The Shop - Midtown Closet by Michael Ferreira

We can begin by explaining what the shop is to us. The shop firstly, is a family to us. Owners have grown up in the midtown Toronto district same as the Paradise Reef founders. It something that seems to grow in the kids who grow up in the area. HUNGER! Midtown Closet is a location to find some of the best people in the shoe, apparel, music, and event game. Sit back and listen, not only will you have an event to go to within a week but you'll begin to understand the rooting value of some of their clothing and the growing rap culture of Toronto. Knowledge is powerful, and these guys have it. If you haven't passed by, your missing out on a possibly life changing moment. Instead hunting for pieces online, 9/10 times you'll walk into their store and it'll be right there sitting in front of you, ready to be put on. Us at the Paradise Reef have had clothing at the shop from our Summer 16' exclusive collection which did fairly well and we continue to release exclusive pieces to cater our customer and Midtown's needs. Before you read our detailed interview and Q&A from the gentlemen at Midtown, memorize this address, instagram, and website below so you can swing by to find out for yourself what all the hype is about at Midtown Closet.

Midtown Closet- 1845 Davenport Rd, Toronto, ON M6N 1B8
@midtowncloset
www.midtowncloset.com

 

So what is the Midtown Closet?

Midtown Closet is a collaborative venture to create the midtown areas first and torontos best Vintage/Consignment store with vocal recording booth. Long time friends Nick and Fabian have a knowledge and passion for sneakers, Clothing, and music culture in Toronto, but realized the lack of access to those inspirations in the city. As well both partners have a grass roots connection to the neighbourhood being born and raised in the midtown area. These aspects of the urban lifestyle, direct connection to the area and music have a perfect marriage going by the name of "Midtown Closet".

Fabian "Digga" Fazari

Fabian has extensive knowledge of sneaker history, Vintage Collections and hype gear.  Fabian has been involved in the sneaker community since he was 16 years old giving him 10 years of experience in the field of Buy/Sell/Trade.  His mission is to finally have his neighbour \hood in the lime light for fashion and to be the catalyst for drastic change in the midtown area.

Nick "Bunlo" Acosta

Nick has been recording since he has been 18 years old.  Both partners truly established their relationship in Nicks home studio which inspired the name Midtown Closet because the first studio the partners met at was in a basement apartment and the booth was in a Closet.  His great passion for creating amazing music and knowledge of local hip hop artist make the environment unique to any other studio you will find in the city.  The Modo of the Studio is "For Artists, By Artist" to help create a comfortable space for musicians to create their Art.

Q&A:

What made you start midtown closet? Has it been something you pictured yourself doing for a long time?

Both partners being from the area knew that they wanted to stay close to their roots, and the shopping content in the area is scarce for the younger demographic.  This evident void helped give us the courage to create midtown closet. Both partners have been working in thier field for a while but the venture of MidtownCloset Came up organically with no real background plan we just did it.

What is the overall image you are trying to portray?

This shop is a creation of the full embodiment of the urban lifestyle from the clothing style to the music to the overall vibe.  the image speaks for its self and it is hard t explain because nothing like this has been done in our city to this capacity.  there are many shops where inspiration is pulled from but the vibe and style here is unique

Where do you see the business in 5 years?

In the next 5 years we hope to have expanded into different locations through canada and the states. Also hope to have our own independent label to showcase our artists talent weather it be music, graf, videography, etc...

What is your Goal with the studio and the remainder of the shop?

Through the studio we will have a collection of artist with the need to have their music heard but, limited local entities that showcase toronto talent.  we hope to fill this void using the space downstairs for the Midtown Podcast where we will interview local artist about their music, the culture and current events.

What is one of the hardest challenges you have had to overcome since you have been open?

The hardest thing would have to be location being that we are not located downtown or near any busy intersections.  that being said since we are from the area we do serve a fair share of clientele but, we want the rest of our city to experience the real midtown vibe in the neighbourhood that inspired the name. 

What business or business owners do you look to for inspiration?

The two that stand out the most are "F as in frank" and "Community 54" because of the impact they have had in their communities while still seeing major success within the culture. As a kids i remember looking at the f as in frank website for the best snapbacks and vintage streetwear inspiring majority of my fashion interests and love for the DIG.  Community 54 was the first store i can remember throwing the most insane parties with the most influential young artists at the time. The clash of Vintage fashion, Hip Hop, and progression of the culture is how midtown was born having these two shops as major inspiration.

To conclude the article we have some photos of our latest merch in store.

Lunchables by Michael Ferreira

Shot in his hometown of Gainesville before starting on a new journey to Los Angeles, ‘Lunchables’ is the latest set on Sticks and Stones by Sean Doolan starring Shirley Torres.

