For the inaugural issue of the Gotstyle MAN and in celebration of our 10 year anniversary our founder Melissa Austria goes back in time to recall the varying moments when she met and fell in love with the 10 of her favourite Canadian menswear brands. Here they are (in no particular order).
When I first saw Vitaly jewelry in 2011, I immediately loved it. But I knew it was too fast for my guys. They were just getting into jewelry and a double ring would be too much for them. Fast forward two years and the men of Toronto have caught up to Shane and Jason. Their jewelry is edgy, masculine and well priced making it easy for the accessory newbie to get initiated.
When Dave came onto the menswear scene colourful socks were in their early stages of popularity and I was looking for another great colourful accessory line to add to our mix. I picked up other coloured laces, but the quality wasn’t up to snuff. Then I heard the story of Stolen Riches. They have been in the local industry for generations and got their start lacing our WW1 soldiers. I was also amazed at how Dave saved his family’s business from the brink of closing by revamping with coloured laces. I knew this would be a winner.
George Sully walked into our King Street store over 8 years ago selling his t-shirt line. But, he kept talking about a sneaker collection he was developing with his business partner Henry Wong. I’m no sneaker head, but I loved the clean aesthetics of their shoes and how passionate Sully was. We were one of the first stores to carry them and he’s still as passionate about them as he ever was.
Matteo’s collection was always tightly designed with great fabrics. I dabbled with the line for a few seasons unsure if it was the right look for us. Then I realized that he had one of the best fits in shirts and a great eye for fabrics that get better the more you wash them. Our once dabbles turned into an obsession for his entire collection that extended to pants and outerwear.
I was out at a charity event and saw this well dressed guy. When I took another look, I noticed his pocket square and that it was made of wood! I immediately approached him wanting to know where he had bought it. To my delight, Ayman said it was from his own company that he had started with his equally dapper business partner, Michael. They were always complaining that their pocket squares kept falling down when they were out, so they wanted to design a product that would always give a crisp pocket square look. The fact that it’s made out of wood also makes it very Canadian.
After many trips to Europe, I searched for many seasons to find the right portfolio briefcases. I soon found out that Ken was making exactly what I was looking for, and in our very own backyard. With design stints at Marc Jacobs and Robert Kellar and coming from FIT New York, these utilitarian, masculine, yet streamlined, portfolio cases really showcase Ken’s great design pedigree.
– HALF WITS –
I found Half Wits when I was walking through the Agenda trade show in New York, which isn’t really my style since it’s more of a street style/urban show. I think it’s always good to look outside of where I would normally buy to get inspired. There I was walking through the aisles pretty quickly when a henley with a floral patterned cuff caught my eye. Upon closer inspection, I immediately noticed the designed in Canada stamp on the inside collar. If I’m going to bring in well priced, young and fun collections, I would rather buy them from Jesse, James and Mark who fit the bill perfectly.
David got started by sewing and designing his own clothes at an early age. I’ve always liked the pieces he was doing, but thought they were still too fast for our customers. When street brands like Zanerobe started selling out in store, I knew it was time to give Kollar Clothing a serious look. Their styles are on trend and comfortable with an edgy aesthetic. And, of course, I love the sweet spot price for my younger guys.
When the Monte and Coe boys (Ron, Andrew and Matt) walked into the Bathurst store in 2013, I was immediately struck by how well dressed they all were and by the fact that they were all carrying these cool duffle bags. I found out they were made in Canada with great fabric combinations and leather details, so we placed an order on the spot. And what do you know, our first delivery completely sold out. It’s the perfect bag for the man about town.
– LOFT 604 –
Willy first came into our King West store over 5 years ago; I loved his story. He had worked for some bigger design labels but wanted to build a brand that was closer to his design aesthetic – effortless, easy and stylish. I was sold on his chunky shawl collar sweaters with awesome horn buttons and rich cabled cardigans. He was also the first guy to offer luxe loungewear years before it was trendy.