Inside the new Fitzroy, a designer haven with hundreds of dresses, handbags and faux fur jackets for rent
What: The Fitzroy
Where: 225 Sterling Road.
How big: 2,500 square feet inside a former art gallery
Seven years ago, Angela Pastor and Julie Buczkowski were running the Fitzroy Boutique as a seasonal pop-up in Toronto’s west end. Almost every day, a customer would come into the store, fall in love with an item, but leave empty-handed because she couldn’t justify the high price tag for something she might only wear a few times a year. “We thought, why don’t we just rent the clothes?” says Buczkowski.
During their final pop-up along the Ossington strip, they tested out their idea, reserving a single rack of items from lines like Self Portrait and For Love & Lemons for rent. Customers kept asking for more, so they added another, then another. By the end of the week, they’d lent out more than 100 items. Later that year, the duo opened a permanent store along Dundas West, transforming an old accounting office into the equivalent of Carrie Bradshaw’s closet. Now, they’ve moved to an even bigger space in a former art gallery at Bloor and Landsdowne. The new shop has hundreds of dresses (sizes zero to 14), handbags and faux-fur jackets by designers like Rachel Zoe and Elle Zeitoune. It’s set up to feel like your cool friend’s apartment—trendy, but comfortable. Pastor and Buczkowski wanted to create a place where women could come hang out, have fun and find the perfect outfit for a special occasion. There are comfy couches and daybeds for lounging and complimentary candy. “Our tagline is ‘dress rental magic,’ says Buczkowski. “We want you to have that Cinderella moment whenever.” Here’s a look inside the new space.
Pastor and Buczkowski designed the space themselves, with chandeliers, stylish furniture and a retro glass brick wall built with 300 blocks they found on Kijiji. There’s also a built-in projector that screens classics like Clueless, Bridesmaids and Sex and the City episodes:
They painted the walls white to keep customers focused on the colours and textures of the dresses:
Here are some of the designer handbags by Whiting & Davis and Brazilian brand Serpui:
The change rooms are roomy. “We wanted to create moments everywhere. People can snap photos anywhere in the store,” says Buczkowski.
There’s lots of room for friends to lounge while they’re waiting:
Pastor and Buczkowski select pieces that are hard to find anywhere else. “We want you to be the best dressed everywhere you go,” says Buczkowski.