The men of Toronto have been stepping up their fashion game for the past few years, and we have Melissa Austria to thank. The owner of Gotstyle, Austria has turned the idea of a men’s wear shop into a one-stop shopping haven for fashion-forward men. We caught up with the men’s wear game changer to find out all about her shop, her favourite trends of the moment and her unique approach to the fashion industry.
Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I was born in the Maritimes, grew up in Vancouver and now call Toronto home. I got my start in the menswear industry working at Harry Rosen, and that ignited my passion for menswear. From there I worked in the men’s wholesale industry as Sales and Brand Manager with such notable brands like Calvin Klein, Valentino, and Kenneth Cole.
I merchandised each collection for the Canadian marketplace, worked with all the top menswear stores across Canada and helped build each brand. Gotstyle started because I felt there was a lack of choice for men in the city. It was either high-end luxury or cheap and cheerful. I wanted to build a store that every man could shop at and feel comfortable in.
What sets GotStyle apart from other stores in the city and how did you come up with the idea to film tutorials on fashion?
Having come from the wholesale side, I knew that there were a lot of brands out there that people didn’t know about. I love working with Nordic brands (Sweden, Denmark, Holland) as they offer more modern fits, great styling and great price value. I hand pick every product in the store for a certain guy and body type. We want to show that every man can look good in clothes that fit better. The video tutorials were a no brainer. With everything happening in social media, we needed to be more visual and engaging. And we know that guys are more visual to begin with, so we wanted to be able to talk to them in as many ways as possible.
What are three key items every man should have in his wardrobe right now?
A going out blazer, colored chinos and something camo.
What about women?
A pencil skirt, leather anything and great costume jewelry.
What men’s fashion trends are you looking forward to for 2014?
I am not a big trend person for men. I still think there are too many men out there that need to learn how to have more style and dress better, nevermind trends. Once you start talking about fashion for the average guy it scares them off and they retreat to their old ways of baggy clothes and untucked shirts. For the guy who does get it (which, thankfully, is starting to become a bigger percentage), some sure shots from Zanerobe are a must have (think track pants that you can wear in public), colour continues to be a big fashion push for guys (think bold and bright for spring) and a move away from plaids and check into floral prints or micro prints in shirts.
What are three of your own “most worn items” of clothing?
My perforated leather jacket by Rebecca Minkoff. I have a blazer fetish and own over 35 of them! My current favourite is a new label from NY that we found called Leveer. You will always see my in a blazer with skinny jeans or leggings. It’s my uniform.