Tag Archives: locals only

Grayson Miller is the VP at StyleDemocracy and is an aficionado of the retail landscape in Canada. We sat down with Grayson to talk chat about retail, #TorontoStyle, and what he reeeeally thinks about us.


  1. What first sparked your passion for the digital space?

My passion for the digital space arose from my interest in the fashion industry. I wanted to be a part of the industry but did not see an opportunity that interested me until the proliferation of social media. I saw the power of connecting brands to digital audiences and I knew that I wanted to be a part of it.

  1. Who are your ‘must follow’ influences on Instagram?

@Garyvee, @mattymatheson, and@love.watts.

  1. What makes “style” in Toronto unique?

In all honesty, Toronto’s style isn’t that unique right now. Every guy in the city seems to own a bomber jacket and ripped jeans, which is similar to Montreal, Vancouver, New York, and LA. I think the best part of Toronto’s style is the multicultural approach that individuals take to elevate their style. I love seeing cultural influences seep their way into common and everyday outfits.

  1. How would you describe your personal style?

My personal style is an evolution of my past interests. Over the last 29 years of my life, I’ve been influenced by skate style, hip-hop, prep, and sportswear. I think that my look now pays homage to all of those elements as I try to incorporate each into my everyday style.

  1. What tips and tricks can you share when it comes to shopping for Fall?

My advice for fall shopping is to splurge on outerwear and footwear and try to save big on sweaters, shirts, and jeans. There is nothing that pulls a fall outfit together better than a killer jacket and shoes.

  1. If you could invest in 3 pieces for the upcoming season, what would they be? 

  • I would invest in a versatile heavy wool blazer that can be worn as a stand-alone or as a layering piece for colder days.
  • A pair of suede Chelsea boots. The Chelsea boot can be dressed up or down, making it a great fall option.
  • A blue denim jacket. Great for fall, a denim jacket is very versatile and can act as a layering piece. The denim jacket is a must because when styled right, it can make a shirt and tie seem more casual, and make a T-shirt and jeans appear more formal.
  1. Gotstyle – Describe us in 3 words

  • Community
  • Menswear
  • Haven

Kiss the Chef: DaiLo

August 12, 2016

A recipe from DaiLo guaranteed to get you some.

Photos by Ishmil Waterman
Words by Nicole Pimentel

In a time when the food scene is on a high, Toronto Chef Nick Liu opens up about being the “bad-ass big brother” of pan-Asian cuisine and what it takes to standout in the restaurant industry today.

DaiLo, in its literal translation, comes from Cantonese origin, meaning ‘Big Brother’ which is used as a term of endearment to show love and respect to an elder. It is also interpreted to mean “Boss, or Bad Ass”, both of which Lui considers a reflection of both his personality and culinary style.

Nick Liu, owner of DaiLo

At the age of 19 and straight out of culinary school, Liu began work at the sophisticated, long-standing Toronto establishment, Scaramouche where he cut his teeth for nearly a decade. Fast-forward to 2013, upon his return from world travels, Lui would spend the next 3 years would running Niagara Street Café, which would earn him notable acclaim for his ever-changing menus and creative takes on Asian ingredients. From here Liu began to operate on-trend pop up restaurants throughout the city until he found the space where he would occupy his very own brick and mortar restaurant. Enter DaiLo. The hot new College Street restaurant where vintage photos of Liu’s family adorn the raw unfinished walls, hand painted in detailed chinoiserie style murals. Brass plated filigree screens separate the banquets, while rich teals

Enter DaiLo. The hot new College Street restaurant where vintage photos of Liu’s family adorn the raw unfinished walls, hand painted in detailed chinoiserie style murals. Brass plated filigree screens separate the banquets, while rich teals make up the seating arrangements.

Nick Liu, owner of DaiLo cooking

With his roots in Asian fare and his training in French Cuisine, Lui describes his style of cooking as ‘New Asian Cuisine’ – Asian food that has not yet been created. Travelling the world and cooking in Michelin star restaurants throughout Europe, London, Australia and Singapore, Liu developed his unique culinary style from a collection of flavors and experiences around the world. Finding their way onto the creative menu, Asian-inspired and high-quality ingredients like Ponzu Beef Carpaccio, Truffle Fried Rice, Peeking Glazed Duck Breast, Fried Watermelon and of course, the ‘guranteed to get you some’ melt in your mouth Pumpkin Dumplings.

