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Fashion Stores


Posted by Briony / Posted on July 14, 2009

RAD TorontoR.A.D. has exactly 24 items in stock.

Each one is black, gray, or cream.

"I definitely have an urban colour palette," owner Kia Waese chuckled. The former ad agency art director and milliner opened the tiny showroom Research and Development (known as R.A.D.) in May on Dundas West to offer "season-less, artisanal" products to Toronto's colour-averse, edgy urbanites.

And I like.

RAD"I saw it as an opportunity to offer an alternative to the big luxury brands or low-end fast fashion stuff," said Waese. "Think high price-point, low production."

The few lines that pass muster so far include M.A. † (Italy), Nico Uytterhaegen (Belgium), Jas M.B. (England), and LD Tuttle (Los Angeles), some of which are exclusive to R.A.D. This fall will welcome DRKSHDW by Rick Owens and Collection K by Sharon Wauchob.

RAD Dundas West

But, said Waese, she'll always have the showroom sparsely populated, keeping runs low and different stock secreted away to keep focus on a few key pieces as tight as possible.

As for the things themselves, she said, "They're aesthetically minimalist. You're not going to see anything girly or encrusted with extra things," she said.


The pieces here really are exquisite, with a chicly sturdy, rough-n'-tumble feel to them, whether it's a papery kangaroo leather lace-up boot that wouldn't look out of place on a nineteenth-century street urchin ($1895) and a cream-coloured, rustic, unadorned half-boot ($1795) from M.A.† or LD Tuttle's slouchy sandals with chunky heels cinched at the top ($695--$845).


I'm also a new fan of Nico Uytterhaegen. His designs have a real weight to them--no frippery here, in line with Waese's R.A.D. edict--but this simplicity doesn't preclude some really refreshing details, from the belt with double straps spouting from two o-rings ($255) to the hearty black tote with detachable straps and even an attached black leather--and very SM-sexy--masquerade mask ($1395)

"I look for handmade, long-lasting pieces that aren't really trendy. I don't think we need more of that," said Waese.

And I'm sure you'll be the only one at the party carrying the purse with the mask attached.


Photos by Alex Russel



A. / July 14, 2009 at 04:52 pm
For someone not claiming to dance the fashion industry swing Kia is sure acting like quite the little media whore. BTW, M.A+ is not exclusive to R.A.D.
a / July 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm
wow, this is exactly the sort of store where I'd totally feel uncomfortable in. high prices, minimalist stock and style and a paranoid feeling that the person who works there just KNOWS i can't afford a thing in the store and watch me like a hawk.
K. / July 14, 2009 at 11:39 pm
Between the odd location and the cost of the goods, does anyone actually buy anything there? I can't see how this place stays in business. Is this one of those things where someone rich says they "want to own a store" but isn't particularly practical about it and just toss money into a big hole?

Seriously, I don't get it.
JL replying to a comment from A. / July 15, 2009 at 11:05 am
A.'s ad hominem swipe is jarring and illogical. If the media is interested, it is appropriate business sense for Ms. Waese to talk about her concept with them. We all consume media (otherwise why are you on this site) and everyone in business, government, charities and not for profits use media in some way in the modern world. Either we are all "whores" or none of us are.
Briony replying to a comment from A. / July 15, 2009 at 03:13 pm
The post has been amended about the exclusivity thing. Thanks!
ased / July 15, 2009 at 04:57 pm
honestly, who would pay that price for a pair of plastic rain boots? i would have paid it for 2 pairs of christian louboutin. still classic and timeless.
not saying that anything in this store is bad, but be realistic, you'll eventually have to find a way to stay in business.
AV / November 1, 2009 at 06:41 pm
Looks like a great store. Creepy comments, not necessary. I have high hopes for the area and wish R.A.D much success.
itskatiee / January 12, 2010 at 11:00 am
This is the type of store I would go into and make awkward comments to whom ever I am with, just because I know the store owner would be able to hear me. I'm curious though, when then weathers warmer I'll make it down there.
XX replying to a comment from ased / February 28, 2010 at 12:32 am
R.A.D. doesn't sell plastic rain boots. These are high quality leather goods made by experienced craftsman; the ateliers that create these products focus on a quality and individual vision which surpass even Louboutin, and similar luxury brands - who, often times rely on labelitis and branding to sell product. Design house like MA+ attempt a focus on the subtleties like construction and cutting to create a carefully and considerately paired-down product, and not just a labelled object. The fact that you would rather invest this kind of money in a trend focused brand like Louboutin proves you are kind of missing the point here.
Mike / March 18, 2010 at 01:50 pm
XX or Patrick Bateman
air / April 5, 2010 at 02:43 am
wow... Im surprised by all of the negative comments... perhaps they come from an ignorant (and arogant) provincialism.. it is about time that T.O. carried some "out of the box" brands and presented them in an atmosphere such as RAD. Unfortunatly, Canada is behind in understanding the "other" side of fashion, where there are a lot of extremely interesting people creating meaningful, and thought prevoking clothes..... I send my very best to RAD!

Chris replying to a comment from K. / October 9, 2010 at 12:09 am
If you don't get it. Then you should not shop there. It's not for you.
Go to the Gap.
Haan replying to a comment from K. / February 23, 2011 at 02:43 am
hahah I totally agree with Chris. Hey K, just go to the ZARA. You will love it. Its a gud alternative for people who dont know fashion, but well.. still, we got 6.8 billion people on earth.

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