If your image of a vegan is someone with bad hair and Birkenstocks eating a piece of raw tofu on quinoa, Hellenic Vincent De Paul wants to change that.
With almost 12 million Canadians making the move towards a vegetarian diet, there is an expectation that Toronto restaurants cater to these patrons in the menu options. Stalwart favourites like The Hogtown Vegan and Fresh, compete with Doomies and Awai; and foodies are just as likely to eat nose to tail charcuterie as they are artichoke ravioli.
But The Imperative insists that Veganism is more than a diet, it’s a lifestyle. With the millennial drive to conscious consumption, many fashion fans are turning away from Prada bags – not because of the aesthetic, but because of the hide.
Depending on the day, staff may greet you with a vibrant smile, or the contempt of a yoga hoser who has to work instead of going to a Grade 12 party. Still, the items are carefully curated. Like a tiny department store, The Imperative hosts an impressive collection of wares, beauty products, clothes and footwear.
Vegan lipstick and nail polish causes one to pause, and shudder, while wondering what the hell is in lipstick that’s not vegan.
Trendy parkas by HoodLamb come with fake fur hoods and collars, and you would swear coats by Vaute are made of a wool/cashmere blend. Pleather is no longer the laughable poor cousin of leather, but has come into its own, with biker jackets, minis, and gorgeous laser-cut crop tops by Cara Cheung. While some of the clothes are made in China, they are made in factories where workers are paid a fair wage. The style is minimalist – these are core pieces to build a wardrobe on, not fads for disposable, fast fashion.
Mechaly bags are bold and refined – with embossed skulls adding a subtle punk element. Downstairs the shoes and boots offer cool classic looks – pumps, brogues and sneakers could snuggle up to Cole Haan, but are way more affordable in price points hovering around $120.00.
Located at 1332 Queen St W, The Imperative is worth a look, even if you’ll be headed to the Black Hoof afterwards!