Thursday, October 08, 2009

Devour Local Designers

Nourish your need for all things local by supporting independent Canadian designers and retailers

So we’ve stocked our kitchens and stuffed our bellies with local goods, but now what about our closets? As more and more Torontonians adopt the locavore lifestyle by eating only locally grown or produced food, the demand for other locally derived goods is growing. The movement that encourages us to reduce our carbon footprint is starting a new trend, one that moves beyond food and into fashion. Green is becoming the new black so to speak. So why buy local, especially when there is a shiny new H&M around every corner? When you buy local you are not only keeping your environmental impact to a minimum but you are supporting emerging designers as well as other local industries. If that hasn’t got you loco for local consider the accessibility to unique, one-of-a-kind pieces – you won’t be seeing this stuff twice on the streets of Toronto (unlike that mass produced piece of costume jewelry you own.) Make room in your wardrobe because Toronto is full of independent designers and retailers. Here’s where to get started:


Located in the trendy Parkdale neighbourhood, Shopgirls’ gallery-like boutique showcases and sells over 50 undiscovered local and Canadian artists. Its eclectic and charming storefront (which also doubles as an event studio after hours) displays an assortment of unique pieces that include jewelry, accessories and fashion, even home décor items such as furniture and art. Both the fashion savvy as well as supporters of the indie scene will be impressed by this designer collective’s collection of finds. Be sure to check out their covetable selection of Yoga Jeans by Second Denim. Retailing for around $110, Yoga Jeans are noted as being the comfiest jeans on the market and have been seen on the likes of Halle Berry and Jessica Simpson.
(Check Shopgirls out at 1342 Queen Street West,

Freedom Clothing Collective

Tucked in along Bloor, west of Ossington, Freedom Clothing Collective offers an eclectic assortment of arts and crafts, clothing and jewelry and a fine tuned selection of reworked vintage. The store, which is run by a group of local artists and designers, focuses on selling local and sustainable goods that possess a huge amount of creative flair. With ecologically and economically friendly creations by over 60 designers from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver and items constructed only from recycled and renewable fabrics and materials, Locavores have made this their favourite fashion spot for over five years. Functioning as an event space, design studio and sales floor the small boutique also hosts monthly art shows and clothing swaps. Stay tuned, as design workshops in silk-screening, knitting, life drawing and other creative mediums will soon be offered.
(Shop eco at 939 Bloor Street West,

Pho Pa

Another west end gem, Pho Pa proves to be anything but (a faux pas that is). Here, the fashion forward and the sustainable savvy can mingle and shop harmoniously. The modern, nature-inspired décor is reflective of the fashion forward Canadian designed pieces that are hung and folded on suspended wood and metal fixtures. The space, lined with a northern chic ambiance, is chalked full with fabulous Canadian made goods like clothing, handbags, jewelry and belts. Canadian labels such as Dinh Bá, House of Spy, Juma, Dagg and Stacey and over a dozen local designers sell at reasonable prices. Young professionals won’t have to break the bank in order to purchase a new outfit, nor will students who choose to pick up a few splurge worthy pieces. Just remember that a sustainable splurge is guilt-free! If you aren’t sold on local designers yet, a trip to Pho Pa will surely change your mind.
(Dress in designer at 698 Queen Street West,

Also Check Out

  • Fresh fashions from Fresh Collective at 692 Queen Street West,
  • And its sister store in Kensington, Fresh Baked Goods at 274 Augusta Avenue,
  • Rock-n-roll inspired designs from Damzels in this Dress at 1122 Queen Street East,
  • Custom jewelry from Made You Look at 1338 or 1273 Queen Street West,
  • Finely styled smart-casual pieces from Comrags at 654 Queen Street West,
  • FashionCan provides local shopping at your fingertips, visit

1 comment:

Janet said...

This is one of my favorite articles so far. It has great information i never knew before and perfectly parallels our theme 'Toronto fashion'. I think its our job to publish pieces with information that the public aught to know about and write about it in a way that excites us. This article did just that for me.