Metsa, an Estonian word meaning "my little house in the forest," is Markus Uran's line of beautifully tailored menswear and accessories. At his Harbord street studio, he crafts streamlined "heritage American work wear:" garments defined by careful detailing and one-of-a-kind touches like hand-rolled buttons and hand-dyed fabrics. Metsa designs are sold at Nomad and Lost and Found in Toronto, and shops in Vancouver, San Francisco and Hong Kong have picked up the line as well.
Looking around his meticulous studio and show-room, a bright, airy space with flourishes of interesting knickknacks and dozens of records, it's no surprise that that the clothes are reflections of the designer's space: streamlined with a touch of whimsy. After all, polka dots and purposefully wrinkled fabrics hardly define your typical button-up.
Though Metsa's focus is menswear, that doesn't stop Uran from designing stylish accessories for women. Silver-backed "cement pearl" earrings, for example, offer a twist on the sophisticated classic, while sexy three-finger wooden rings have already garnered attention from popular fashion sites like Hypebeast.
If hand-rolled cement and wood are any indication, Metsa is big on local and truth to materials. Save for the fabrics, which are often sourced from Scandinavia and Japan, all of the garments are designed, dyed and sewn right here in Toronto. Inspired by North American craft and Folk-Art, using traditional processes to create clothing and accessories is of primary importance. "Total design - to design as much of an item as possible," Uran says, is the driving force behind his line.
Natural minerals and pigments are used to dye the fabrics whenever possible, and jars full of different kinds of dye (like the log wood pictured below, which was used to dye the blue garment behind it) fill the shelves of his studio. All of the dyeing takes place on site, or at a lake in Northern Ontario.
In the two and a half years since Uran started Metsa, he has released two full collections. In between, he's experimented with smaller, "capsule" releases to keep his collections fresh. So what can we expect next from Toronto's rising design star? He tells me that expanding to more stores and designing accessories are priorities right now.
With some of the city's top boutiques already selling his clothes, and a healthy amount of buzz continuing to grow online, it doesn't seem like Uran will have any problem expanding Metsa. "I like making stuff - I like thinking about it, I like being stressed, I don't know how to turn it off," Uran muses while looking around his studio. A little wholehearted ambition certainly doesn't hurt either.
Writing by Carli Vierke