When pressed on if we could expect something from him in the near future, Liu, with a sheepish grin jokingly replied “yes, but I can’t tell you more than that” as he slowly pulled what appeared to be an architectural floor plan off the table, out of sight.

pumpkin dumplings from DaiLo

Pumpkin Dumplings
with brown butter soy, truffles, almond crumble, white rabbit candy glaze

Makes approx. 4 servings

Ingredients needed:
1 pumpkin
1/2 cup brown sugar
2T Veg oil
1/2 ” piece of ginger sliced thin
2 cloves garlic sliced thin
3 sprigs thyme
1T salt
2T rice vinegar
piping bag
1 pkg. wonton skins
1 egg beaten

Cut pumpkin in half and scoop out all the seeds.
Drizzle veg oil on the two halves and sprinkle 3T brown sugar, 1T salt, the sliced garlic, sliced ginger and thyme on the pumpkin as well.
Place on a baking tray and bake at 425 with the skin side down until the flesh is soft and nicely caramelized.
Scoop out flesh and place in a food processor with rice vinegar.
Puree until smooth and season with more salt and brown sugar if necessary.
Put puree in a piping bag and pipe approx.
1T of puree in the middle of 20 wonton skins.
Brush 2 sides of the wonton skins with egg wash and fold over to create a triangle.
Seal edges well.
Brush a small amount of egg wash on one of the corners and connect the two corners sealing them to form a tortellini style dumpling.
Keep dumplings in fridge or freezer until needed.

Current Centre Fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, Kevin Pillar is what you get when you combine pure grit, passion, and an uncompromising determination to chase your dreams -and knock them out of the park.

kevin pillar walking

Originally from West Hills, California, 27-year-old Pillar didn’t have the typical path during his baseball career. In the words of another Toronto style icon, he started from the bottom, now he’s here.

Originally drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 32nd round of the 2011 Major League Baseball Draft, Pillar was called up to the Blue Jays for the first time in his career on August 14th, 2013. After a string of sensational diving grabs where he appears to glide in the air longer than humanly possible, he has earned the highly-touted Superman nickname and persona. Pillar was acknowledged for his skills in 2015, when he was named the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year for Centre Field.

Now in his 4th season with the Blue Jays, Pillar has made a home in Toronto alongside his lovely wife Amanda, whom he married in 2014. We had a chance to catch up with Kevin after our photoshoot (don’t worry fans, this was all during pre-season, we wouldn’t dare interfere with his practice time), to chat about Toronto, baseball, and his off-duty style.

kevin pillar buttoning

So, how you feel about your adopted home of Toronto.
I love the city of Toronto. Every time I come back to the city, my feelings reassure me of that. I love how it has a big city feel but in a very intimate setting. Everything you could want or need is walking distance from the downtown area. I love the fact I can walk to work from my apartment, and join the endless amount of people who enjoy walking to their destinations. I actually enjoy the weather early on in the year since I don’t get to experience much of the weather back home in California. I love how diverse the city is not only with its people, but also its food and culture. I really feel like it’s a home away from home while I am here.

How does Toronto compare to your hometown in California?
The city is much different from where I actually live in California. I live in a suburb of Los Angeles away from the tall buildings and congestion you may see on television. I live in the city of Thousand Oaks, a quiet places away from the city lights. It is my escape from the city life that I get to experience while I am here in Toronto. As far as difference, where I live the weather is much warmer year around so I can really enjoy my off-season. Tell us about your favourite spots around the city. My wife and I really enjoy Gusto 101 and Ki Sushi, on the rare occasion we get to go out for a nice dinner out. Other than that, we love break-fast at What A Bagel. After a win or a night out on the town, we tend to go to Spin, or Citizen… but the Cactus Club is my new favorite.

kevin pillar buttoning 2

Do you feel like the city and the fans have accepted you?
I love this city. People come to me all the time congratulating me on a great season and I appreciate the kind words. They have adopted the name Superman and it’s been really fun to live up to the expectations. Toronto definitely feels like a second home to me. My wife and I were both excited to get back up here and see our new place. I have a great feel for the city now and can’t wait to explore more of it this season.

How do Jays fans measure in comparison to other cities?
Jays fans are incredible. They are passionate, loud and sometimes flat out annoying – which gives us true home field advantage. What we got to experience last year in the second half and in the post-season was unlike anywhere that I have ever experienced on the road. This is my favorite place to play, and would love to play here for a long time.


