10 more upstart fashion brands in Toronto for 2014
To badly paraphrase the great Stephen Malkmus, Toronto's fashion scene is crazy - brands start up each and every day. We've featured numerous newbie fashion designers, brands and web stores, and despite the funding and promotional woes faced by many young designers, there are still a few breaking away from the pack. From jewelry and streetwear to cold-weather gear and couture menswear tailoring, here are 10 new names to know in the city's fashion and retail scene.
Sultan Sandur debuted his bowtie and accessory company in a big way at TOM this week, hosting a pop-up shop in the festival's marketplace and lending a few bowties to Christopher Bates for his opening night runway show. A whimsical bonus: Many of his designs are reversible, meaning they can be worn with either pattern or with a half-and-half twist. There's also patterned pocket squares and floral lapel pins for an extra punch.
Bad Etiquette founder Lionel Wong's path to fashion design was long and winding - he left home at 16 and battled cancer in his 20s, but persevered, rising through the ranks of the ad agency before pursuing his dream of running a fashion line. Now, Wong's debuted his first unisex streetwear collection features a range of hoodies, tees and snapbacks in a stark black and white palette.
I Love Goldie
"Ethics and aesthetics" is the credo of this fair-trade fashion brand, which turns out edgy-boho jewelry pieces featuring strands of chains and quirky charms - all of which are lead- and nickel-free and made in Canada. My personal fave: their mismatched earrings, which feature a dagger charm on one side and a bottle opener on the other.
Bacchus and Barley
This brand-new leather accessory company - the creation of two Ryerson students - aims to make Canadian-made leather goods affordable for all. All of their wallets, passport cases, odds-and-ends trays and surprisingly handsome iPad cases ring in at under $100, and are available in a variety of North American and Italian leather finishes.
When we last checked in with Shelfies, they were hawking Rob Ford sweaters (just like every other person with a dream and the ability to pay someone to print 'drunken stupors' on a T-shirt). But that's just the tip of the iceberg for this now-ubiquitous Toronto brand, which ships obnoxiously photo-printed sweaters around the globe. Your options, mostly snack-related, range from legitimately-beautiful oil slick and Grand Canyon prints to pizza, Kanye eating ice cream and Lana Del Rey (the Aubrey Jax special).
You might not want to think ahead to winter now - but this is Toronto, and in four months, you're probably going to have a terrible soaker in -15 C weather. Ward that off with Love Winter's boots, which feature a felt boot shaft (cozy!) that clips into different-coloured rubber galosh bottoms (waterproof!) for a nifty mixed-media effect. (You get to choose two different colours when you buy 'em - perfect if you get sick of looking at the same pair of Sorels all winter long.)
Royal Shirt Co.
Technically, the Royal Shirt Company started 40 years ago in the basement of owner Anita D'Abbondanza's parents' house, where they began sewing tailored men's shirts. The business grew exponentially until it was sold in 1999; now, the brand's been relaunched with a range of shirting - from casual button-downs to formalwear - made with those heritage techniques in mind.
Designer Vanessa Rose Thomas' design career took her to bridal and eveningwear before she finally began doing feminine daywear for women with Jesse Rowes (a line named for her grandmothers). Feminine cocktail dresses abound, including a few little white numbers we could see some uber-hip bride rocking at her wedding reception - but the collection's also recently given way to some adorable crop top and skirt sets, which your favourite blogger will most likely be sporting come Fashion Week.
At Fanshawe College's end of year fashion competition, Unbound, this spring, Sebastian Taborda Guarin took home the prize for his collection of tailored pieces embellished with clever grids and windows. The London lad is now in Toronto, interning for none other than Greta Constantine - look for his name to pop up around town.
Whether you're an iron man, a CrossFitter, or just want something basic to wear with your leather sweatpants, this new men's athletic line might have the basics you need. Launched earlier this year, Athletes Collective aims to create affordable made-in-Canada basics for athletes of all types. And they mean affordable - their first run of moisture-wicking shirts starts at just $20.
Photo via Just Sultan.