If you needed proof that Uncle Otis is one of the ultimate sources of classic style for Toronto men, consider this: Once again this year, iconic outerwear brand Canada Goose has teamed up with the local store for its second exclusive collaboration. The result? One hundred and fifty of the official “Otis Parka,” a bespoke quilted charcoal jacket, are available as of today at Uncle Otis. We caught up with Donnell Enns, principal and sole owner of the go-to menswear boutique, to find out more…
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I’m 37 years-old and have owned the contemporary menswear store Uncle Otis for 15 years. I’m originally from the country, but I have called Toronto my home for 20 years now. I’m a pretty simple dude with a discerning passion for all things that hold a timeless, classic aesthetic. We’re not a trendy or fashion-type shop, though we’re always current. I love motorcycles, music, thoughtful design, food, and traveling the great outdoors.
What are the biggest challenges and best rewards about what you do?
Owning retail day-to-day is like playing the stocks. It’s rather volatile and can drive you crazy if you let it. Apart from getting the right staff to carry out your objectives and presentation, trying to forecast what styles people will enjoy six months ahead is not an easy task. But I would have to say that the weather is one of the biggest challenges in clothing retail. I always compare it to farming, where if we don’t get the appropriate climate, we don’t get the customers – just as if the farmers don’t get the right precipitation they won’t get their crop. It really is that sensitive.
The reward’s lie in helping our fine patrons and friends find their style. Our mission statement is “the pursuit of personal style.” Not everybody is as style conscious and confident as some, but we’re here to help anyone who’s open to finding themselves in a stylish way.
Being in retail and establishing a firm foundation in the niche market has allowed for amazing opportunities such as working with Canada Goose for the second project to date (the Otis Parka). I could not be more proud, excited, and grateful all at the same time.
What are three things you can’t live without?
My friends/family, my motorcycle(s), and my French press.
Finish this sentence: I love Toronto because…
…everything is here.
What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
Bar Isabel. The whole make-up and experience are not paralleled with any other spot in Toronto. He didn’t follow any trends that is the norm with most businesses in Toronto, but instead did what he wanted to do. The food is always interesting, but simple and perfectly put together. There’s always a great vibe you get when you walk in and enjoy your time. Lastly, the customer service is always exceptional – which I’m a total stickler for.
What’s one of your favourite go-to designers/brands and why do you sport their fashions?
My go-to is a Canadian brand called Wings + Horns from Vancouver, and most of the line is made in Canada. The timeless designs offer a good look every time the pieces are worn. It’s a masculine look that combines a refined/heritage/military feel, which works well for me. It fits me well pretty much all the time, too.
What products are always in your grooming bag?
Hmm… nothing too fancy here, but I always have my Le Labo Santal 33 scent. I’m sucker for all things with sandalwood.
What style trends are you obsessed with right now?
The shop and I are not very trendy, but I do like that sneakers are back in a big way. Sneakers can be kind of sexy in a sporty way (on both girls and guys). Don’t get me wrong, I can certainly appreciate a fine toe cap derby, but it all falls into a clean and simple effortless style. Style was very dressy in the last few years, but it’s melded into a refined casual look, which is what we’ve always offered at UO.
What’s your favourite spa or service?
I got treated to Scandinave Spa in Collingwood for my birthday last December. Like, wow, what an awesome pampering experience.
Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and UncleOtis.com… Though the absolute best all around experience to Uncle Otis Clothing Shop is to visit us personally, enjoy our environment, and let us take care of you. You can follow us on the above social handles. I encourage any guys, young or older, woman buying for their guys, or family to come in for a visit. We’ll certainly make it worth your while – whether you pick something up or not!