The Canadian fashion scene is thriving with talent, innovation, and originality. More and more brands are taking the industry by storm by prioritizing quality, visuals, and Canadian production. If you’re looking to revamp your wardrobe and find new inspiration, then you must check out these brands and designers. Now more than ever, local businesses need our help and support. Many Canadian businesses have suffered and continue to suffer during this pandemic, so it is important that we do our part to preserve our favourite local businesses. Not only do they offer unique pieces and excellent service, but they also care about the labour behind them by ensuring products are carefully made in Canada. By investing in quality clothing, you’ll have a classic wardrobe piece that will last seasons and you will have also helped the environment in the process. We at Sidedoor are proud to represent and share these local streetwear brands and designers that are currently flourishing in our fashion industry.
1. Get Fresh Company
Get Fresh Company (G.F.C.) is a high-end streetwear brand that is located at 498 Queen Street West in Toronto, as well as Square One. In addition to their own label, they also carry other brands such as Kenzo, Saint Laurent, Kollar and Atelier New Regime. The story behind Get Fresh is truly motivating. The company was founded by Jebril Jalloh in 2013 who started out by selling clothes from the trunk of his car. Now, it has become a successful, growing brand amongst young adults, hip hop artists and streetwear connoisseurs.
Get Fresh cares for its label as they are known to mill and produce their own fabric to create their clothing. In fact, a selection of their plain, long fitted t-shirts was manufactured in Southern Ontario. It is no surprise that the brand continues to encourage and cultivate its community and the community responds by promoting their clothing, making G.F.C. a Toronto staple in streetwear culture. For example, G.F.C.’s YYZ hats became a popular symbol on Instagram posts by loyal fans. Some of G.F.C.’s famous supporters include artists such as Director X, Pressa, Lil Pump, and the Weeknd’s crew. If that wasn’t cool enough, artists like Frank Ocean, LeBron James, Usher, Childish Gambino and more have also visited the downtown store. With a loyal fanbase such as this, we can only expect G.F.C. to evolve and improve with each collection that comes.
2. Atelier New Regime
Atelier New Regime (ANR) is a Montreal brand by co-founder and creative director Koku Awuye in 2009. What began as a passion project transformed into a renowned streetwear label. This brand’s vision is focused on the future, being consistently creative, and continuously modern. That is how they have made their mark thus far through their streetwear collections for the modern man.
The overall brand is recognized for its vibrant use of colours, patterns and unique aesthetic. In particular, their eye-catching use of the colour orange has defined their brand based on the design of its flagship stores. ANR’s clothing was inspired by everyday life experiences. It was inspired by the founder’s life and other people’s as well. It’s about using one’s reality to create something new and refreshing. Atelier New Regime became more than just a clothing brand. It has become a pedestal for its creative and cultural urban community. It has become a company that influences and emboldens its people.
In October 2020, the brand dropped their FW20 collection which Koku described as his personal experiences searching for freedom and peace. This collection showcases the brand’s journey and all its trials and tribulations. This collection was the first to be fully produced in Portugal which is a huge accomplishment for the brand, hence, the title of this release, “The Birth of a New Regime”. This was the defining moment for Atelier New Regime and the beginnings of a fashion takeover.
4YE (4Yall Entertainment) is a popular media brand by the notorious Brampton brothers, Trey and Jae Richards. If you’re from Toronto, then it is a guaranteed fact that you know about these comedic YouTubers and their hilariously relatable content. If you don’t know them, then let me tell you about them now.
They first launched their YouTube channel in 2011, and since then, they have rose to fame, with more than a million YouTube subscribers across their channels. In Spring 2018, 4YE came out with the first release of their durags, paying tribute to their identity and culture. This immediately became a trendy release that fans raved about for its color and quality. Later in 2018, the duo partnered with Summer Ruddock-Ellis and Kevin Dang to expand and explore the 4YE empire. As a result, they made a new team and came out with numerous creative projects concentrating on clothing and the community.
In November 2020, 4YE dropped its Winter 2020 collection which featured a line of sweat fleeces and beanies. This drop included an impressive range of sizes, from small to medium, medium-large, and X-large to 2X-large. This reimagined size chart included a variety of body types, making it one of the most different and inclusive releases to date. According to Trey Richards, it’s about being true to your values and providing people with that extra dose of comfort. 4YE have always prided themselves on their brand’s diversity and inclusivity.
4. The Legends League
The Legends League is a Toronto-born brand, founded by Bryan Espiritu. Bryan’s story is one of pain turned into passion. He came from a troubled home where he witnessed domestic violence and suicide. To cope with this, he used art as an escape and created drawings and writings about his experiences. In 2004, Bryan was under house arrest leaving him heated, frustrated, and filled with untapped potential. To release this inner agitation, he turned to MySpace as an outlet and started posting his past stories and illustrations. In response, he gained a large following where fans were eager to see his graphic artwork on t-shirts they could buy. Thus, in 2007, The Legends League was formed.
