Upscale and trendy New York City-based eyewear and accessory brand Illesteva has opened its first Canadian location at 829 Queen Street West in Toronto. It’s the company’s first freestanding international store, and also the largest in the company to date.
The two-level store was designed by Toronto-based MSDS studio, and it features the brand’s full eyewear collection as well as leather goods, umbrellas and a ‘build your own bar’.
Illesteva is located in an area considered to be one of the ‘hippest’ in the world, joining a number of other optical retailers in the area, including Cutler & Gross and Warby Parker, the latter of which opened its first Canadian store nearby last summer.
“Toronto, specifically Queen Street West, is a natural fit. While we’ve expanded our retail division quite rapidly, we always look to areas with a real sense of community and history. Queens West has seen a lot of changes over the last few years, but you’ll still see many locally-owned shops, cafes and restaurants as you walk down the street,” said Illesteva CEO Daniel Silberman.
Besides the new Toronto store, Illesteva operates eight store locations, seven of which are in the United States. American cities include New York City (two stores), Los Angeles (three stores), Miami (two stores), and one in Boston. Illesteva’s only non-U.S. store is in London, UK, operating as a concession within Selfridges department store.
Illesteva was founded in New York City in 2010, and it sells eyewear that is handmade in France and Italy. Designs include classic shapes that utilize contemporary materials (such as acetate, bamboo, wood, titanium and natural buffalo horn), resulting in a brand that is both trendy as well as pricey. The brand has recently expanded its offerings to include a line of hand-finished leather goods, umbrellas, backpacks and bags, transforming Illesteva into a lifestyle brand.