Inside Relevé Clothing, a Leaside boutique for cultish athleisure

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Relevé, the new East York shop specializing in colourful activewear, is the brainchild of Gillian Medina, a dancer-turned-entrepreneur, and named for the ballet move that means “rise up.” Medina was inspired by the stylish, super-active people she sees on the streets of the neighbourhood—multitaskers that want to go from the gym to the playground to dinner in a single stylish, functional outfit. She dreamed up the store before the pandemic, and put her plans on pause during the early months of lockdown. Then, in the fall of 2020, Medina decided it was now or never, and so she got back to working on the shop, which opened in March. Here’s a look inside.


 

The space–designed by Shirley Meisels of Toronto design firm M House–has a calming quality. So much so that while it was under construction, curious neighbours wondered if it was going to be used as a spa. That’s just what Medina was going for: an airy and relaxing environment where fun patterns and cozy leisurewear take centre stage. Medina sources clothing from designers with cult followings—brands such as Alo Yoga, Michael Lauren, L’urv and P.e Nation, mostly based out of Los Angeles and Australia. “These are some of my favourite brands that I know people love but couldn’t get here,” she says:

Above the front desk, Petite Friture’s Vertigo pendant twists and turns with the air currents in the room:

Since opening, the shop has become a destination for leopard-print sports bras from the Upside; soft, lived-in sweatsuits by Aviator Nation; buoyant sneakers from On; and an endless array of comfy coloured leggings (Medina’s favourite are from Alo Yoga):

The lustrous brass details sprinkled throughout the store provide an angular contrast to the curvy powder-white seating and wood and brick surfaces:

The backlit arched display cases were custom-crafted by local millworkers. The back face is covered in a wallpaper that looks like a softly painted abstract waterfall:

Here’s the view from the back of the store:

The shop carries a selection of natural skincare products from L.A.-based Salt and Stone:

The large changing rooms—big enough for a baby stroller—have wood benches, framed line art, floor-to-ceiling mirrors and flattering lighting:

1727 Bayview Ave., releveclothing.com