Philip Sparks Tailored Goods
By YP Contributor

With classic cuts and high quality fabrics, this store is redefining menswear

Philip Sparks designs have been found on many renowned stages including the Canadian Opera Company, the National Ballet and the Stratford Festival. But in 2007, the former costume designer moved from the theatrical to the practical with his line of retro-inspired clothing.

“It’s all about nostalgia and vintage cuts and tailoring,” explains store manager Victoria Sinko. Partially inspired by antique notions and hardware, all of the clothing—from classic white button-ups to wool winter jackets—is designed in Philip’s studio, located in a refurbished factory in the Junction. But not only is it designed in Toronto, it’s also made in Toronto.

“It’s not easy to find something that’s made in Toronto from the very beginning to the very end,” says Victoria. “We’re one of the few.”

It’s all about nostalgia and vintage cuts and tailoring. - Victoria Sinko, store manager
Philip Sparks Tailored Goods Inc - Menswear, suits, sunglasses

A little off the beaten path

Although Philip Sparks shares a street address with Ideal Coffee on Ossington, the menswear store is actually tucked away in a storefront on adjacent Foxley Street. “It fits our brand,” says Victoria. “Being off the main drag plays into what we do because it’s very custom and niche.”

When Victoria says “custom,” she’s referring to Philip Sparks bespoke tailoring service. After starting in 2013 as a side product, it has become the store’s focus—and highly in-demand.

Unlike made-to-fit suits, where existing pattern blocks are altered, Philip Sparks bespoke suits are carefully crafted from pattern blocks that are unique to each customer. Clients visit the designer in his store or studio for a series of four fittings, where they can hand-select every element of their new suit, all while chatting with the designer and enjoying a Scotch. It’s the kind of personal customer service that should’ve never gone out of style.

“There’s a lot of one-on-one time with Philip,” says Victoria. “ “People are starting to buy investment pieces again, which is what it used to be like.”

Philip Sparks Tailored Goods Inc - Menswear, suits, sunglasses

Retro designs for the future

Even if a bespoke suit is out of your price range, Philip Sparks still offers plenty of affordable opportunities to get a one-of-a-kind piece that’s been designed and made in Toronto. At their Bowtie Factory events, which are hosted both in-store and at venues throughout the city, attendees can choose from fabric swatches and have a bowtie custom-made on the spot. During holiday seasons, they even offer monogrammed pajamas.

Victoria believes that while men in Toronto are buying quality staples for their closets, they are also far more fashion-forward than they used to be. “They’re getting more adventurous,” she says. During the 2013 season, the first colour of chinos to sell out wasn’t a classic beige or navy. It was salmon.

With one foot in the past and one solidly in the present, it’s clear that the “back to basics” approach at Philip Sparks is made to withstand the test of time.

Philip Sparks Tailored Goods Inc - Menswear, suits, sunglasses
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