21, 2014

jonathan olivia torontoJonathan + Olivia is an Ossington staple. Having been open for six years in Toronto after a successful debut in Vancouver, the boutique has established itself as a go-to for fashion-savvy men, women, and children alike. Hard-to-find brands and must have pieces from the coolest of cool runway shows litter the stock - this season, Alexander Wang's embossed leather bomber ($2175) is at the top of the It List, and it's no surprise it can be found here.

Like many times before, a leisurely stroll landed me in the gallery-like space, perusing the plumbing pipe clothing racks and custom-made display units. There's so much to see at Jonathan + Olivia it's easy to spend more time than expected within its stark white walls. I, myself, am always enchanted by their selection of minimal-yet-bold garments, especially when siren-like music (you know, the kind you'd hear at a fashion presentation or fancy hotel lounge) is playing in the background.

jonathan olivia torontoI gawked at a Julien David mesh overlay with leaf embellishments ($375) and a Jeremy Laing organza jacket ($950) while an associate greeted me with a smile.

jonathan olivia torontoThe cash desk further down the room is an island of other treasures - lifestyle goods like unconventional room sprays by Archer and apothecary by Malin + Goetz line one end while sunglasses, wallets, and bracelets line the others.

jonathan olivia torontoThe men's shop is in its own space past the shoe wall and change rooms. It teems with keepsakes like raw denim jeans and flawless button ups, but the more dramatic pieces are what make Jonathan + Olivia stand out from the rest. A Rag & Bone t-shirt printed with a hand-drawn floral ($145) and Rick Owens DRKSHDW drop crotch pants ($495) are prime examples of their statement-making stock.

jonathan olivia torontojonathan olivia torontoDuring my visit, I met Nic Jones, husband of owner Jackie O'Brien and the boutique's director. Unfortunately, we had a rather unpleasant talk that seemed to go further downhill when I asked about the semi-new sale section in the basement. "Some people only shop sale," he scoffed as I descended to check it out.

jonathan olivia torontoPlenty of funky clothes, shoes, and accessories are packed inside, for the most part marked at 50-70% off. I was pleased to find remnants of Kenzo's fall 2013 - but the above-mentioned conversation thwarted any potential purchase.

jonathan olivia torontoTruly, Jonathan + Olivia is one of the most cutting-edge shopping spots in the city, harbouring a whole slew of exclusive brands and wonderfully picked pieces. Whenever I decide to drop in, the staff are always welcoming and helpful in a non-pushy way. It's a shame this time around left a bad taste in my mouth.

jonathan olivia torontoPhotos by James C Lee.



Macklemore / May 21, 2014 at 02:37 am
"A Rag & Bone t-shirt printed with a hand-drawn floral ($145)..."

Yo, that's [$145] for a t-shirt.
Danny / May 21, 2014 at 09:04 am
"Some people only shop sale," he scoffed... Another example of rude service at this store. You can find the exact same things online at lower prices with less attitude
Ron Mexico / May 21, 2014 at 09:29 am
Wow, this Nic Jones guy really makes me want to support this store, yeah right.......I'll stick to the numerous other clothing stores in the area.
Guy replying to a comment from Danny / May 21, 2014 at 09:30 am
But Danny, when you shop online do you get a mish-mash of directionless purchasing with no concept? Haha, not quite! You only get that lack of cohesive identity at J+O. Buy yourself some HBA (Hood By Air) while you decide on which Barbour jacket you'd like! In the market for a new Worker's shirt from EG? Top it off with some drapey DRKSHDW!
jen / May 21, 2014 at 10:16 am
"Some people only shop sale" because they can't afford $145 for a T-SHIRT. Lower income folk would like to wear stylish things sometimes, too, and we shouldn't be scoffed at for checking out sales.

I don't think I want to go back to this store, now.
Heather Farthing replying to a comment from Danny / May 21, 2014 at 11:05 am
It seems that NIC is a DIC. Online is the best way to get what you want with out the condescending buffoonery of this shallow minded undeserving individual. Maybe he was sore that someone scratched his Mercedes parked on the sidewalk.
Gerald Deen replying to a comment from Ron Mexico / May 21, 2014 at 11:57 am
Don't you see what little NIC has knocked himself up for? Just peruse his wares, take a few pix, then shop the internet for the best deal ON THE EXACT SAME GOODS! The SMART way to go, babe.
Welshgrrl / May 23, 2014 at 01:03 pm
I shop sale because dropping almost a grand on a jacket is fucking ridiculous IMO. That sort of douchey attitude doesn't exactly make me want to beat a path to J&O's door :P
Sarah M. / May 28, 2014 at 01:58 pm
Bianca nailed a lot of the great traits about this store - the exclusive, well-curated collections, the gallery-like space, the music...J+O is truly a Toronto treasure.

It's too bad that one 'negative' experience is supposedly 'turning off' some of the commenters. Regardless, J+O is not only a unique fashion retailer, but also an integral part of the Ossington community. What this article failed to mention was some of the store's greatest contributions - for example, the CAMH clothing drive, the J+O T-shirts in support of Sick Kids and how the company supports Canadian designers (the boutique stocks Horses Atelier and Toronto's own Jeremy Laing) - just to name a few. Despite one person's review, I have gone into J+O countless times and have been warmly received and given exceptional customer service (whether I leave with a purchase or empty-handed). I will continue to shop here!
Laura / May 29, 2014 at 06:36 am
I visit J+O maybe once a month for fashion inspiration or if I feel like treating myself/splurging on a beautiful piece. I always receive unparalleled customer service. I hope that one not-so-great experience doesn't turn off other fashion-obsessed Torontonians. We need to support our local businesses and J+O is a great one :)
Julia / May 29, 2014 at 10:17 pm
As someone who almost exclusively shops the sale section I don't think we should take what Nic said so offensively. I've never experienced anything except lovely customer service at J+O and I believe we can chalk this comment up to the quintessential British, dry sense of humor. Don't let this review put you off of a staple Toronto boutique which just so happens to have a phenomenal sale section.
J / June 1, 2014 at 01:41 pm
The last two comments are clearly written by J+O staff. Let's not forget, this is the same store that urged customers to rate their shopping experience on Facebook, then after receiving no response, proceeded to leave comments themselves, along with their staff, and leave an "unbiased" five star shopping experience. Bravo J+O, you truly are "cutting edge."
Karen / June 2, 2014 at 09:03 pm
Best selection of Isabel Marant in Canada!!!
N / June 2, 2014 at 09:07 pm
Haters gon' hate! \_(ツ)_/
notahater replying to a comment from N / June 2, 2014 at 09:09 pm
T / October 6, 2014 at 04:30 pm
Beautiful clothes !! But horrible service .. I love the brand J+O carries but every time I go in I feel turned off the staff seems very prejudice and judgmental.

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