Mar 17, 2011

I Made This For You

It’s been a while since my last post and I apologize to all our readers for the dry spell. I’ve been terribly busy, managing some major changes in my life that will result in far more furniture store reviews and home renovations how-tos. All of these great things are coming later in spring, but for now I’d like to introduce you to another fascinating Toronto-based designer, Sara Duke.

Let me tell you up front: the next time I am looking for a perfect full mini, I’ll go see Sara at her Bloor St. West store. I am certain that in future, there will be many styles to choose from and I will have a hard time choosing just one. I could hardly resist buying a few things the day I interviewed Sara! Her t-shirts and sweatshirts are still on my mind three weeks later.

The space at 1244 Bloor Street West is perfect for a store – it is cozy yet full of light, with beautiful décor full of details. The displays are almost as appealing as the items themselves; it’s too bad that the butchers’ hook is not for sale! It’s amazing what can be done with a few vintage household items and a stand-alone red door!

I arrived a little earlier than scheduled and was greeted by Sara, smilingly, who wore a light-as-air cropped tee. She explained that cropped Ts are her current obsession and that the style is available for sale in several colors. I regret that I did not ask if the pants she was wearing were also for sale – they were near perfect in a not-off-the-rack, tailored way. I was very impressed by the look a simple pair of pants and a tee can give you when properly paired and worn with the effortless style only a true artist can achieve!

Both of Sara’s labels, Sara Duke and If You See Cake, don’t have seasonal collections or a regular release schedule. She makes her pieces when she feels the urge to create, and when the craving for something new is so strong it itches. Her designs are strongly influenced by market and customer feedback and something new is available almost every week, which is my excuse (or ultimate downfall) to check out the store on my way home as often as I want to. The fabrics are sourced locally and the If You See Cake line also incorporates some vintage materials.

The jewelry selection is limited in comparison to clothing, but every piece makes a colossal fashion statement. I love the massive cord necklaces and knitted bows collection. The later would make a great thank you gift that would be loved for years to come. The soft, hand-made bows are delicate and feminine, emanating love and care. They are also highly accessible, affordable for almost any budget, as is everything else in the store. I can’t recall anything over a $100 price point and most of the aforementioned skirts were under $60. When was the last time you bought a $60 item that you truly loved? Maybe it’s just me, but I tend to like things that are borderline unaffordable.

So, the next time you need a gift or something new and fresh to wear, head to Sara’s store and you will almost certainly find something very special. As a bonus you will be supporting a local designer who makes Toronto fashion scene a little more interesting every day. You’ll leave her store with a smile on your face and beautiful new clothes.


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