HOI BO + MJÖLK
Designer collaborations in Canada usually pair a big retailer with a fledgling fashion label. The store gets the opportunity to bask in the indie style of a small but buzz- earning brand and the designer benefits from an expanded audience for his or her aesthetic and hopefully a paycheque.
John Baker and Juli Daoust of Mjölk and Hoi Bo (hoibo.com) designer Sarra Tang came to their partnership in a much more organic way. Introduced over dinner by Erin Hall, who owns Robber on Queen West, they were already each others’ customers. (Daoust carried one of Tang’s bags, while Tang wore a bracelet from the duo’s Junction design shop.) A few meetings over coffee and a desire to co- create a bag that both men and women would be happy to carry led to Tang handing over a prototype for Baker and Daoust to take on a field-testing trip to Japan.
“The final product strongly reflects our shared belief in a perfect balance of form and function,” says Tang. Made of waxed black or grey luggage-weight twill accented with naked leather straps and solid brass hardware, it can be worn as a backpack, shoulder bag or messenger. A style alliance never looked as natural as this. $690, available exclusively at Mjölk (2959 Dundas West, 416-551-9853, mjolk.ca) starting October 21.