8 cool Canadian fashion brands you need to know
With our roundup of the best local clothing and accessory brands, wearing Canadian head-to-toe has never looked better.
KOTN’s unisex tees are as soft as a Scottish Fold kitty. They’re also made from breathable, pill-resistant cotton, and the company is committed to supporting family-run farms in the Nile Delta—the only place in the world where true Egyptian cotton is grown. Founders Rami Helali, Benjamin Sehl and Mackenzie Yeates recently opened their first store on Toronto’s Queen Street West. You’ll find other minimalist staples, like men’s joggers and hoodies (that you’ll want to steal from your BF), and new T-shirt colours, like millennial pink and forest green.
When Toronto-based Elle AyoubZadeh founded her shoe line, Zvelle, in 2015, her sturdy-heeled pumps became a hit with the nine-to-five set. Now, the designer has shaken things up and created leather slides with subtle heart-shaped cut-outs, satin mules and bold, charm-embellished stilettos. The brand, which produces its pairs in a small factory in Brazil, just opened a pop-up boutique at Yorkdale Shopping Centre—all the more reason to update your shoe wardrobe.
Calgary-born designer Molly Spittal taught herself how to work with leather after graduating from fashion school in Vancouver. Three years ago she founded The Stowe and has been crafting stripped-down bags that swap frills for bold silhouettes out of Montreal’s up-and-coming Mile-Ex ’hood ever since. The latest collection features boxy totes and circle bags in of-the-moment hues like coral and cerulean. Lovers of minimalist accessories, this brand is for you.
Designer Anastassia Selezneva was born in Russia, but it’s the rugged natural beauty of the Prairies, her adopted home, that inspires her couture-level creations in her line, Anastassia Sel. One standout is the Valor necklace—an oversized choker made from shiny twisted cord and finished with sculpted gold-plated-brass details.
Last fall, Vancouver-based Sandra Zovko launched Mila Zovko, a line of retro-geometric sweaters inspired by ones knit by her late mother. But what’s a knitwear designer to do come summer? Diversify. Zovko has expanded her range to include a colour-blocked dress and tank tops woven in a pattern evoking the texture of raspberries. She also shot her lookbook on the cliffs bordering the Adriatic Sea in Croatia—a fine way to show the warm-weather possibilities of knits.
When Vancouver duo Renée Power and Joni Pangsaeng started their shoe label, Bronze Age, in 2014, their mission was to give the traditional Moroccan babouche slippers a modern spin. Their takes on the style include a metallic silver pair, a shimmery pink and a fuzzy option made from buffalo hide.
Ethically made swimwear brand Beth Richards is carried at top boutiques around the world—and with good reason. The separates and one-pieces are minimal, functional and empowering and are inspired by the worlds of art and architecture.
Fortnight’s delicate pieces are crafted in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood using fine Italian fabrics. The brand’s staples are high-cut bottoms, vintage-inspired slips and as of this year, swimwear.