Text by Justine Woolcott.
Photos by Kalynn Friesen.
Janet Han is renowned in the Canadian fashion industry for her unique personal style. In 2009, Han opened Fashionably Yours (FY), a high-end consignment store in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. In the last month, FY launched an international online store and was also recently voted the number one consignment shop in Toronto by BlogTO readers. In an exclusive interview with FAJO Magazine, Han tells all about her take on fashion, what’s in her closet and working with celebrities.
Why did you decide to get into the fashion industry?
I used to work as a business consultant, get dressed and spend all my money on shopping. I always thought, “One day I’ll get into [the] fashion [industry].” Then I ended up taking a severance package and having a year off with pay, when I was really young, and I shopped, travelled and hung out. Around this time, Shawn Desman was debuting his first album after a friend of mine signed him, and he needed a stylist. I worked with him right from the beginning stages. The record label hired me for 15 music videos within my first couple of years as a stylist.
I have a marketing background, but I truly believe fashion is an innate thing. To an extent, certain attributes about fashion can be taught [but] fashion is instinctual.
Anna Della Russo. I love how she’s not young, number one and I love how she just does her own thing. She pretty much wears everything that’s current. I aspire to have a closet like hers one day!
What is your favourite item in your wardrobe at home?
Since I own a consignment shop, my favourite items tend to change often but, right now, it’s a beautiful red Hermès Kelly Bag. Besides it being an iconic classic, it’s just something I’ve always wanted, so it symbolizes a milestone in my career and my business, and it will likely be with me for decades. I discovered it one day, while randomly participating in my favourite pastime – online shopping; hence, the inspiration behind the launch of the Fashionably Yours worldwide online store.
I also have a slight obsession with platform shoes, so I’m loving my Christian Louboutin Lady Daf Platform Pumps – my six-inch guilty pleasure this season.
Who are some of the celebrities you have worked with?
I launched my celebrity styling career with Shawn Desman in 2002 and styled his first five or six music videos, tours and appearances. I also styled Keshia Chante‘s first single cover and a couple of her first music videos, various shows for Toronto Fashion Week from 2002 to 2006, and a fashion show for Russell Simmons and Rev Run at Fashion Television. In addition, I styled and produced a show for Beyoncé when she launched her clothing line Deréon in Canada. That was my final show in 2007, before opening Fashionably Yours. Some other highlights include styling a music video for Talib Kweli, and assisting with wardrobe for Rihanna in the earlier stages of her career at Canada’s Wonderland and for the MMVAs in 2008.
Mingling with celebrities
Photos courtesy of Janet Han.
How did you come up with the name for your store?
When I worked with Shawn Desman, his manager at the time used to sign his e-mails to me “Musically Yours.” When I got into [the] fashion [industry], I started signing my e-mails “Fashionably Yours.” So when I opened the store, I thought everything in the store is fashionably yours because it’s not mine – it’s a consignment store.
Why did you choose to open a consignment store and not a regular retail store?
[A regular store] wouldn’t have solved my problem of [figuring out] what to do with all the clothes in my closet! In order to keep up with my shopping habit and [shopping] for other people, I ended up with a lot of clothes and needed [a place to put them]. It’s all new, it’s all amazing, it’s all designer, it’s all high-end.
Items are determined by several factors: brand, condition, season, original price. Even trends. It could be a limited edition runway piece – we can still mark it up higher and it would still sell and it’s still desirable. It could be an item that’s sold out and nobody can get. It could even be an inexpensive collaboration between H&M and Lanvin.
Now that we’ve launched globally, we offer worldwide shipping and also accept items from anywhere in the world. So we source [out] product [from] five continents, all over the world. It’s pretty amazing. What’s trendy in Asia and what’s trendy in France may not be trendy here and vice versa.
What are some of the most unique things you’ve taken so far?
We have a $15,000 men’s space jacket from Hugo Boss that’s still here.
If you weren’t a fashion stylist/boutique owner/fashion lover, who would you be?
Who is your personal favourite designer?
I truly appreciate all designers for their different collections and style, so it varies from season to season, and it would really depend on whether we are referring to shoes, bags or clothing. I enjoy the obvious classics, such as Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel who never fails to satisfy my fashion palette, but I’m also a big fan of newbies, such as Alexander Wang and Rick Owens. I have a bit of a thing for logos. I collect all things CC, LV, H, YSL, and so on. It kind of comes with the territory, and I have them all displayed in pretty glass cases that light up my closet. Coco Chanel once said to “take one thing off when leaving the house.” I believe you should look in the mirror and add something before you leave the house. My friends call me an accessory stand [and] I feel naked without accessories. It’s just my thing!
Peeking into Fashionably Yours
Photos by Kalynn Friesen.