5 more upstart fashion brands in Toronto
Fashion start-up brands in Toronto are multitudinous--so much so, that after my previous post went live, I decide to put together a second list with more local brands worthy of highlighting. It's a positive indicator of Toronto's thriving--and supportive--independent fashion community that many of the below are available at local retailers.
To sum it up simply: Fortnight equals beautiful lingerie. Designers Christina Remenyi and Alison Chown create delicate, airy, and sensual--without steering into overt sexuality--pieces out of their Parkdale studio. Their matching sets represent lingerie that women (myself included) will happily select for themselves, with a mandate to create pieces that feature discreet tailoring, and a silhouette that steers towards a romanticized classic '50s figure.
The shapes aren't overtly sexy--no obvious push-ups, but rather a line that aims to support sizes between 30-38, A-E. Particularly lovely is the duo-tone Lola, a strategically colour-blocked set in white and deep rose. A decent selection is available at the Narwhal Boutique and The Future of Frances Watson.
Outclass is a menswear brand that draws inspiration from the past. Their attention to detail is self-evident, from the natural denim jeans--complete with a playful candy-striped interior lining--and ox blood-hued raw cotton denim (both $185) with black-tinged underside. You'll find a truly fine (if somewhat difficult to promote to one's boyfriend) seafoam-hued striped seersucker shirt ($150).
To my eyes, Outclass' collections emulate the studied, period cool of The Talented Mr. Ripley while updating it with modern accents. They produce items in limited quantities, so don't dwell too long on a favourite piece. Select items available at The Future of Frances Watson and Klaxon Howl.
Toronto-based Hlfwts re-conceives a halfwit as someone who's incomplete, and therefore prepped for growth--a fitting moniker for the men and women's street-wear brand that launched just last year. Their spring/summer line is chockfull of tees and tank tops ($25), baseball caps ($40) and sweatshirts ($60), each printed with takes on the brand name or strangely motivational phrases such as "we are the bruised and broken, keep it coming." Items are available through their website.
Varsity Brown is a Toronto-based purveyor of handcrafted leather goods, and the brainchild of Matt Boston, who's been running focus groups on his brand-in-progress through his personal website. The website isn't yet operational, but from what I've gleaned, the brand is set to provide simple and streamlined belts, bracelets, key chains and bags, each designed with an old-school sensibility. For an overload of retro, check out the delicately stitched comb holder in rich brown leather. The identifying factor on many of their designs is the signature "VB" insignia, drawing on what looks to be a '50s era letter jacket font, and simple stud closures.
Jessica Mary Clayton
England native, Toronto-educated, and NYC-trained designer Jessica Mary Clayton is a go-to source for this season's of-the-moment look of maxi silhouettes and cropped tops. Her namesake, Toronto-based womenswear line offers effortless and wearable long skirts (with and without a high grandmotherly-blush-inducing slit), as well as an array of mullet skirts and dresses in a bold seafoam pastel, or a subtly-printed white. They're easily paired with her navel-skimming, simply cut tops. Her pieces are available at Fawn Boutique.
Photos courtesy of the brands. Photographer credits: Fortnight by Mackenzie Duncan, Outclass by Alex Cirka.