The top 5 spring pop-up shops in Toronto for 2014
Now that the weather's finally allowing it, a whole slew of temporary and semi-permanent stores have popped up along Queen St. - with a couple of outliers, like one menswear spot at King and Spadina). Each clothing retailer brings something new to the area, already crawling with garments. Though these short-lived shops are open for business for just a little while, many will be easy to track post-summertime - they're just getting the ball rolling.
Here are 5 pop-ups to check out this month (and for some, next month and the month after, too).
Oak + Fort
Oak + Fort, a fast-growing womenswear brand hailing from Vancouver, recently opened their first locations in Toronto: a permanent space at Shops at Don Mills, and this pop-up location at Queen and Tecumseth (737 Queen St. West). To me, the label screams affordable luxury - their refined basics and fashion-forward silhouettes rarely go beyond $200 a pop. Luckily, the Queen West stint won't be over after the pop-up's projected five-month lifespan - founder and CEO Min Kang is merely looking for another space in the neighbourhood to take over for good.
By far my favourite, Room 29 at the Burroughes Building (639 Queen St. West) is not a store for the faint of heart - the space is stocked with only the quirkiest, coolest contemporary womenswear labels from around the world. Though it's shared with a swimwear shop, the e-retailer-turned-pop-up will be around for about a year before moving to a more permanent location. During my visit, serious statement necklaces by Ek Thongprasert ($520-$1280) and digitally printed skirts by Fabitoria ($250-$360) caught my eye, but it's a jewelled sweatshirt by Three Floor that instantaneously won my heart (and my $180).
Indochino's Traveling Tailor plopped themselves at King and Spadina (425 King St. West) last week to be closer to the movin' and shakin' businessmen of Toronto. Specializing in men's suits, the typically-online retailer lets guys customize and custom-tailor their garments - from $80 for a shirt to $750 for a premium tuxedo. Until May 25, you can book a half-hour appointment with a personal "Style Guide," who can take your measurements and show you fabric swatches for your perfect look.
Co-owners Angela Pastor and Julie Buczkowski, of Fitzroy Boutique, are no strangers to the pop-up life - prolonged stays inside BYOB Cocktail Emporium and Love of Mine Boutique are proof. Their boho-glam vibe has overtaken Clint Roenisch Gallery (944 Queen St. West), filling the otherwise raw space with balloons and their ever-present cowhide rug. Until the end of the month, you can find an abundance of Australian womenswear by the likes of One Teaspoon and Blesse'd Are The Meek, as well as rare finds including one particularly awesome fair trade, hand embroidered, leather bag from Thailand ($135).
L.A. brand Wildfox makes "vintage-inspired clothing for dreamers," and although the slouchy tees and girly bikinis are available in many stores across the city, there's never been one single place to get it all. When former tenants Balisi threw in the towel, leaser Marcus Fraser teamed up with the label to turn 711 Queen St. West into a three-month Wildfox fest. They've already been open for several weeks and Marcus tells me they've been busy, so it's probably best to hurry in to get your lobster sweater ($198) and obnoxiously round sunglass ($179) fix ASAP.
Did I miss any? Add your favourite new pop-up shop in the comments!
Photo of Oak + Fort by Jesse Milns.