Fashion duo opens new boutique The Store on Queen this Friday
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.
What styles can we find in The Store? You will find young contemporary brands from L.A, New York, London, Australia, and of course a little T.O. love. Anything from clothing, shoes and accessories that we feel are current or fashion forward and are missing in T.O. We will always have something for the girl who likes to stand out amongst the crowd – and at affordable prices! Our stock is absolutely a direct reflection of our closets! We hand-select and love and want to own every single piece.
How would you describe Toronto fashion—is there anything else like it? We love Toronto fashion! There’s so much personal style in the city – but you really have to hunt around if you don’t want to spend a lot of money and don’t want to look like every other girl wearing Aritzia or Urban Outfitters. TSOQ has is all and no more than six of any piece. Once Angela and I have taken ours, there’s really only four left!
What must-have pieces this season will be available in the store?
Brights, neons, white, cut-outs and anything sheer!
What are you both most excited about with The Store opening? The journey we are taking together – and all of the fabulous people that will become part of our lives!
Who are some of your favourite style inspirations? I love
Anna Dello Russo and Daphne Guinness! If I had that budget, I would dress like that everyday. On my budget, I still manage. Sequins any day of the week, sweats with high heels – I feel you should look your best everyday – and have sex appeal! My fashion is my art. I love getting dressed every day, and standing out amongst the crowd. For Angela, there’s no one specific person. Anything cute, different and sexy inspires her.
What do you plan to wear to the pre-launch party tonight? We plan to wear the exact same outfit! We want to show our friends how two people with different bodies and style can wear the same piece and both look fab!
The Store on Queen officially opens on May 18 at 719 Queen St. W. (between Bathurst and Tecumseth streets).