Far Away Eyes, an eclectic fashion boutique, opens on Queen East
By Anna Silman
Jewellery and more on Queen East (Images: Anna Silman)
Walking into Katelyn Joliat’s new Queen East store, Far Away Eyes, we’re not immediately certain what kind of establishment we’re dealing with. With an assortment of intricate, hand-crafted jewellery, a rack of white graphic tees paired with classic denim and a variety of eclectic house-wares — all carefully displayed using items from Joliat’s childhood pastimes — you feel more like you’re entering a minuscule, beautifully-curated gallery than a retail business.
Joliat herself is a jewellery designer, and it’s evident that she has applied her creativity and eye for detail to the shop’s decor. From the miniature black skull candles atop one of the cabinets to a cluster of pink crystals speckled with silver rings, not to mention the array of chess pieces, alphabet blocks and old records that line the shelves, it’s difficult to tell what is for sale and what is merely embellishment.
What is clear, however, is that Joliat’s personal touch pervades every aspect of the store.
“Using my childhood games as a way of merchandising, that was a way of bringing a little piece of me in to the store,” Joliat says.
She started her own jewellery line, k8, about five years ago, and it can be found amongst the store’s treasures. K8’s recurring motifs — crosses, feathers, moons, hearts ($40-$200) — are indicative of her feminine aesthetic.
“In a way the store was a vehicle to showcase my own stuff,” she says. At the same time, she didn’t want to be pigeonholed. “I always wanted to sell amongst others.”
She has paired her own line with pieces sourced from a range of “crazy talented” North American designers, mostly from New York. Elisa Solomon offers delicate sterling silver hearts inset with gems, which Joliat calls “light and airy and beautiful,” while metalworker Flotsam and Jetsam offers hand-welded pieces based in alchemy and religion, often with a nautical bent. These pieces share the attention to detail found elsewhere in the store, from the pair of sterling silver “stormy sea cuffs” featuring images of the ocean ($140) to an intricate charm bracelet studded with miniature weapons ($125).
But while Joliat’s first love is jewellery, she wanted to provide some options for those who may not be able to afford bringing home a ring or necklace (although with offerings like the Bing Bang earrings for $35, there should be something for even the most frugal of shoppers).
“Jewellery is an investment,” Joliat acknowledges. “But if people don’t want to buy jewellery, I want them to be able to come out with something small, like a Moleskine notebook [$8-$25] or a $15 candle.”
And so Far Away Eyes also features an array of eclectic wares and “little gifty ideas” hand-picked by Joliat, including dry hair shampoo from Lulu Organics, handmade, all-natural lotion from Toronto’s Ella’s Botanicals and natural fragrance candles from Modern Alchemy ($25-35)
Joliat also wanted to have a small selection of women’s clothing, although the pieces ultimately ended up taking on a unisex bent. These include graphic tees from Adieu ($40) and the more modestly priced No Lost Witches ($15), jeans from Courtshop denim ($120) and a small collection of vintage high heels ($20-45). And although Far Away Eyes is far from a vintage store, she is also considering getting some vintage black tees, her own staple wardrobe item.
“All I wear is vintage black tees,” says Joliat in a cut-up tee featuring a Jack Daniels logo. “So I’m going to offer them, because I think they look awesome with denim and a great necklace.”
Despite the eclectic offerings found in the store, the pieces have an integral harmony to them, tied together by Joliat’s keenly aesthetic eye. And whether we’ve come by to shop, or merely to look, we’re more than happy to wile away an afternoon in her closet and company.
Far Away Eyes. 295 Queen St. E.