Mia Boutique is a Junction clothing store that can't really be defined. "I'm not consignment, vintage, or second hand," owner Sandra Muscat tells me as she jumps back and forth between me and a woman trying on an endless stack of designer jeans. "I have a lot of new--samples and things--and the pre-owned is always in pristine condition." Then she turns back to the woman by the changeroom. "Those ones," Sandra says. "Those are definitely the ones."
This is Sandra's first independent venture after years in art, styling, and design. A longtime Junction resident, Sandra knew this was the place she wanted to open her new store. "The is no other retailer that does what I do," she says, referring to her inventory of new, old, and one-of-a-kind. "And I just got a sense that this was the time in my life to really make this happen."
Mia opened about four weeks ago on Dundas Street West between Keele and Runnymede. It offers a selection of designer pieces by labels including Religion, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Anna Sui and more, handpicked by Sandra and marked at incredible prices.
"All of this," Sandra says, leading over to a rack of Religion clothing, "this is all the current season. And I'm selling it for half the retail cost."
Of course, Sandra can't divulge her buying secrets, but she does most of her shopping in Toronto, Montreal, New York, and San Francisco, along with the occasional Italian hunt. She finds and chooses feminine and colourful pieces, classic in both style and design. "I lean toward fashion-forward but I don't follow the trends," Sandra says. "I look for quality pieces that are going to last you a long time."
Those pieces include a pair of Dolce & Gabbana dark wash skinny jeans, priced at a remarkable $100. As Sandra continues to help her customer, I check out the selection of jewellery and accessories, which include a collection of vintage Swarovski crystal earrings ($25-$35) in both pierced and clip-on (a relative rarity nowadays), and a gorgeous Sunny Choi yellow halter for $75.
Sandra certainly has a way with people, and watching her interact with her jeans-seeking customer, I can tell she has a knack for finding the right style and fit for each individual who walks through the door. And even if Sandra is tied up with someone else, you can get a bit of her voice by reading each item's price tag. More than just cost and size, most labels at Mia have an additional handwritten line, such as the cream knee-length skirt with a tag that tells you "Great summer skirt. So in style!" or the blue trapeze cotton dress with a label reading "A trapeze tunic. Yay! Add tights."
Sandra hopes to expand the service aspect of the store by offering personal styling and special event nights based on concepts like "How to rock the little black dress." So far, she says, the response from the community has been amazing and women of all ages have been dropping by to check out the clothes, shoes, and accessories. New inventory will be brought in each week, and even if you don't find your size, Sandra will surely still try to fin you something great.