When you think of the fashion of the future, a lot of metallic hues and structured shapes can come to mind. But clothing brand U3’s new boutique in Ossington suggests that the future of fashion is genderless, sustainable, diverse and collaborative.
These may all sound like buzzwords, but U3 made it clear that they do more than just talk. The brand started out as a consignment on Queen, but the move to the Ossington area was deliberate. âThis is more suited to our facility compared to Queen West, where it’s still a bit more commercial compared to a smaller community neighborhood type of vibe,â says Terri Zhang, one of U3’s co-directors.
The idea for their new location at 129 Ossington Ave., which launched in March of this year, was to create a more collaborative establishment. Thus, Mirari x U3 was born.
The lime green storefront stands out among a sea of ââbeige tones across the street, and the interior is equally eye-catching.
âWe were thinking about what we can do with the space other than just a clothing store,â says Zhang. âHow do you do more for an art collective so that people can actually come in and come together, instead of just coming to spend money? “
The store is divided into three spaces, each a separate âroomâ with a distinct purpose. Room 1 houses U3 clothing; Room 2 is an outdoor patio, with an opening garage and bar serving alcoholic or non-alcoholic drinks depending on the time of day. Room 3 is an old kitchen that the brand has transformed into a showroom for art and other exhibitions.
Zhang says the art and collaboration side (Mirari) and the fashion side (U3) are hosted in the same location for now, but future plans could see Mirari branch out into her own art center, separate from the clothing brand. .
The different axes, from art to fashion, are all linked by a futuristic angle. âFashion is, in general, very futuristic; we imagine what people would be wearing in 20, 30 or even 50 years, âsays Zhang.
This includes a nanochip hanging earring and a blazer with 3D flower appliques, yes, but it also includes an emphasis on sustainable, non-sexist fashion, with an emphasis on BIPOC and other items. queer artists.
âAll items are unisex. If you go to the clothing section, there is no men’s or women’s section, âthey say. “You don’t have to go to a specific section to find a part that’s right for you.”
Zhang says it was a no-brainer to make sure all the artists they work with are BIPOC and queer. âWe the owners are BIPOC and / or gay ourselves, so we wanted to use our platform to raise voices that weren’t heard enough in the fashion world and the art world in the world. broad sense “, they say.
U3 also makes it a point of honor to collaborate with local brands that they love and that offer recycled and handmade items. âWe’re also doing something called the U3 remake; we recreate some of the pieces of these brands in collaboration with the artists, âexplains Zhang.
They explain that the new showcase is constantly finding new uses for the space, such as a sweatshop and a live performance event a week ago. âWe still have the clothing and fashion element, and we’re adding more events and potentially artist networking events soon, to add more flavor to the art collective,â said Zhang.
Mirari x U3 is open every day from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. to 8 p.m.