05/10/10 – By GURPREET GHAG
One block east of Landowne and Bloor and directly across the massive Mercer Union art gallery, William Ashman shows a customer around his smaller and cozier house for emerging artists.
HAUS, as it’s called, looks much like any other designer clothing store, but Ashman will be quick to tell you differently.
Ashman, along with his friend Rachel Beauparlant, opened the boutique just over a month ago with the intention of displaying and selling designer labels and denim from local emerging designers; but, the idea didn’t stop there.
“The concept of the store is to support any type of local or emerging artist,” Ashman said. “Whether it’s musicians, interior designers, clothing designers, painters – just any artist who is passionate about what they do.”
Ashman mentions the vibrant paintings on the walls which look as if they are part of the colorful, flashy interior of the store, but are instead painted by local artists and displayed with hopes of getting their names heard and the canvases sold.
“If you love something and are passionate about it, why can’t you make a sustainable living out of it?” he asks.
HAUS also displays and sells small knick-knacks like buttons and broaches, which are created by local artists.
Ashman holds out a small pin made out of a bottle cap with April O’Neil of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle fame infused inside, snapping a photo. The caption reads “total frontal nudity.”
“Any type of artist,” he says.
Ashman, who has lived in Bloordale for over five years, says that he absolutely loves the “flavour” of the community and its local shops; not to mention the amount of artistic talent and potential within its borders.
He adds that the way the store has emerged over the month has a lot to do with the evolving community of Bloordale.
“We have people coming in from Kitchener, Hamilton – we even have people calling in from Niagara on the Lake.”
Ashman and Beauparlant hope to open up another HAUS in Bushwick, New York, a neighborhood in Brooklyn with similar flavour and coincidentally formerly also known as Ward 18.
But Ashman insists that the heart of HAUS will always be in this Ward 18.
A beach-themed patio is currently in the works and is being designed by a local interior design team. There, people will be able to enjoy the nice Bloordale sun and have a few drinks, all while enjoying some tunes played out by, of course, local and emerging artists!
For more information about HAUS you can drop by the store at 1265 Bloor St. W.
Article By Gurpreet Ghag
Slideshow By Uwais Motala