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The Goods

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The Find: a glam take on a practical fall tote

OPELLEOpelle is a brand of beautifully handcrafted leather purses and totes by Toronto native Amy Malcolm. After five years of peddling her work online, the designer has opened a sleek white showroom at College and Lansdowne, filled with a great selection of chic carryalls, delicate chained clutches and practical weekend bags. Of all the options for fall, we’re particularly enchanted by this silvery shopper, which is handmade in Toronto from an Italian pebbled cowhide. Featuring an of-the-moment metallic sheen and a cotton-lined interior large enough to haul around a laptop and a few notebooks, the bag will elevate any back-to-school look (it would look especially stylish with a pair of overalls and white kicks). Plus, there are three zippered pockets inside, which should keep the tote from turning into a black hole for keys and lip balms. $324

1234 College St. W., opellecreative.com

The Goods

Shopping

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Muji’s Toronto location is confirmed
(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

Japanese retailer Muji has decided on the location for its first Canadian store, according to Retail Insider—and no, it’s not Yorkdale. True to form, the unbranded lifestyle shop is avoiding setting up shop in a super-high-rent area, instead choosing the Atrium at Dundas and Bay (which also houses a Red Lobster, an LCBO and dozens of other shops and restaurants). It’s a smart choice: a stone’s throw from the Eaton Centre, it’ll be a chic, affordable alternative for shoppers used to picking up home accessories at nearby Williams-Sonoma or Indigo.

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Shopping

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Pop-Up Pick: score conceptual shoes and chic sportswear at Y-3’s temporary Holt Renfrew shop

pop-up-pick-y3

Following chic Parisian label Maison Kitsuné’s summer pop-up, Holt Renfrew’s Yorkdale location has landed another international import for fall: Y-3, iconic Japanese designer Yohji Yamamoto’s clothing line for Adidas (the “Y” stands for Yohji and the “3” represents Adidas’s classic three-stripe logo), which will be holding court inside the department store until the end of September. Known for its conceptual footwear (the brand has collaborated with designers like Rick Owens and Raf Simons for some seriously out-there kicks), the label’s Toronto pop-up is showcasing a variety of popular styles, including the sleek Qasa high-top and the colourful Riyal sneaker. It’s also selling some pieces of stylish sportswear, like hybrid hoodies and comfy track pants, plus a few hats and travel bags. Shoppers should prepare to see more than a few edgy takes on Adidas’s signature three stripes—our favourite is this bold graphic top.

Until Sep. 30. Holt Renfrew Yorkdale, 3401 Dufferin St., y-3.com

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Q&A: Nateka Pitter, the Muslim designer who’s making “modest fashion” happen

(Image: Claire Foster)

(Image: Claire Foster)

Toronto’s first International Muslim Fashion and Design Festival, a two-day event dedicated to empowering Muslim women through “modest fashion,” is happening this weekend. Its founder is Nateka Pitter, a 26-year-old convert to Islam who designs a local clothing label called Victorious Me. (“Fashionable expression without exposure” is its slogan.) We spoke with Pitter about the upcoming event, how she came around to the hijab, and what “modest fashion” really means, anyway.

How did you end up converting to Islam?
For years I was a Christian and after that I was an atheist. I knew there was a higher being, but I didn’t believe in anything. A lot of my friends were Muslim, and I would debate religion with them. When I really sat down and took a look at Islam, I realized it made a lot of sense to me. I was a club-goer and I loved going out, but the more I got into Islam the more I started stepping away from that.

And how did you get into fashion?
I was always interested in fashion, but when I became Muslim, I found that there wasn’t really anything available for that community. That was one of my struggles: I was into Western fashion, like many other Muslim girls who were born in North America, but found that we weren’t being catered to. There was nothing for us.

Did you have any preconceived notions about what fashion in the Muslim world was like? How did you feel about the hijab?
The hijab was a struggle, because it wasn’t something I was born with. I still struggle with it, especially when I go out to places and people point at me or tell me to take it off. Of course it’s more appealing to have your hair out, but at the same time, you’re doing it for your faith. It’s a struggle I think a lot of Muslim women have.

