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, ca.zvelle.com.
Zvelle Ray Tote in Nocciola, $655.
Zvelle V in Fuxia, $235.
Zvelle Classica Boot in Nero and Cipria, $495.
Toronto’s Kotn has expanded into knitwear with its first collection of sweaters. The B Corp certified clothing brand has created four styles for women, two for men and one unisex style. Instead of wool, Kotn used a textural cotton knit from fibre grown in Turkey for its sweaters. The brand also recently partnered with Matachica Resort and Gaia Riverlodge in Belize on the World Can, a charitable campaign and set of T-shirts raising funds to support the hotels' local staff and communities affected by COVID-19. Each of the three unisex T-shirts features an original illustration by Cecile Gariepy and are available for purchase online through matachica.com.
Métis visual artist Christi Belcourt has teamed up with Quebec designer Katrin Leblond on a clothing and accessories collaboration. Meant to bring attention to the natural world, Belcourt’s bee print is used on leggings, tops, dresses and accessories. Each item is made in Montreal of locally sourced material and is available in an inclusive range of sizes. A portion of sales of the Christi Belcourt x Katrin Leblond collection will be donated to Nimkii Aazhibikong, a year-round, land-based Anishinaabeg language and traditional arts camp. For more information, visit katrinleblond.com.
In keeping with work-from-home fashion trends, two brands have recently launched new sweatsuit collections. HNDSM has introduced the Cosy Capsule, a collection of sweatsuits for men and women. Taking design cues from 1990s style, the heavyweight sweats are made in Canada. And Toronto-based brand Lost In has dropped its Earth Collection, a line of comfortable, hoodies, T-shirts, sweats and streetwear in a fall palette of earthy tones.
Throughout the month of November, Arc’teryx is increasing its incentive to participate in its Used Gear trade-in program. Customers who trade in used Arc’teryx goods in store will be rewarded with a gift card valued at 30 per cent of the item’s original value, a 10 per cent increase from the regular trade-in perk. Plus, on Dec. 1, or Giving Tuesday, Arc’teryx will donate $10 for every item traded in during November to Protect Our Winters, a climate-focused non-profit. And Nobis has launched No Cold Shoulder, a virtual coat drive also running throughout November. There are several ways to participate, including collecting a resealable, biodegradable donation mailer bag with prepaid postage to donate a gently worn coat to a local charity. For more information, visit nocoldshouldler.com.
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