STYLE MAP: Ruins

Josh Reichmann and the amazingly named Mikey Apples, co-owners of RUINS. Story by Justine Iaboni. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

RUINS (960 Queen St. W., ruinstoronto.com, info@ruinstoronto.com)

For those who don’t call a dog a dog and a spoon a spoon*, you probably don’t call a blazer just a blazer. Well, neither do Josh Reichmann and Mikey Apples. Their new concept boutique, RUINS, is the closest thing to shopping for clothes in an actual gallery space—minus the “do not touch” signs and the attitude. In Reichmann’s words, Ruins is “an ever-mutating, creative project that is finely curated.” Whether you shop at RUINS to pick up a rare vintage piece, to enhance your music repertoire, or to get your hair cut in the single-chair salon out back, the duo promises to deliver an aesthetic experience that will linger long after you leave the store.

*”The passion of an aesthete is absolutely inaccessible to the man of ordinary concept who calls a dog a dog and a spoon a spoon.” —R. Huelsenbeck in En Avant Dada.

How do you two know each other?

Josh: “We both come from the music world in Toronto: Mikey in the capacity of managing touring bands like Crystal Castles. I was in a touring band so our paths were always crossing. Every time we talked, we found out that we had common interests in aesthetics, design, art, and music, so we kind of jived on those levels. Touring and recording is one thing for me, but I’ve always wanted to station myself and get involved in clothes and branding this whole world that I had envisioned.”

How does one go from envisioning this world to taking the plunge and opening a store?

Josh: “I had some connections to the fashion world from the music world, through labels in New York like Assembly and Opening Ceremony. The main questions were: What lines do we want, what lines can we get, and where do we want to be? It was really tough to locate the perfect space on Queen Street—over here, it changes block by block. We totally lucked into this place even though—unluckily—it needed tons of work. We spent the next couple of months rebuilding it into the space we envisioned.”

I’m sure you’ve heard this from skeptics along the way, but really: Another indie Queen West boutique? Continue reading

SOME LOOKS WE LIKED: At the Ruins opening party

Story by Paul Aguirre-Livingston. Photography by Brendan Adam Zwelling.

“Is this the Ruins party?” I asked my co-cabbers as we pulled up at the corner of Queen and Shaw. Bright, busy, white walls. Drinks, art, crowds. Nope, definitely not Ruins, but an art gallery. Then we glanced to the right and saw a small sign in the corner window in neat block letters: “Come around the back.” Which we did.

Like its art gallery neighbour, the selection at Ruins, a new clothing haven for the Queen West set, is carefully curated. From Opening Ceremony to American menswear line Loden Dager, the shop feels like the cool, younger brother of Queen West comrades (rivals?) JacFlash.

The vision, courtesy of owners Josh Reichmann and Mikey Apples, seems to be simple enough: Bring back the independents and the no-fuss retail environment, where the boutique is an experience, not a chain. (It’s so chill that you can even get your hair cut in the back.) There weren’t any price tags on the clothing—that’s how ironic I thought the duo was being—but it turns out that they simply didn’t have time to price everything before the opening.

We’ll be posting an interview with Mikey and Josh next week, but in the meantime, check out our snaps from the opening party. (And check out Ruins too! It opened to the public this morning: 960 Queen St. W.)

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