They call you Superman. Have you fully embraced this persona?
I love the nickname Superman. It has been fun to be embraced by the people of Canada. I consistently try to raise the bar, and live up to the name. Blue Jays hysteria was loud and proud last year. Any predictions for this year? I expect to build off of what we had created last year.
The buzz is still around town and I expect to continue those feelings and emotions.

What is your biggest superstition or good luck ritual, on the field or before the games?
The game of baseball is so much built around ritual, since you play pretty much everyday, that I do not have time for superstition. Rituals are just ways to get yourself going, and making sure that you are properly prepared for every game that you play. Do you have any goals for this season, or for your career in general? Win. It’s that simple. I want to win a World Series, and be known as a winner at the end of my career.

Do you have any goals for this season, or for your career in general?
Win. It’s that simple. I want to win a World Series, and be known as a winner at the end of my career.


That’s a pretty great goal to have. On a more personal note, how would you describe your off the field style? Has it evolved since coming to Toronto?
I care about how I look and what I wear. I dress with confidence. I like fashion and I like dressing nice, whether it’s a suit and tie, or sweat pants; I still want to look good. My style is always evolving with the times. Toronto has a great sense of style, and a lot of the people that I have met here challenge my sense of style, and help me improve on it.

How does your style hold up to the other Jays?
I would say I am known as a very stylish dresser on our team, if not the best I am definitely up there. Stroman dresses very well, and we talk about fashion a lot and how we are constantly improving on our  own personal styles. Russ also has a very good feel  for style and fashion.

What would your wife say about your personal style?
Haha. She thinks I have great style… and too many shoes. But I do ask for her input from time to time.


As any good husband should. Tell us about your experience walking the Gotstyle runway.
I had a great time. It was something I never thought I would do. It was fun to experience someone else’s profession and all the ins and outs of preparing for the 1-minute walk down the runway. It was also fun to meet the other people that were involved, and I definitely look forward to doing it again.

How has your experience been shooting & working with the Gotstyle team?
Truly professional and their sense of fashion always seems to fit my personal style. It is like having your own stylist every time I work with them. I look forward to working together again in the near future.

We noticed a tattoo peeking out during our shoot – is there a story behind it? Is this part of a bigger collection, or collection yet to come?
I have more than just that one tattoo. All my tattoos tell a story. I would never put anything on my body that is not extremely important to me. The tattoo that is often seen on my elbow is a nautical compass, in tribute to my grandpa that passed away a couple years ago. He was a man of the sea, who always owned a boat and took the family out on it. Sometimes it was on trips from Coronado, San Diego, to Mexico; or chartering a boat in the Caribbean. He was a huge supporter of my dreams and someone I could always count on for advice.

Get Your Copy of Gotstyle Man Issue 3 Now

bar raval fix me a drink

Photographer: Ishmil Waterman
Words: Nicole Pimentel

Bar Raval is known to be the hotspot in Toronto, specifically little Italy. The Sangria is to die for and watching the two owners in action is worth every last penny.

Bar Raval drink #1 Drink shot John Varvatos Blazer $498 / Aviator Nation T-shirt $98

Bar Raval is the place to get a cocktail in Toronto. There is a distinct dynamic between Mike Webster and Robin Goodfellow, Co-owners, and Barmen of Toronto’s much hyped, Gaudi-esque Spanish pintxo bar – Bar Raval. If you have ever had the pleasure of catching these two behind the bar together, you realize the two in action is synonymous watching two dancers effortlessly execute their craft. They move in unison, they’re charming, professional and well, just down right fun to watch.

With countless awards and cocktail competitions under their belt, there is no doubt these two can whip up an expertly crafted cocktail on the fly, to suit any palette. We asked them to make us two of their favorites, and they undeniably delivered two unique and distinctly memorable cocktails. Here they show us how to make The Naughty Nurse and Speak of the Devil.

Bar raval outfit

Right: Individual Blazer $250, Pullin T-shirt $55, Zanerobe Sureshot $125,Outclass Trainer $395. Left: John Varvatos Blazer $498 / Aviator Nation T-shirt $98 / Zanerobe Sureshot $110 / Garment Projects Sneakers $290

Speak of the Devil:

– 1.25oz Godderham and Worts whisky
– .9oz Guerra Dry Vermouth
– .25oz China China

Stir over ice in mixing glass until properly chilled, strain into chilled 10oz
Old Fashioned glass with ice. No garnish.

