What started out as a T-shirt available exclusively online has quickly grown into a global community. When Toronto-based trio Mackenzie Yeates, Rami Helali and Benjamin Sehl launched Kotn in 2015, they partnered with Egyptian cotton farmers in the Nile River Delta on the fabric and production of their line of basics for men and women. They’ve since expanded their apparel-based mission to include education and have built schools for the children of the farmers they work with.
At home, the first Kotn store opened on Toronto’s Queen Street West in 2017 and fosters a strong connection to the neighbourhood, hosting community events such as a monthly Girls’ Night In book club. When it came time to grow their retail footprint, the founders considered locations in Vancouver and Montreal before an opportunity presented itself in Manhattan.
Located in a flatiron building in the heart of bustling SoHo, Kotn’s first international location takes a different approach to telling their brand’s story. “The Toronto store was designed to feel like a home that would fit in around here, whereas the New York store had much more of the Egyptian influence and a much grander façade,” Sehl says. To distinguish themselves in the popular shopping neighbourhood they incorporated into the 1,000-square-foot space elements such as vintage pieces sourced from international markets, laser-cut metal hieroglyphics custom made at a studio in Toronto and change-room doors imported from Egypt. Yeates says it is the botanical accents that make the space feel complete. “As soon as we brought the plants in, that brought it to life.”
Kotn, 112 Mercer St., New York, 212-555-1234, kotn.com.
Style news for the weekend of Sept. 29
Following a stop in New York, the Hermès Carré Club is opening its doors in Toronto. French for square, which is the shape of the brand’s silk scarves, these chic swatches of silk will have their own pop-up home at 151 Bloor St. W. from Sept. 28 to 30. The event will celebrate the carré’s iconic status through three installations: The Carré Click and Check, where visitors receive a membership card and a photo, the Carré Studio, an on-site atelier featuring artists Henri d’Origny, Kongo, Cyrille Diatkine and Gianpaolo Pagni, and the Carré Café, a salon-style café complete with literary readings and live music. Collectors take note: The ephemeral space will also offer limited-edition bandanas for sale.
Giants of Africa is a not-for-profit founded by Toronto Raptors president Masai Ujiri that uses basketball as a way to enrich the lives of African youth. As it celebrates its 15th anniversary, it’s partnered with Canadian menswear retailer Harry Rosen on four limited edition T-shirts. The exclusive shirt designs feature basketball images from the Giants of Africa archives shot by photographers Kevin Couliau, Adrian Armstrong and Roberto Caruso. Available in-store and online at harryrosen.com, the T-shirts retail for $120 each with all proceeds donated to Giants of Africa and its ongoing mission to help children dream big.
On Sept. 27, global fashion retailer H&M launches its fall/winter 2018 H&M Conscious Exclusive collection. Inspired by ancient tapestry, its latest sustainable fabric innovation sees cashmere and velvet made from recycled polyester. The womenswear collection of clothing, lingerie, shoes and accessories is in a modern colour palette of black, off-white, dusty rose, mustard yellow, pale blue and light grey. With key pieces that include a full-length black coat made from a recycled wool blend and a sequined flower jacket made from recycled PET bottles, Conscious Exclusive is available online at hm.com.
Canadian parka maker Quartz Co. has launched its Edition collection, a line of five new parka styles. Available in various cuts, colours and patterns, such as red, military green, navy, black, light grey and camo, the designs offer a reinterpretation of the classic parka, one that Jean-Philippe Robert, president of Quartz Co., says was inspired by the next generation. “In an era where the boundaries between classic and street fashion intersect and allow people to play with their style, we have developed winter coats that permit freedom of expression and a latitude for everyone to showcase their unique personalities,” he says.
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