10 upstart fashion brands in Toronto for winter 2016
Startup fashion brands in Toronto aren't as rare as they used to be. It seems like everywhere you turn, there's a local label making waves in their niche by blowing up social media or participating in pop-up markets like INLAND. As a result, Toronto's name is becoming more and more relevant in the fashion and retail scene - and these little guys are just waiting to take over.
Here are my picks for Toronto-based labels to look out for.
Comfortable undergarments are often considered an oxymoronic concept in the wonderful world of womenswear, but Mary Young wants to change that. Offering ultra soft, minimalistic lingerie and loungewear made in Canada, Mary's namesake line was founded in 2014 as a Ryerson Fashion Communications thesis project. It's available online and in stores such as Smoke + Ash.
Backed by a crowdfunding campaign late last year, Mammoth Outerwear caught the attention of vegans everywhere. Not only are their high-end parkas animal-free, the company also donates part of their profit to the Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals. The online store carries four practical, wearable silhouettes ranging from $569 - $675.
In an industry so heavily focused on mass producing trends, Skinny Sweats fights the status quo with a "slow fashion" ethos; one that ignores the typical consumer's alarmingly short attention span and concentrates on quality, small-batch designs made mindfully in Toronto. Their products are practical and timeless with fair price points - find them online or at Coal Miner's Daughter and Deluxe.
Guild Eyewear mills, tumbles, polishes and assembles all of their frames right here in Toronto, so it's safe to say their level of attention to detail is through the roof. It also means they offer some of the funkiest glasses I've ever seen, since they're capable of creating pretty much any silhouette. Most recently, Guild collaborated with Untitled & Co to design a collection of 60's-inspired sunglasses.
After catching the attention of buzzy publications like Hypebeast and IX Daily with their very first capsule collection, INSUB'ORDINATE's unforgettable pink camo tee can be spotted on rebellious youth in Toronto and beyond. Founded by Jimbo Williams and designed/produced by a team of hyper-sophisticated teenage boys, the brand puts their energetic spin on post-punk menswear staples.
For Zen Nomad, luxury and sustainability go hand-in-hand; their stylish yoga-inspired clothing is made in Toronto using high quality, eco-friendly fabrics. The company makes sure to also incorporate sustainable practices, like designing with longevity in mind and choosing low impact dyeing. Zen Nomad is available online and at yoga studios Downward Dog and Octopus Garden.
Founded by Chee Maduekwe in 2011, Abundunce is a menswear line heavily influenced by Toronto's underground scene -- film, social commentary, skate culture and speakeasies are often referenced in their collections. Supreme-esque tees ($55) and a handmade Italian wool jacket ($400) are available now through their online shop; a fresh collection is slated to drop in April.
Monte & Coe
Dedicated to keeping their manufacturing local, Monte & Coe designs and produces high-end travel bags in small batches right here in Toronto. Only the finest of raw materials are used - like full grain vegetable-tanned leather and premium italian wool felt - alongside the highest level of craftsmanship. Find their briefcases, duffles and dopp kits online at prices ranging from $110 - $490.
NobleSole is a footwear brand borne out of the frustration that often comes with justifying a $500 sneaker purchase. Their luxury leather shoes are handcrafted in Portugal by artisan shoe makers and sold exclusively online, cutting the dreaded middle man markup. The styles available now barely graze the $200 mark and are Toronto facsimiles of the notorious Common Projects.
Backed by stunning visuals and rather elusive branding, Kira is a minimalistic menswear line that officially launched late last year and has since gained quite the exposure on Tumblr. With handmade clothing ranging from basics like organic Japanese cotton t-shirts ($85) to heavy canvas flight jackets ($895), Kira's collections are currently available for purchase online.
Give props to more upstart fashion brands to the comments.
Photo via Mammoth Outerwear.
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