Bar raval drinks

The Naughty Nurse:
– 1oz Lot 40 Rye
– 0.5oz White Port
– 0.5oz Campari
– 0.5oz Cinnamon Grenadine
– 1oz Lemon Juice
– 2 dash Angostura
– 2 dash Peychaud’s

Shaken with ice until bone cold, served over cracked ice in a Collins glass.

Photographed and written by Alexander Whitfield

Just John is a local artist, curator, rapper, writer and all around entrepreneur. Since April 2016, Blank Canvas has become a bubbling gallery for music and art in Toronto. We sat down with him to get to know who he is, what he does and the current artistic state of Toronto.

Who is Just John?

Just john is definitely a peculiar name for an artist in the lane he’s in. I wanted to know the significance of the “Just”, was it a representation of a humble demeanor? “It goes along with my humble demeanor, yes, but the point of it at first was because when I had a dance crew I’d always put myself into the background. Just john was the first embodiment of my identity. I was really embracing myself for who I am and what I believe in. It is who I am as a human being with my story through dance, and now I tell my story through music. The “Just” also represents good, fair and of course “just”.”

It comes from the idea of being true to who you are and John is just who I am as a being. You know my eccentric, groovy, vibey self. And being true to myself and not knowing how to be anyone else but myself.


“And I’m just representing myself with my music, and that’s why I think my music is very free that way. Cause you can’t put me in a box. You know I could be whoever. “


I Love Ugly academy shirt ls w chest pocket $115, Neuw Denim iggy skinny black Jean $190 garment project

What is Blank Canvas to you?

“I want Blank Canvas to be a conduit of the Renaissance happening in Toronto right now. I want it to be a safe place for artists to come together and cultivate no matter what they do, or where they’re from or what level of art they’re at.


John is wearing the Apollo Button Up Shirt by Kollar Clothing $88, Goodstock Beach Short by Globe $85, Legend Leather Sneaker by Garment Project $290, sunglasses by Spitfire $85 and John’s personal Bape tote bag

I’m in a different hustle. I want to be the representative to let other people know it is realistic for you to live off doing what you love. I want to be a reference point for that.”

In the last year alone, Just John has been featured on CP24, Complex Magazine, Toronto Guardian and more. The art gallery has already been perused by some of the big upcoming artists in Toronto.


Black Spitfire sunglasses- $88 I Love Ugly academy shirt ls w chest pocket $115, Neuw Denim iggy skinny black Jean $190 garment project – Classic white leather low top sneakers $257 nixon watch $150

 “I want to be that representative to let other people know it is realistic for you to live off doing what you love.”


Inspiration and purpose are key to the life of Blank Canvas. There have been many times where John has had the door shut on him, but his vision keeps him stable to stay persistent.

“You think of places like Andy Warhol’s factory you know? Spots like that where people come together to cultivate and collaborate, it’s healthy for the city, and it keeps me inspired too. Inspiration and purpose are key to the life of Blank Canvas. It’s about purpose and vision, a lot of people like to have a vision. But there’s no purpose. Once you find why you’re doing what you’re doing your vision will always be clear.


“Inspiration and purpose are key”

Now 23, dressed down in an I love ugly painted shirt accompanied by Nixon and spitfire accessories. “I always loved [brand] I love ugly” I have this one black screen printed shirt I love!“


“My style is pretty minimal, I stay with versatile pieces. I choose my clothing with the mindset in which if I were to close my eyes at 5 am in the morning or in the day, or at night, and put on my clothes would I still feel like myself? Can I still do what I need to do, I can pick up this artwork and put it back down, or run to the beer store. Comfort is first now; it wasn’t really like that [before] for me but definitely now, comfort is first.”


Black Spitfire sunglasses- $88 I Love Ugly academy shirt ls w chest pocket $115, Garment project – Classic white leather low top sneakers $257 nixon watch $150

What the future holds?

Currently, Just John is taking care of his baby, Blank Canvas, overseeing the vibe at Omit Limitation and completing his next music project. This fall you can expect the renaissance boy project (his second musical release), and check out Just John’s anti-establishment charged song “ignorant youth”. “In the future, I want to open up a gallery in New York, further down the road, I want to open up a venue space with an arcade at the front.“


I Love Ugly – Calugi artwork print shirt ss $120