Remember your old high school biology or chemistry class, filled with human anatomy drawings, Griffin beakers, and cross sections of insects? Now imagine this same environment, but filled with elegant, tailored clothing. Welcome to Oliver Spencer, a UK based brand founded by the name sake himself in 2002. Style Democracy had the chance to learn more about the label while visiting the Toronto, Queen Street West location. We caught up with Gray Butler, the store’s manager who filled us in on the modern meets old school vibe of Oliver Spencer.
The store first reached the North American market in 2006, residing in New York. Not long after, Toronto was deemed a worthy location, setting up shop 2 years ago. Queen Street West happened to be the exact atmosphere Spencer looked for when situating his stores, adding to the ambiance of the brand. While Oliver Spencer can find a place in everyone’s style, Gray defines the type of person that wears this type of clothing as a “20 to 30 year old guy who works in a creative field”. The well tailored pieces are perfect for work or post-work fun, adding some variety to the boring white collar work uniform. Not only do men frequent the store, women looking to add classic items to their professional wardrobe are visitors as well. Gray laughingly informs us that many females take a liking to the store after accompanying their boyfriends.
Gray has been managing the store almost since opening and is a true Oliver Spencer aficionado. He is a firm believer in standing behind a quality brand such as this, stating that the “fabrics and detailing are amazing” as he grabs a cap toe leather dress shoes with suede uppers. Seventy percent of the clothing is made in the U.K. with little outsourcing. To sell a product that will last is something that Gray, on behalf of Oliver Spencer feels is extremely important. “[Being able to] recommend the clothing we sell honestly”, as he puts it, is a testament to the people behind the label.
While there are no plans to expand the store in Canada (yet), the new collection for Spring/ Summer 2013 is highly anticipated. Colour blocking, nautical features, and the classic tailoring make for an esteemed clothing line. Gray is highly taken with the current Fall/ Winter stock though. He mentions the Fisher jacket, a traditional varsity jacket with wool sleeves, reminiscent of old school Americana. It is apparent that much thought and attention go into every aspect of the line, from the seasonal collections to the botany-esque decor. Even the hang tags have an imprint of a beetle on them, a recurring cornerstone of the brand. Currently, there is a 50% off sale on all Oliver Spencer stock, including under garments, a great time to frugally increase your wardrobe.
Not only does Oliver Spencer provide a hub for wearable, put together clothing, it also has expanded into footwear, and more recently has become home to Aesop, a skin care line. Aesop, an Australian based skin, hair, and body line is committed to creating products using plant based ingredients and anti-oxidants. Evidently, the creams and lotions smell amazing, and on behalf of the Style Democracy team I went a bit tester happy in the shop. My personal favourite was the Aesop Resurrection Aromatique hand wash, a best seller of the brand. Oliver Spencer is the only retail shop in Ontario to sell the decadent concoctions. Gray added that people from all over come to the location just to stock up on this covetable skin care line. Beautiful clothes and beauty products all in one stop, what more could you ask for?
Oliver Spencer is one of those rare retail stores that characterizes a certain city’s style. It’s no wonder that the brand has been a constant go to style choice for many, including The Rolling Stones, Toby Jones, and Benicio Del Toro. As Gray stated, the clothes really do have a place in a any one’s closet, from rock stars to the modern day professional.
Check out more photos from our trip + Some great Oliver Spencer looks worn by Gray Butler and Isabella Zavarise:
Photo Credits: Cornelia Baptista