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The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: 13 pairs of sweatpants you’ll be proud to sport in public

The Find: stylish sweatpants you'll be proud to sport in public (and maybe even to work)

When summer draws to a close, it can be tough to transition from comfortable cottage wear to high-powered city attire. Luckily, fall’s sweatpants are much more stylish than the baggy Roots joggers in your closet. They’re also versatile, so choosing comfort doesn’t have to mean staying cooped up at home; instead, wear a tapered grey pant to lunch with tough booties, or pair one of the fancier styles (we’re looking at you, Balmain lounge pants) with pumps and a button-down for a work-appropriate look. Here, 13 of our favourite fashionable sweatpants, including affordable chambray cargos and perfectly patterned Philip Lim bottoms.

See all 13 pairs »

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Street Style

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Street Style: locavores hit up the Annex farmers’ market for in-season corn and blueberries

Street Style: Torontonians hit their local farmer's markets for a mid-week veggie haul

(Images: Jenna Marie Wakani)

Sure, Toronto boasts large-scale farmers’ markets like the St. Lawrence Market or Evergreen Brick Works. But come summer, smaller versions start popping up on neighbourhood street corners and in church parking lots, peddling perfectly in-season corn, crisp lettuce and fresh cheeses from local vendors. We stopped by the thriving Borden Street bazaar in the Annex to chat with market-goers about the natural high you get from smelling fresh fruits and veggies and the romance of it all (thanks, Joe Cressy).

See all 13 shots »

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Shenae Grimes and her husband launched a clothing line that’ll be available in Toronto next week

(Image: Two Halves/Facebook)

(Image: Two Halves/Facebook)

Toronto-born actress Shenae Grimes-Beech, former teen queen of dramas like Degrassi and 90210, has launched a clothing line with her husband of one year, musician and model Josh Beech. Dubbed Two Halves, the collection makes its Canadian debut next week (that is, Thursday, August 28) at Ossington boutique Jonathan and Olivia. The casual west-coast wear is designed to reflect both Shenae’s bohemian style and Josh’s punk rock roots. (The most literal interpretation of the boho-slash-rocker partnership: a line of graphic tees depicting a skull wearing a native headdress). The brand’s warrior-themed jewellery—think arrow pendants and snake-charmer ear cuffs—will also be available. Unlike some celebrity-backed collections, shoppers won’t have to break the bank to nab the look: all pieces clock in at less than $100.

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The seven best looks presented at Toronto Men’s Fashion Week

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week launched last Tuesday with a flurry of media buzz (thanks in part to reports that one designer’s collection had been banned for being “too femme” and then reinstated at the last minute.) Of the runway shows, which ranged in style from bold and colourful to preppy and put-together, our favourite looks combined crisp tailoring with a touch of the unexpected, like the floral moto jackets at Sons of Odin and asymmetrical graphics at Noel Crisostomo.

See all 7 looks »

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Stores

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Muji’s first Toronto store is slated to open by Christmas
(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

(Image: Ralf Smallkaa/Flickr)

The Japanese retailer will open shop near Toronto Eaton Centre by mid-December, reports the Globe. The minimalist lifestyle brand, which keeps prices affordable by spending nothing on advertising, will peddle over 3,000 well-designed products, including comfortable pyjamas, sleek two-seater sofas and efficient storage units. With the heavily branded nature of Toronto’s shopping scene, Muji is set to be a refreshingly simple new destination for living essentials.

