Making fashion their business

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By Devon Bradley

Devlyn van Loon never imagined her internship would lead to her own fashion outlet.

But the People’s Boutique, run by second-year Ryerson fashion students van Loon, Tala Berkes and Sam Rice will open to the public on Sept. 25 at 7 p.m. Located at 1234 Bloor St. West, the boutique shares space with By The Pound, a trendy spot owned by vintage fashion designer Kealan Sullivan.

“Sam had a lot of experience with consignment and Tala has a business degree, I decided that would be the best choice,” van Loon said.

Because of school demands, she knew she wanted a couple of classmates to help her out.

“There is nothing negative to be said about being able to run a business and work with designers who are ridiculously inspiring,” she explained.

“I think it is a good working dynamic,” says Berkes. “This is more fun for us, I think, because we are the bosses.”

Berkes saw this as a chance to expand her interest in fashion and help the struggling artists out there.

“It is the perfect opportunity for those individuals to say, ‘Hey, I like being a unique person, nobody else has this, it’s all mine,'” she added.

Though the People’s Boutique caters to the essence of unique style, this fashion outlet has something for trendy Torontonians looking for one-of-a-kind items with its diverse collection of up and coming artists and designers. They celebrate not only vintage style, but sustainable fashion design.

“I try to use mostly organic or recycled fabrics,” said Rice, “I am really excited about this and happy to do whatever I can to make this work.”

While interning at By The Pound in 2008, van Loon was approached about opening another fashion outlet.

The young designers are now preparing for the launch with Sullivan and Irene Stickney, manager of Buy the Pound. “Devlyn interned all last year and then she said ‘my friends are interested in running it’. They wrote a business plan, were organized,” said Stickney. “They were motivated and ambitious and we were excited.”

The trio admits they feel the pressure of opening day.

“Well, for the past two weeks we have been living off of coffee and three hours of sleep,” said van Loon.

The girls are busy setting up the location and ensuring all the pieces and designs are ready to be shown.

“We are all up and coming artists, we are all in fashion and are trying to get our brands out,” van Loon said.

“We want to stock things that people will love for a long time to come.”

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