Klaxon Howl looks like a really unique clothing store. How would you describe its theme?
Klaxon Howl is unique thanks to it’s concept and location. We stock a mixture of private label, premium vintage and a handful of heritage brands. This sets us apart with most items you won’t find anywhere else. The store is situated just off Queen west behind our sister store Delphic in a turn of the century coach house. The space has a club house kind of feel with tons of natural light from the many skylights throughout.
KH sells a lot of vintage and military-style clothing. Where do you draw your inspiration for these pieces?
I reference many of the vintage and military pieces I have in my collection for Klaxon’s private label. This came from the love I have for these original pieces that are so rare and expensive. They are hard to find and harder part with. The private label was a way of sharing these pieces with my customers. I’ve also noticed quite a few key vintage dealers doing the same thing, like What Comes Around Goes Around in N.Y.C. and Heller’s Cafe in Seattle. Designers will always reference clothes that come from the past. Some are iconic and classic, others obscure and unknown.
The store changed locations just over a year ago. How have things been since the move?
The move was the best thing for us and our customers appreciate it because it allows us more one on one time with them. It’s really a matter of quality over quantity.
I’ve read that you’ve been running clothing stores in Toronto since ’93. How has the industry changed in this city since you first started?
Well things have definitely changed. (There’s) way more to choose from now, for both buyers and consumers. There are more showrooms, reps and distributors of all types, too. It was a lot harder in the earlier days as things were less accessible and harder to get…even fashion information, collections, trends, images, etc. Now with the web we have unprecedented access to information. It was harder back then…it was a much smaller community, more underground and I think more exciting. People as a whole in Toronto are more sophisticated.
I’m sure running the store leaves you beat by the end of the day. Where do you like to go to unwind?
My local is Camp 4. An old friend and former employee Joseph is a co-owner along with his girl Sandra and Gani of Milk fame. It opened on Dundas just west of Ossington less than a year ago. It’s the spot. The interior was done by an old buddy Dennis Lin. When I’m there it’s like I’m with family. They also make a tasty Old Fashioned.