Sugar & Scruff
Sugar & Scruff a locally-owned clothing store by designer Linh Diep. While the store has a new name, interior design and collections, it has been a well-known fixture on Queen Street since it first opened in 2001 as HUH.
Since then, Diep has seen West Queen West evolve into the fashionably diverse community we know. This, and the fast-paced growth of the neighbourhood was the inspiration behind the rebranding of the store.
After 14 years in the neighbourhood, Diep knew it was time for a change, in the same manner that she saw the community change its identity. In order to stay competitive, Diep had to make decisions amongst a shifting landscape.
One of those decisions was to stop designing clothes herself, and instead focus her energy on selecting unique items from different labels and collaborating with Toronto designers like Bijoux and Kurve for jewelry. "My goal is to make every woman who enters Sugar & Scruff feel like she can wear anything in my shop, no matter what her age," Says Linh.
The space itself has been upgraded to feel more modern & spacious with all white fixtures and personal touches like ornaments that Diep has collected from friends and family.
Sugar & Scruff - as with HUH - is one of those Queen West stores I go into and immediately want to purchase everything. The clothes are curated and designed to be versatile; taking you from the office with a modern cotton button down dress shirt ($65) to more formal and fitted offerings.
While it still remains a Toronto-focused store, Diep will be carrying men's shirts ($85-120) by California designer 7Diamonds . Diep firmly believes the rule that the shirt makes the man. Along with a men's line, home dĂŠcor will also be available.
When Diep first started her business, she was 23 and designing for a younger female demographic. Now, she caters to both men and women at any age. "The Sugar aspect reflects not only who I am now, but also my own personal style." The Scruff depicts how Diep would love to see Toronto's men dress - sharp but rugged.
When I visit the store I'm greeted by the very bubbly and friendly Simone Brown who started helping Diep in December. She describes Sugar & Scruff as one big closet where you can play dress up.
The items are a balance between item pieces and classic pieces - like white collar dresses with asymmetrical hemlines ($100). Or, as Brown puts it, "the pieces are HR- friendly in the front and cocktail in the back."
Longstanding customers will be happy to know Sugar & Scruff still offers free alterations with the purchase of regular priced items, because the fit is just as important as the design.
Photos by Hector Vasquez