Warby Parker Toronto
Warby Parker, an eyewear brand best known for affordable, vintage-inspired frames, has set up shop in Toronto. It's the brand's very first foray into international retail (although they've opened over 30 across the U.S. since 2013), and West Queen West seems to be the perfect fit.
Situated at the corner of Queen and Euclid, the new bricks and mortar leaves little to the imagination with its large windows and rectangular layout. This location is library themed, as evident through its terrazzo flooring, brass lamps, and bold mural by Maira Kalman .
Employees draped in 60s inspired uniforms attend to the room, and the overall shopping experience feels like a leisurely afternoon perusing books rather than glasses.
Rows upon rows of shades and glasses line the walls; designed in-house, every high-quality pair retails for just $150 including prescription lenses and shipping. By cutting out the middle men, Warby Parker aims to provide striking eyewear without the ridiculous markup.
Plus, for every pair sold, a pair is given to someone in need - to date, they've distributed over 2 million pairs of glasses around the world.
The clear-framed 'Percel' glasses were the first to catch my eye, but since I have 20/20 vision I turned my attention to a pair of sunglasses exclusive to Toronto: the 'Haskell,' complete with navy and red mirrored lenses.
Aside from their main product, the boutique also offers a curated selection of books either inspired by Toronto or written by Canadian authors like Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood.
An exclusive version of Dostoevsky's The Idiot is also in the mix, with a cover illustrated by Toronto-born artist Leanne Shapton .
I left with a takeaway map of the best places to sit and read a book in the neighbourhood, illustrated by Jason Polan ; as well as newsprint books Free 4 the Taking , a collaborative effort between Canadian artists Micah Lexier , Maggie Groat , Mark Laliberte , and artist collective VSVSVS . When coupled with hip eyewear, these touches of Toronto culture tell me Warby Parker's here to stay.
Photos by Jesse Milns.