Text by Justine Woolcott.
Photos by Kalynn Friesen.
Montreal-based designer Stacey Zhang welcomed the spring season by opening her first boutique in Toronto this April.
“I always loved Toronto. But the main reason we opened this store is because we already have a very big Toronto-based clientele,” says Zhang.
She adds that she chose the location of Queen Street West because she likes a unique, atelier-boutique feel.
“I often work here with an assistant, or in Montreal, depending on where I am. I get the feedback right away from customers, I chat with them and find out their life stories and what they like,” says Zhang.
The personalized experience her customers receive, along with the care and detail that goes into each of her garments, is what Zhang says makes her different from other designers.
“One of my neighbour’s was a seamstress and when I saw her making clothes for other people, I wanted to help,” she says. “Back then, I [would see] her with some nice, beautiful fabrics and she would cut them, and a day later they would be a dress or a blouse. That was just magical to me as a little girl.”
Zhang says she learned the basics of sewing, such as sewing seams, from this neighbour. She, subsequently, decided to pursue fashion design as a career, and is now a graduate of LaSalle College.
Zhang worked as a head designer for several companies before branching out and starting her own company in Montreal four years ago.
In 2009, Zhang and her business partner, Karl Hume, opened an online shop for her clients at www.staceyzhang.com. Her collections were then picked up by various boutiques across the country.
To achieve this goal, Zhang will be holding cocktail and shopping events at the Toronto boutique where her customers can meet and talk with her.
The new boutique is simple and keeps the focus on Zhang’s clothing. Her spring 2011 collection, Nomad, lines the walls of the store, with the colours popping against the white backdrop.
Zhang says this collection is a mix between business chic and girly fun.
“I love mixing things and I don’t believe that if you wear something to work, you have to change after,” she says. “So, you can dress a certain way to work, and then afterward you can just unbutton a few things, and twist it around, and then you’re ready to party!”
These elements are seen in fitted blazers, sweaters and on Zhang’s favourite piece from the collection: a long-sleeve waxed cotton cape trench.
The collection follows Zhang’s tradition of creating limited-run clothing that is stylish and affordable to her clients.
“I love seeing people loving the clothes that I make. I get a good kick out of people on the street wearing my clothes.”
Stacey Zhang’s Toronto boutique opening
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Stacey Zhang and her guests were photographed at her boutique launch party on Queen Street West by Kalynn Friesen (http://deedee.jobrary.com)
Justine Woolcott (http://www.jm-fashgasm.com) is a freelance journalist and blogger, who is a regular contributor to Latest News.