Store Guide: Latre Art and Style, a unique concept shop stocked with African artifacts and military apparel
Latre Art and Design is a new boutique in the Junction from Brian Vu, an artist and former restaurateur who makes his own line of reclaimed unisex apparel in the shop’s basement studio. His philosophy for the store is refreshing: bring together simple, high-quality items that incorporate elements of nature. In addition to selling his own pieces, Vu sources work from local artists, artifacts from West Africa, and vintage Native American jewellery to create a space that’s part boutique, part gallery and part museum. (It’s all for sale, except the taxidermied wolf, which was a gift from a friend.)
Almost everything in the shop is one-of-a-kind, even the denim jackets Vu handcrafts from jeans and pieces of HBC blankets. (His new collection features oversized vests cut from colourful Mexican textiles.) Much of his inspiration comes from the functionality of military apparel, and there’s a whole wall devoted to vintage army paraphernalia and utilitarian jackets. (“The more you wear them, the better they get,” he says.) From local artisans, he’s currently showcasing a yarn wall-hanging crafted by an OCAD grad alongside ultra-soft fedoras made from imported angora. To get your hands on the unique aesthetic, shoppers should expect to drop a few hundred dollars for most items (except for Vu’s hand-dyed indigo army socks—those go for $30).