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Canadian brand Zvelle's showroom in Toronto's Yorkville. The brand specializes in footwear and handbags handcrafted in Florence.Supplied

At the north end of Toronto’s Yorkville, away from the hustle and bustle of Bloor Street West, you’ll find Zvelle’s Toronto showroom. It’s off the beaten path, which is exactly how founder, CEO and creative director Elle AyoubZadeh, likes it. “I don’t see us as your typical fashion or shoe brand,” she says.

Founded in 2015, Zvelle is a Canadian brand that specializes in footwear and handbags handcrafted at small-to-medium family-owned factories in Florence, Italy, with two full-time staff in Italy who oversee production alongside AyoubZadeh. All of its materials are sourced directly from suppliers. “We take craftsmanship very seriously,” she says. The brand’s signature styles favour elegance over trendiness, like the V moccasin introduced earlier this year. It was named for Austrian psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl, whose 1946 book, Man’s Search for Meaning, has inspired AyoubZadeh.

Entering retail during a pandemic isn’t exactly an ideal circumstance, but AyoubZadeh found the silver lining when she opened her doors in August. “I saw it as a challenge for us to make it even more personal,” she says of her desire to reinvigorate the typical shoe-shopping experience. AyoubZadeh filled her space, which includes her working design studio, with an eclectic selection of local and vintage finds including an authentic Winnipeg chair, a curation of coffee table books and custom shelving displays made of Ontario wood. “Right now, people are not socializing as much, but I really see the space as a place where people can come, hang out, have a tea, coffee, glass of wine and just enjoy,” she says.

Zvelle, 131 Davenport Rd., Toronto, 1-866-557-7105,

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Zvelle Ray Tote in Nocciola, $655.

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Zvelle V in Fuxia, $235.

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Zvelle Classica Boot in Nero and Cipria, $495.

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