Woodlawn Boutique is a rustic-looking new boutique near Dundas and Dufferin. the intersection isn't a shopping destination quite yet, but Ainaz Maleko definitely recognizes the potential, especially with stores such as Magwood and Red Canoe just down the street. That's why she and business partner Jen Kim decided to open their boutique of practical clothing for men and women in this small space just west of Dufferin.
"We look for brands that are not easily accessible, stuff you won't find everywhere," Ainaz tells me as she leads me around the shop. "Definitely functional over trendy."
The space itself certainly has that "functional" vibe, with clean white walls, chipboard clothing racks, and hardwood floors. Hanging on the racks and shelves are varying takes on simple--from YMC perforated sweaters in a deep navy ($149), to Industry of All Nations patent leather loafers ($160).
"I love this," Ainaz says, reaching for a hanger from a rack by the front entrance. She retrieves a powder blue Family Affairs dress, sort of vintage-inspired with a tailored bodice and flowy skirt. "These are antique glass buttons," she says, running a finger down the front of the dress ($218). "They just add a really beautiful touch."
Ainaz and Jen met through a friend a couple of years ago, and soon became good friends themselves. While Jen spends part of her time working as a stylist at Grateful Head, and Ainaz works as a bartender, they decided to get into business together.
"Jen is crazy into fashion," Ainaz says. "And I always wanted to open a vintage shop from my own collection. But we decided this was a better fit. "
Woodlawn offers accessories with the same sort of "basic and functional" attitude as its men and women's clothing. While a jewellery line is currently in the works, Woodlawn sells leather belts by local designer Joseph Tanner, as well as Wm. J. Mills & Co. canvas bags made form the same material the century-old family company used to create actual sales. But the winner at Woodlawn is its awesome, awesome WeWood watches ($120), made from Italian wood and free from toxic materials. The sale of each watch translates to the planting of a new tree through the Global ReLeaf Fund.
Photos by Dennis Marciniak