by Becca Lemire
This HAUS, at 1265 Bloor St. W at Lansdowne, is built with love, sizzling fashion sense and intention. A semi-recent addition to the emerging Bloordale neighbourhood of Toronto, HAUS showcases and encourages forward-thinking products, labels and designers from local to elsewhere, including sustainable housewares, natural skincare, upcycled vintage and untouched vintage classics at reasonable prices any artiste can rock, and still afford paintbrushes after.

An example is Tom’s, whose shoes are easy for the heart of the consumer to digest, and very nice on the eyes. Tom’s has a “one for one” policy meaning for every pair you buy another is given to a person in need, and you can watch their videos of shoe drop-offs on YouTube. Other lines you’ll find at HAUS are one-of-a-kind upcycled vintage pieces from Jool by Julie Phelps, comfy but hip staples (some unisex) made out of recycled or sustainable fabrics by Muttonhead Collective, Yoga Jeans by Second Denim, Cheap Monday, sculptural eco housewears by Free My Interior (FMI) and hand-picked vintage from all over North America by yours truly. The back room functions as an art gallery and the backyard has recently been transformed by FMI into a festive hang out spot with astroturf, pink flamingos and lounge chairs, but still with that slight feel of the Bloordale neighbourhood we all love.

Spending an afternoon with owners William Ashman, Rachel Beauparlant and Maurizio Flammini, I scoped out the goods on the racks and picked the brains of the creative and savvy HAUSTERS behind it all. They’re long time roomies together just around the corner and all bring very different skill sets to the store, keeping all the bases covered. William has taken the reins of doing marketing, PR and is social media-obsessed. He also hand picks the menswear as it’s something he knows best. Rachel does some marketing and PR as well, and picks women’s wear. She has a background in theatre and dance and spent last year dancing in Mozambique, where she observed and was inspired by art spaces being the hub of the community; a meeting and work place for all.

Maurizio is pioneering the eco aspect, seeking out companies who are changing the rules, and as a result HAUS has inventive, functional and beautiful eco skin care, sustainable books, housewears and more. You may be thinking “eco eco eco, all I see is eco this and that, it’s over marketed, meaningless, a fad, a trend” and yes, it’s being exploited by big companies just as much as they’re exploiting the Earth, but it would be a shame to let that distract from small thoughtful companies attempting real change in consumerism.

HAUS is aiming to create a place not just for established designers, but for emerging artists to learn and grow – offering marketing tips and price coaching, they want you to succeed just as much as they do. William, Rachel and Maurizio buy and wear tons of merch from the store, partly to market their merchandise when out and about around town, and partly to support artists who deserve to be benefiting financially from their work. HAUS doesn’t believe in starving artists, and they hope to uplift and empower artists stuck in the physical and mental broke-zone. More art shows, performances and a fall fashion show are on the horizon, so stay tuned on Twitter @williamhaus or @hausstore to keep in the loop for upcoming events, or find them on Facebook.