By Megan Harman
High-end accessories brand Suzi Roher Accessories Inc. is preparing to open its first boutique next month, located in Toronto’s trendy Queen Street West neighbourhood.
A well-established brand that was launched in 1980 by designer Suzi Roher and her husband Michael Day, Suzi Roher Accessories is known for its handmade scarves and belts.
Roher began designing accessories when she was a teenager working in her mother’s fashion boutique, and noticed a lack of unique accessories to complement outfits.
“I saw that there was a niche missing,” says Roher, who is the company’s creative director. “There was nothing great on the market to tie an outfit together, so Suzi Roher accessories was born.”
The brand takes an artistic approach to its accessories, striving to make each item a unique and beautiful piece.
“Each scarf is an original piece of artwork,” says Samantha Day, director of Suzi Roher Accessories. “It’s really a marriage between fashion and art, because although each one is its own story and its own concept the same way an art piece would be, it’s really dictated by the colours of fashion and all of the trends that you see in the fashion world.”
Roher designs and manufactures each item by hand in her studio located in Toronto’s fashion district. She strives to innovate within her designs continuously, providing customers with a steadily evolving product lineup that adapts to changes in both the art world and fashion trends.
“For me, innovation is really important,” Roher says. “The whole concept was to create fashion tools for women when they get dressed in the morning, so they have these fabulous tools to put together their own creative outfit that will make them feel confident, and make a personal statement.”
The brand’s target market spans all ages, according to Roher. “Our customers are people who love beautiful things, and appreciate artwork and fashion,” she says. “You’re not just buying a scarf – you’re buying a piece of artwork that you can wear – it’s wearable art. That’s what keeps people coming back – it’s the story behind each piece.”
Suzi Roher Accessories distributes its products through other fashion boutiques and department stores throughout Canada, the U.S. and abroad. Stores carrying the brand in Canada include Andrews in Toronto, Ashia Mode and Marilyn’s in Vancouver, and BLU’s in Calgary and Edmonton, among others.
The company decided to open its own store to create a designated space where customers could get to know the brand.
“We thought it was a great time for us to transition and get a space in Toronto and show customers a little bit more of what Suzi Roher is,” says Day. “In the boutique, not only will we have the scarves and belts, but we’ll have Suzi Roher handbags and jewellery and a whole range of other things that we do that the rest of the world doesn’t get to see.”
The large 3,000-square-foot store is located at 870 Queen Street West near Trinity Bellwoods Park. “That atmosphere and energy in that part of downtown Toronto is somewhere we really want to be,” Day says.
The store, which is set for a soft opening in May, was designed by Toronto-based design shop Mason Studio. Day describes the space as “light and airy” and reminiscent of an art gallery, with the scarves and other accessories on display throughout the store.
“We think of it as part gallery, part store,” says Roher. “We’re trying to show our work because we really feel that our work is like art pieces, whether they’re belts, scarves or jewellery – they’re all little art pieces.”
In addition to the retail space on the main floor, the space includes a second floor that will serve as a gallery and event space. Roher anticipates hosting events targeted towards women in that space, featuring high profile female speakers.
Although Suzi Roher Accessories does not have any immediate plans to open additional boutiques, the company might consider further expansion in the future, Day says.