by Ava Baccari
Valentina and Angela Phung, owners of The Store On Queen.
The best way to put up with a missing fashion niche in the city – a fierce, OTT sartorial eclecticism – is to fill it yourself. And that’s just what designer Angela Phung and buyer Valentina (a one-name wonder like Cher or Madonna) are doing with the launch their joint fashion venture, The Store On Queen, which officially opens its doors this Friday, May 18.
The playful duo were introduced by a cousin of Valentina’s but moved in similar fashion circles, so their first meeting was inevitable. After discovering their shared interest in opening a Queen West shop over lunch at The County General on Queen Street in February, they entered into a committed fashion merchant “marriage” – “Yes, we even have rings!” says Valentina – after they spotted a for sale sign in a storefront and immediately decided to make it their new home.
The girls were still painting and prepping the boutique the day before their exclusive pre-launch party Thursday night. I caught up with Valentina, who took me through her and Angela’s fashion history and what they hope to bring to Toronto’s trendy Queen West strip.
How did you get your start in fashion?
Angela studied fashion design at Fanshawe College in London, Ont., for three years. At 18-years-old, she was ranked among Canada’s best up-and-comers and was chosen as one of eight Canadian young designers to compete in the International Young Fashion Designers Competition in Paris. In 2006, Angela was chosen to showcase at Toronto Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2007. After graduating, she decided to postpone her career to join the family restaurant business. She decided to take a year off and moved to Toronto in October 2011.
I worked for a leading Canadian retailer, both as in-store management and interned as a buyer at their head office. I left after nine years and opened a unisex boutique in Canada, which I sold to travel after three years. I also have an online shop, shopsundayvalentine.com, which I started when I moved here, and will switch over to TSOQ. Also, I have been obsessed with fashion and being different since I was probably five years old.
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