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Goodfolk, a charming vintage shop in South Riverdale packed with one-of-a-kind finds

Click to  view gallery (Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani)

Click to view gallery (Photography by Jenna Marie Wakani)

Name: Goodfolk
Sells: Vintage furniture, knick-knacks and handmade crafts
Contact Info: 253 Broadview Ave, 416-465-0002, goodfolk.ca
Hours: W-F 11-7, Sa 11-5

Goodfolk, a new shop in South Riverdale, sells an expertly curated selection of handmade crafts and vintage curios. Owners Emilie and Matt bought the building over a year ago. Since then, they’ve completely renovated the space and packed it with the type of furniture and knick-knacks they’d use to decorate their own apartment. “We love folksy stuff, colour and anything that’s like, whoa, I’ve never seen that before,” says Emilie.

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The Goods

Designers

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Preview: browse the entire lookbook for Target’s new collaboration with Joseph Altuzarra

Joseph Altuzarra is the latest high-profile designer to create a covetable, affordable collection for Target. (He follows in the footsteps of Philip Lim and Peter Pilotto.) The new collaboration plays up Altuzarra’s signature sultry look with long slinky dresses, a faux-fur cropped jacket and over-the-knee boots. Prices range from $30 for a thick croc-embossed belt to $90 for a black jacquard trench. Our favourite item? A chic ankle strap stiletto for $40. The collection hits stores on September 14, but those who’d rather avoid the fray can shop select pieces at Net-A-Porter.

See all 19 looks »

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Stores

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Grassroots shuts the doors to its Annex location

GROOTSGrassroots, a go-to Annex destination for sustainable lifestyle products, is closing. Apparently, with the recent sale of its building came a rent increase that was out of reach for the local shop. Though this is sad news for the Bloor Street community, fans of the chain can still trek to the Riverdale location for organic clothing and bedding, natural shampoos, non-toxic cleaning products and baby toys. And, until the store’s last day on August 24, shoppers can get great deals on environmentally friendly stuff: the whole place is on sale with discounts of up to 75 per cent.

The Goods

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Jimmy Choo opens in Yorkdale with a limited edition TTC clutch

(Image: Yorkdale)

(Image: Yorkdale)

London-based luxury footwear label Jimmy Choo, well-known creator of glamorous stilettos, has opened its first Canadian flagship in Yorkdale. To celebrate the launch of the new store, the designer brand created a special edition of its Candy clutch. Instead of an acrylic sunset, the handbag is decorated with a near-replica of the Toronto subway map, only the station names have been replaced with a haphazard mix of fashion accessories, gems and wild animals. (For example, the Bloor line lists “Eagle,” “Candy,” “Youth,” “Diamond” and “Biker” as a few of its stops.) Flaunting your affinity for the TTC by way of designer labels doesn’t come cheap: the clutch clocks in at $1,095. Last we checked, there were about eight left of the original 20 produced—which means 12 die-hard Torontonians with deep pockets have already purchased the thing.

The Goods

Stores

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Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn are saying goodbye to Bloor Street

(Image: Bricoleurbanism/Flickr)

(Image: Bricoleurbanism/Flickr)

Two mainstays at 100 Bloor West, Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn, will vacate their prime Mink Mile real estate early next year. A massive rent increase is forcing the two shops to move out after 12 years on the block, according to Retail Insider. There’s no news yet on who will take over the 37,000 square feet of available space. Given that the rent was too steep for a multi-billion-dollar retailer, it’ll have to be someone with very deep pockets. If we had to hazard a guess, we’d bet on another international luxury brand, like recent neighbours Mulberry and Agent Provocateur.

The Goods

Shopping

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The Find: 12 ways to wear bold, colourful African-inspired prints

Toronto’s African Fashion Week returns this weekend with runway shows from over 13 African designers. Though styles differ from country to country, there is a common thread in African fashion: bold, colourful patterns, often splashed across dresses, shoulder bags and headbands. For those hoping to bag the look, we found 12 funky pieces incorporating fabrics and patterns from Ghana, Morocco and Nigeria. There’s a clutch crafted from hand-woven Kente cloth, a designer dress made from Burkina Faso–sourced fabric and an outfit designed by the Brooklyn-based Etsy designer who recently dressed Beyonce.

See all 12 pieces »

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