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Fashion Stores

Klaxon Howl (previous incarnation)

Posted by Staff / Posted on July 14, 2010

Klaxon HowlKlaxon Howl, the former Queen St. West resident, may not position itself as an exclusive brand, but you need to know where to look if you want to shop through the store's selection of hard-wear men's fashion.

Hidden down an alley north of Manning and Queen, it does not surprise me that I am one of two men browsing. It also does not shock me that my fellow man is a regular Klaxon shopper. Entering the space reminds me of an old cabin, filled with the aroma of leather and vintage - this is a store for the every man, whether true or part of a shallower form of hipster irony.

Klaxon HowlKlaxon Howl is hidden, not because it caters to a limited population of haute workmen, but because the company has proven to foster relationships with its once Queen St. clientele. This showed in an employee's one-on-one helpful service, offering suggestions and alternatives, rather than fishing for a big sale.

That being said, obtaining a big sale is no difficult task.

Klaxon HowlA naval-inspired watchman's knit cap is forty dollars and can be yours in scarlet red, Oxford grey and black. This will serve you well if you are catching the wave of nautical-inspired fashions seen everywhere from Old Navy to Holt Renfrew. However, it is completely impractical and borders on foolish, given the humidity our fair city has been experiencing lately. Maybe you could opt in, if only as an early winter purchase, or if you are really looking to complete your look from head to toe, go for it -- but beware of heat stroke.

Klaxon HowlKlaxon Howl is a unique store, in that its stock includes 30% vintage items, ranging from boots to jackets. I spotted a lightweight 1960s Canadian hooded zip up in red that looked great for spring or a cool summer night. At $120, the price seems high, but it is a one of a kind item, so if you are looking for something unique, it is a great addition to your wardrobe.

Klaxon HowlKlaxon Howl is home to a private house label, but given its vintage aesthetic, the line between what is and what is not old-to-be-new-again blurred. I was shocked to discover that a wool and leather club jacket was $568 -- an update on a classic jacket, it is designed with pockets, much-like a utility vest along the bodice with leather sleeves to reference its humbler beginnings (it is, after all, a club jacket). Alternately, a house-brand "Heritage" navy poplin button up ($159) is well-tailored, rich in colour and is a staple that I can see getting a lot of wear.

Klaxon HowlChambray had a great presence in an assortment of colours, ranging from a stock indigo blue to a magenta-like hue. It is this unique colouration that warrants a price tag ranging from $159-$169. Klaxon Howl is offering the market -- one so rich in chambray, already -- something that hasn't been explored in Toronto: a colourful twist on a heritage classic, just in time for summer.

Klaxon HowlOverall, Klaxon Howl boasts a wide range of workman pieces, ranging from flannel shirts, to heavy leather lace-up boots. It is the kind of store you need to go to, just to try on some decidedly masculine staples. Modern dandies may be disappointed, but if you are looking for work wear inspiration without the boxy fit of Mark's Work Wearhouse, then Klaxon Howl will surprise and delight.

Klaxon HowlHours: Tuesday by appointment, Wednesday to Saturday noon to 7 pm, Sunday noon to 6 pm.

Writing by Kevin Naulls. Photos by Jason Tavares.



Stephanie / April 18, 2009 at 07:22 pm
Now located off an alley behind Magic Pony.
gr1 / July 14, 2010 at 01:03 pm
picked up some of my fav items here.
a belstaff leather jacket and a pair of algonquin toed gales from like 70 years ago.
the scarves are amazing. the selection is great and the staff are fantastic and helpful, offering advice on everything from colors to places to get alterations/hems done.
Really / July 14, 2010 at 07:32 pm
Stop knockin dickies. Just do the prisonweld. +10 awesome.
Really / July 15, 2010 at 04:23 pm
I also prefer the H&M version of many of these styles. plus they are cheaper, better suited for the working man than the faux-bourgeois playing dress up .
Lee / July 16, 2010 at 02:40 pm
Cough!!! H&M.... If you like mass produced, fall apart cloths made in countries with next to no labor laws.. I feel better paying for a Klaxon Howl shirt that is made in Canada that will last me a good 5 years+ of heavy wear then some synthetic wannabe.
sPionage / July 17, 2010 at 06:16 pm
As a fan of vintage, I was underwhelmed.
The new items or so-so. Red Canoe's quality may be marginally better than H&M, but doesn't warrant the price-point.
I'm not sure how a scarf can be amazing.
Their vintage 'Nam Vet on skid row look sure ain't cheap.
An unimaginative clientele with cash to burn, may actually enjoy the rude service.
gr1 / July 19, 2010 at 02:05 pm
scarves can be amazing if you know how to tie em, like color and aren't into shopping at h&m.
anon / February 3, 2011 at 09:56 am
Matty is handsome.
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