Shoppe and Tailor
Editor's note: Shoppe and Tailor no longer sells retail items, and now focuses on clothes tailoring, alterations, and customization.
Shoppe and Tailor specializes in breathing new life into well-loved, worn-down pieces. That's true of owner Maegan McWade 's tailoring business, which she runs out of the tiny basement studio, but also of the titular shop, which fills the front room with handmade and refashioned items of all kinds: jewelry, reworked vintage, and home goods made from eco-friendly materials.
"I had the idea of having a tailoring shop, but selling fashionable goods in the front as a means of bringing people in regularly, just to see what's available and get excited about locally-made and handmade things," McWade says.
McWade got into tailoring, alterations and custom commissions as a ways to make ends meet while in fashion design school. "At first I was like 'Oh, I'm a designer, I'm above that' - until I figured out that it made a lot of really fast cash." Eventually, she got so busy she was forced to expand into a studio space of her own.
The Ossington basement space, below Unique Touch , had recently been renovated when she stumbled upon it. Now, in addition to studio space for McWade, there's enough room for two other artists to get work done.
In terms of alterations, McWade has extensive experience with leather (she interned at a cobbler's shop in Guelph while she was in school). But her real specialty, she says, is taking an outdated piece and making it more in keeping with current trends. "Because I come from a very 'fashion' background, I know what the trends are, I still follow everything that happens. I pick up on what's cool, and then I can help you figure out what you want."
That extends to her approach to salvaging those 'so loved they're barely holding together' wardrobe items. "A lot of the time people bring in things with holes to me. We could figure out a really cool way to patch it up - patching is really trendy. A few recent examples: patching some falling-apart jeans with a contrasting shade of denim and deliberately-messy stitching, or crafting a big leather patch for the side of a skater's pants, shredded by the friction from holding his board.
If you're handy, you can head over to her DIY button-sewing station, where you can stitch a lost button back onto an item of clothing for free (button included). In addition to providing a public service (because, seriously, who wants to go to the store and buy thread), it's a way of fostering appreciation for what it takes to make clothing: "Because a lot of people have a hard time sewing, it helps them understand the importance of being able to have that skill, and why it costs a certain amount of money.
The items in the shop take a similar approach, celebrating quirky, handmade pieces from McWade's friends and up-and-coming artists. "The shop part here is really focused on a platform to let young designers test out product and test out their prices, and see what their things are worth."
McWade makes leather bags and wallets out of scrap leather; there's also sturdy, sleek natural-leather totes by new brand Anthonaye (about $200, which McWade personally feels is too low). Jewelry comes from Crafted by Aikiko, who contributes dainty pieces like hand-embroidered collars ($75), and Cambium Design , who makes earrings (about $30) from wood scraps of trees cut down by the City of Toronto.
Another unique offering: Vintage suits and clothing sold with complimentary alterations. (It's a natural fit, since McWade does the tailoring and alterations for a number of Toronto vintage stores.)
McWade's next steps - aside from transforming a whole lot of clothing - is to bring in more "lifestyle"-oriented products, including fragrances and beard care items, as well as continue engaging local designers and crafters. "It's trying to get cool young artists excited about being entrepreneurs, practicing the things that they like to do, and seeing what can come of it."
Photos by Jesse Milns.