Bryan illustrated three famous heroes Rick James, J Dilla, and James Brown, and then, cleverly used Photoshop to input his design on a t-shirt. Once posted on his MySpace profile, he quickly sold forty tees overnight. This was where it started with this first sale. He instantly realized two things: he had a devoted community, and he could live out his dream. All Bryan wanted to do in life was write and make clothes and now he was living it. He went from selling t-shirts and hats to selling high-end streetwear, solely manufactured in Canada.
From humble beginnings to a distinguished label, the League of Legends holds an epic history to its brand. The Legends League has transformed into a wardrobe favorite, receiving praise from countless of fans, big brands, and notable artists like Drake and Majid Jordan. This brick-and-mortar store will continue to develop in strategy and success. Despite being a professional business, Bryan is dedicated to keeping the same integrity and positive attitude that led this brand to its success in the first place.
5. Carson Cartier
Carson Cartier is a multidisciplinary artist based in Vancouver Canada. According to his website, his work “aims to unify painting, photography, digital art, and fashion as one vision, voice and ethos.” Carson’s work embraces an original and futuristic mentality that expresses one’s inner and outer self. It fuses “visual arts, music, subcultures, and humankind as a whole.”
Indeed, Carson’s work is minimalistic, but the ideology behind it is complex and abstract. His unisex clothing line reflects this minimalist and coherent design, from its hand painted t-shirts, oversized dresses to industrial inspired denim jackets. He draws inspiration from science fiction, music, technology, futurism, visual arts, and subcultures.
“I am mostly influenced by artists outside my disciplines – Techno musician Phase Fatale and his label BITE, as well as Berlin techno label R-LABEL and their roster of musicians. The science fiction films of Denis Villeneuve. The Futurism art movement” says the artist. Carson focuses on being continuously creative and concentrates on finding new ideas and maintaining his flow.
6. Malice Studios
Malice Studios is a clothing brand helmed by Montreal designers and Toronto rap artist 88 Camino of 88GLAM. Adamo Zinno is one of the co-founders of the brand and he says, Malice Studios is inspired by Japanese director Shinichirō Watanabe’s, Cowboy Bebop, hence its emphasis on space cowboys and cowgirls. In July 2020, Malice dropped their online collection, Knocking On Heaven’s Door, a line that was completely produced in downtown Montreal. This collection exhibited themes of death and religion amongst its garments such as their ‘Jesus Christ Loves Me’ tee shirts.
Given the brand’s authentic designs and huge following, we are sure to expect more unique collections to release soon.
7. Raised by Wolves
Raised by Wolves (RBW) is a Montreal-based brand founded by Pete Williams in July 2008. They specialize in domestically made clothing for all streetwear enthusiasts. This includes unisex graphic tees, cozy sweatshirts, Reebok sneakers, and accessories. For those who enjoy outdoor inspired clothing, this is the brand for you.
RBW quickly became recognized for its high-quality Canadian material, breathtaking visuals of Canada’s landscape, and its community support. After earning everyone’s attention, RBW received opportunities to collaborate with various local and international brands, artists, photographers, restaurants and more. Recently, brands like Timberland, Reebook and Timex were the latest to team with the company. Now, RBW has collaborated with eyewear brand AKILA, a Support Local program, and have published a digital cookbook as a fundraiser for the Ottawa Food Bank.
With over 10 years of quality product and superb marketing, RBW has solidified its brand as one of the most prominent retailers around the world. It has cemented its business in over 20 countries thus far and has succeeded its mission to put Canadian streetwear on the global map.
Haven is a Canadian men’s apparel brand located in Toronto and Vancouver that was established in 2006. The brand initiated in Edmonton, Alberta, where a small team formed to build HAVEN, a company committed to producing premium quality and contemporary design. Over the years, the brand has proved their principles, exceeding their collections every season. They have remarkably defined the HAVEN brand and its culture. Based on its assurance for premium garment, HAVEN is known for their clothing to withstand Canada’s four seasons.
“We develop our products using the finest materials combining utilitarian design with modern developments in fabrics, technologies, and manufacturing. We work with skilled craftsmen and manufacturing facilities in Canada and Japan to produce our garments” says the brand.
HAVEN has become one of the greatest streetwear brands in the industry. Not only do they sell their own label, but they also sell approximately fifty other brands such as Nike, Adidas, Sacai, Needles and more. In 2020, they launched their Fall/Winter collection which featured griffon parkas, pilot jackets, aviator pants and other high-end garments for the cold season. Their meticulously engineered collections never fail to impress their customers.
Although some of these brands are on the pricier side, one must remind themselves that high-quality clothing is an investment. By purchasing a well-made item, you are saving money from repeatedly buying clothing that will essentially wear out over a few uses. It’s all about quality over quantity, having a beloved piece that you will appreciate throughout time. This is the start to building a capsules wardrobe filled with your favorite pieces. Believe me, adding classic high-end staples to your closet will change your style and save you money in the long run. Let’s not forget that by spending less on fast fashion, you will have also contributed to saving the environment. Fast fashion is the second largest polluter in the world and that is why many more people are trying to reduce their ecological footprint in any way they can. Every little change we do helps, whether it is recycling more, shopping less or buying local. Each environmentally conscious decision means a step in the right direction. With this in mind, by supporting amazing brands and designers such as these, you are helping your closet, local businesses, and the overall environment.