Plenty of brands would say they want you to feel at home when you come to visit. Step into the new Atelier Munro location in Toronto, however, and you’ll find one of the few spaces that even the most stylish man would gladly call their own.
Situated in a slim Victorian in the heart of the fashionable Yorkville area, Amsterdam-based Atelier Munro’s first Canadian flagship contains three storeys’ worth of walk-in-wardrobes, fitting rooms and samples of its tailored clothing. Guests were welcomed to the opening of Atelier Munro House last week with a vibrant blue carpet, food from Alo and wines from Southbrook Winery.
For those that aren’t familiar with the company, Atelier Munro was founded approximately seven years ago and has operated pop-up locations across Canada to serve its clients here. The brand also worked for several years with select retail partners, such as Harry Rosen, to introduce itself the local market.
At a time when fast fashion and even luxury apparel have struggled to attract customers put off by rising inflation, Atelier Munro is offering the opportunity to develop a complete made-to-measure wardrobe that will prepare them for their most memorable events. The idea is that, if you’re going to buy clothes, it makes more sense to invest in clothes that are completely personalized and intentional.
“We’re trying to change the narrative,” Joachim Baan, Atelier Munro’s creative director, told me during the opening celebration. “We don’t bring out clothing collections. We bring out fabric collections. And these are fabrics that will be available every time you need them over the course of five years or more.”
Atelier Munro will also offer some more limited-time fabrics that speak to seasonality, Baan said. Clients can choose everything from collars, cuffs, linings, buttons and monograms. While all these options mean that a wardrobe from Atelier Munro comes at a higher price tag, it also avoids overproduction, which is better from a sustainability perspective and provides a one-of-a-kind feel.
“People don’t come to us because they want to tap into what the market calls style. They want clothing that speaks to their own taste,” he said.
In some cases, of course, men haven’t fully figured out their taste, which is why a brand like Atetlier Munro needs to offer inspiration as much as craftsmanship. Its Toronto flagship speaks to this, particularly on the third floor, which has been set up like a dream loft apartment. The large-screen TV was playing style classics like Tom Ford’s A Single Man, while the shelves included a retro copy of Interview magazine featuring a young Alec Baldwin on the cover.
“We want our clients to be able to slow down, enjoy a beverage, and take the time to be able to talk about their options,” Baan said.
Once you’ve been measured and decided on all the details, orders take an average of three to five weeks to be completed. Recognizing that sometimes men have special occasions come up unexpectedly, however, Atelier Munro house features a small collection of ready-to-wear items as well.
And if setting up shop in Toronto wasn’t a big enough commitment to the Canadian market, Atelier Munro has also partnered with Leafs defencemen Mark Giordano on a wardrobe to celebrate his homecoming from many years spent playing in Calgary.
Although the future of high fashion is still dogged by the ongoing debate over how often men will work from home versus the office, Baan said he feels confident Atelier Munro House is opening its doors at the perfect time.
“People really want to dress well now, especially after two years of the pandemic,” he said. “We want to empower men because if you’re wearing something that was made for you, you’ll feel the difference. We hear it from clients all the time. They’ll put on one of our suits, or a piece of our knitwear, and they look in a mirror and say, ‘I feel more myself.’”