Introducing: Joe Fresh, Mr. Joe Mimran’s first stand-alone store in Toronto
The place: When the strip west of Queen and Portland burned down nearly three years ago, rumours swirled about what retail outlet would take its place. Of course, a mixed-use development popped up, and yet another of the city’s woefully unattractive condo developments was born (ahem, Bohemian Embassy). Though the exterior is an eyesore, Joe Fresh, an even-cheaper-than-H&M store, is a boon to all those that had to schlep all the way to Joe’s other huge location on Lake Shore.
The stuff: With winter fast approaching, there are plenty of coats to be had, like a faux-shearling and faux-suede black bomber ($69), a down-filled coat that shines like polyester ($99) and a faux-shearling and faux-leather vest ($49). The coats aren’t Joe’s best, save for one duffle with oversized Buffalo check in cream, white and black. Joe has holiday-season fashion nailed, though, with fringed black miniskirts ($39), black sheath dresses in textured fabric ($49) and sequined skirts ($39), all of which can be accented with the unbelievably cheap tights ($6–$8) in every colour and print imaginable. There’s stuff for guys here, too, like the never-out-of-style oxford shirts ($39) in white and pale blue, cashmere V-necks in muted colours (there are two kinds of grey and two kinds of beige) or more vibrant ones, like eggplant, kelly green and peach. We didn’t love the whiskering on the faded grey jeans ($39), but their heavier-weight denim in deep blue is an absolute bargain (also $39).
The shoppers: Joe Fresh devotees (there are many—their fashion week show was the most well attended all week), Queen Westers and ladies tired of seeing their very expensive dresses on seven other girls at the party (though we expect the same will happen this holiday season, but you only paid next to nothing, so what does it matter?). Joe even promises to bring their runway looks to the store, so those that coveted this season’s collection will be in luck come spring.
Our favourite things: The shoes are spot on, like women’s shiny, golden brogues that look like Doc Martens meets Duckie Brown ($79), booties appropriate for the harsh Canadian winter that look like hiking boots with a menacing heel ($79) and men’s Sorel-type boots ($69) that could go from shovelling snow to shovelling food at some unmistakably hip resto-bistro-speakeasy. We also loved the Fair Isle sweater with a reindeer ($69) and the stocking stuffer–appropriate fleece hats, scarves and gloves ($9 for a set), men’s Ts ($5–$6), and sunglasses ($14–$19).