392 Eglinton Ave. W., 416-544-0707, patrickassaraf.com
In a nutshell
The label embodies the concept that luxury men's dressing needs not be exorbitant and casual needs not be sloppy.
I don't want men to have to ask women for advice on whether they should buy a piece of clothing or if two items match. It's demeaning. I am trying to help them. I fell in love with the clothing business while in Paris, and then started designing "the perfect T-shirt" in my basement; it became a conglomerate. I was originally an importer for the Canadian market. Two years later, I started to play around with a collection, which led to the opening of my store.
I started five years ago with the T-shirt because I would see guys struggling to find one that had the right material, neckline and fit. I came across the perfect material from Peru – 95-per-cent pima cotton and 5-per-cent Lycra – and it became a big success overnight. My background has a lot of knitwear, so my collection does too. Everything is very soft and works with each other. I cater to the North American lifestyle with comfort and neutral colours that are easily matched.
The store, just like the label, is driven by the three philosophies: simplicity, minimalism and ease. I don't get embellishment. The market was showing a lot of that in the last few years, but my products are minimalistic and simple, with beautiful yarns.
The Patrick Assaraf signature T-shirts are wardrobe essentials. From my fall/winter collection, I recommend pairing it with a cashmere, high three-button blazer and a black, air cashmere crewneck sweater. The look is both understated and sophisticated at the same time. ($65)
This interview has been edited and condensed