Along a residential row of houses across from Trinity Bellwoods Park on Dundas Street West, you’ll find a bright green storefront and within it, you’ll meet Desiree Girlato – the brain, brawn, heart and soul behind this unique little jewelry closet. Though the space is small, it’s absolutely perfect for what lays inside. From delicate gold chain to rare megalodon shark teeth and brass cuffs adorned with amethyst – Girlato’s collection has something for everyone and is gradually becoming a new classic. While materials are sourced from around the world, Girlato makes sure that each piece has something in common… a consistent theme of badass-ness.

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The walls of the store are matte black with white detailing. Jewelry lies beautifully beneath glass along the walls. Everything is so perfectly put together that it’s hard to believe the store, which was founded 3 years ago, literally began as something out of nothing. The old aesthetic featured shelves made out of old fencing, roadside finds and antiques passed down from her grandmother – it’s been an amazing evolution for Armed and Girlato’s hard work has not gone unnoticed. The unapologetically bold line has quickly become an industry favourite and an opulent essential for every woman’s wardrobe. Just this year, she was featured in Flare Magazine as one of the top 7 independent jewelry designers in Canada and  one of the 15 people on the cusp of greatness in Elle Canada Magazine.

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With a new collection in collaboration with Bicyclette Boutique about to hit stores and a new e-commerce site recently launched, Girlato has proved herself a force to be reckoned with and the Armed empire is just beginning to bloom, “when life presents you opportunities, you need to take them and the bull by it’s horns. Find something you love to do. Not something you think you love to do, but something you actually love to do,” Girlato tells us. All of the love and hard work definitely shines through in the collections and Girlato has proved that being Armed is more than putting on a piece of jewelry, it’s about empowerment and pushing boundaries – It’s about arming yourself with the confidence to be who you want to be.

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Learn more about Armed:

Website | www.upandarmed.com

Facebook | Armed

Instagram | @UpAndArmed