Sydney Mamane is showing me a lamp.
“Someone said it was steampunk,” says Mamane, the owner of Sydney’s, one of Toronto’s toniest menswear stores. “I didn’t know what steampunk was.”
The lamp is an antique; its provenance, medical. In the 1930s, it loomed over patients in a hospital room or dental office. Now it’s suspended from the ceiling of a new space that Mamane’s opened in the upstairs of his Queen West store.
“We’re going to stock artisanal stuff up here,” says Mamane, who opened Sydney’s three years ago. “We’ll carry really special pieces from designers like Dries van Noten. One-offs or small runs of really exquisite clothes. That’s what Sydney’s is about: fine fabrics, fine craftsmanship.”
The medical lamp hangs beside an old black Klieg light that looks as if it belongs on a silent movie set. Mamane takes the same care with décor as he does with clothes. He finds rare fixtures when he travels to the U.S. or Europe, where he orders clothes from such daring designers as Rick Owens and Opening Ceremony. Sydney’s is the sole store in the city to carry Raf by Raf Simons and Marc Jacobs sneakers. Loyal clients also buy bespoke suits and jeans: Mamane is a talented tailor.
“I used to work in a little studio, sewing custom clothes,” he tells me. “I’d think, ‘What would it be like to have my own little shop?’ For me, this is a dream come true.” With his new upstairs space, he’s able to dream a little larger.
Sydney’s, 795 Queen St. W., 416-603-3369.
Image courtesy of Jennifer Rowsom.