Low costs, high fashion at downtown boutiques

MiCloset, Mesh Boutique, Weezi: local shops worth checking out

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Weezi

Laura Barclay

THE REAL CONFESSIONS OF A SHOPAHOLIC. Weezi, located at Richmond and Albert Street, showcases its wall of quirky hand-made purses and unique accessories.

Downtown London has a lot more to offer than just a happening bar scene. For students, it offers a unique fashion exhibition you won’t find at the mall. With a variety of labels, styles and materials, the stores on Richmond Row are worth an afternoon of exploration. The best part is these exclusive finds won’t break your wallet.

MiCloset offers high-end designer labels that are affordable enough to add to your own closet. From cocktail dresses to distressed denim, the store has a variety of clothing options. Owner Sam Benni takes pride in a friendly and fashion-conscious staff that is eager to help customers browsing the store.

Expect to find items from designers like Ed Hardy, Blend, Masi Jeans, Vero Moda, Jack & Jones and Coco & Tashi " all for 60 per cent less than regular retail outlets. MiCloset tries to keep it fresh by receiving new shipments of brand name duds every two weeks.

Mesh Boutique offers a mix of runway fashion items, vintage pieces and consignment clothing. Shop owner Jenelle Meshki handpicks every item in the store and won’t accept anything but the best. With labels like Gucci, DKNY, Juicy Couture, Miss Sixty, Diesel, Rock and Republic, Only, Seven, Guess and Lacoste, it’s every bargain hunter’s dream come true.

One of the most impressive offers at Mesh is the wall of exclusive jeans offering high-end brand names at only a fraction of regular retail prices. While some items are what Meshki likes to call “pre-loved,” there are many new pieces too. You can distinguish new articles from those on consignment by checking out the garment’s tag " a hole punch means the piece is new, while those without a hole indicate ‘previously owned.’

Another cool find at Mesh is Project Joy T-shirts. This unique company offers T-shirts and tank tops made in Canada from 100 per cent organic cotton and bamboo.

Joy’s website explains, “Every face found on a Joy T-shirt is drawn by hand, making it an authentic piece of art. Each T-shirt also comes with a unique ID tag, telling you the name of the person on your shirt, their country of origin and their passion in life.”

Mesh also showcases creations from local designers. Some finds include jewelry, hair clips, dresses and screen prints applied to handbags.

Weezi is a one of a kind shop that recognizes its unique spot in the London fashion scene. While some people might find comfort in conformity, that is one thing you won’t find here.

“Anything that has a ‘Weezi’ tag is made from scratch,” storeowner Lisa Gaverluk says. Whether she reuses ‘previously enjoyed’ pieces and adds her own flare or creates the entire garment with purchased fabric, you are guaranteed an original.

“As a general rule I only buy enough fabric to make four to five pieces,” Gaverluk says.

She offers each style in sizes small to large and everything is done in limited runs. Weezi price tags display how many pieces were made to assure that you would be the only one wearing your purchase around campus.

The clothes are offered in a variety of fabrics, prints and styles so there is something for everyone. The most popular items are the distinct purses displayed on a floor-to-ceiling wall unit. These pieces are even more exclusive as Gaverluk only buys enough fabric to make just one.

“The purses are the most fun thing for me to do,” she says. “There are always new bags.”

At Weezi, the concept of an environmentally friendly store is more than just a marketing strategy. Everything in the store is crafted by hand and even your purchases are carried out in recycled newspaper bags made at the store.

For store locations or more information, visit the shops’ websites at micloset.ca, weezi.com and Mesh Boutique’s Facebook group.

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