“This series goes a lot deeper than the surface makes it out to be. My first car & I had to call it quits, so I thought it was only right to shoot where I left her, the junkyard.”

You might be asking yourself why is this series called ‘Lunchables’ if it was shot in a junkyard? My answer to that is because I had been craving food for a long while as I was editing these flicks & well, who doesn’t like pizza Lunchables?”

Recreating Paradise with @Arytron by Michael Ferreira

 

We recently discovered a talented individual from a location that really is described as Paradise.

Aryton Page (A.K.A @arytron on social media), 27,  was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii. Though he's migrated to numerous cities like Las Vegas and Chicago, he is currently back in his homeland. Through his art work he manages to capture a little piece of paradise in any location. While supervising a Vans store, Aryton manages to find time to photograph his surroundings and alters the images to create breath-taking masterpieces. His use of soothing-light colours like pinks, blues, and whites enhance the relaxing vibrations projected into the world.

We took the time to get to know Aryton and ask him a few questions. Aryton is in the spotlight for our latest feature.

What inspires you and your work?

There is just so much talent out there. If journey into the Instagram wormhole, you're going to find some really creative and inspirational work. I don't really get inspired by particular styles or genres of photography/art, but rather just great work in general. When I see something truly unique or just flat-out badass, I get inspired by the prospect of the challenge to produce something better.

Where do you go and what do you do to inspire your creativity?

When I turned 18 I wanted a change of scenery, so naturally I moved to Vegas. I started working for Vans and I had the opportunity to do a bit of traveling because of the growth of the company. It was on a trip to New York where I was first inspired to capture my surroundings; the architecture simply amazed me as I had never seen anything like it.

            I returned to Vegas inspired and started up my Instagram. I was instantly drawn to the minimalist aesthetic, not just because of the simplicity, but because of the restraint necessary to pull off the style. It instantly changed the way I looked at the world, as suddenly I couldn't stop looking for the perfect building corner, or the loneliest tree. To this day, I'm constantly looking at my surroundings in a different perspective, just in case I see it differently than I did the day before.

 

How did you come about graphic design? Did you stumble upon it and decided to give it a try or always knew you wanted to pursue it?

Honestly I just wanted to be as good as other people, so I downloaded a handful of free apps and experimented. The idea that I could manipulate an image to match those in my head, was thrilling to me. I try countless color combinations until I find the one that really expresses the mood I am trying to purvey.

What programs or devices do you use for your art?

99% of the images on my account were taken with a camera phone (I currently have a Samsung S6 Edge), although I do have a Canon EOS 70D, I enjoy the accessibility of using my mobile device. The apps I use are "Photo Editor" available on the Play store, and Snapseed. I never use any filters because I enjoy achieving the look I want manually; I can get exactly what I want, and it's much more rewarding.

 

What’s your favorite piece? And what piece is most popular for viewers?

My favorite piece is one I took of a parking garage in Waikiki that I stumbled onto by accident. The reason being, I have a fascination with spiral staircases and have not been able to find one in Vegas or Hawaii (still no luck). One day I decided to take a solo photo-walk around Waikiki and I parked in a parking garage. I drove up to the top level and took the stairs, thinking I could get a cool perspective; it was unfortunately underwhelming to say the least. However, as I disappointingly exited the stairwell, I decided to look up (always look up). To my delight I saw a badass spiral that I just had to capture. Sometimes the best shot of the day is the one you least expect.

Aryton's favorite piece. This is a parking lot that came closest to his obsession of finding spiral stairs.

Aryton's favorite piece. This is a parking lot that came closest to his obsession of finding spiral stairs.

 

            The piece most popular for viewers varies tremendously. Sometimes a minimal tree will do very well, but other times it’s an architectural detail shot, or an empty road in the mountains.


How valuable do you think Instagram and other social media sites are for artists?

Invaluable. Without Instagram being available as an avenue in which artists can easily get their work out to the world, I don’t think there would be as much creativity as there is today. The communities that spawn organically via like-minded individuals coming together to share their personal visions are amazing. The instant gratification of having people you respect give you their approval and admiration breeds a drive to create. It’s all an endless cycle of inspiration.


What is up with your email? What does it mean? How do you remember it? (lol)

Haha! My email is a lot simpler that it looks at first glance. It’s simply a culmination of “Vegas”, where I lived, and “808”, the area code of Hawaii. (v8e0g8as@gmail.com)


What's your favorite location?

My favorite location is most definitely anywhere with clear skies, bright sunlight, and various objects. There is always something waiting to be photographed, it just depends on your perspective. Most people would be surprised by what’s right in front of them.


Top 2 favorite foods?

Pizza and Sushi. I’m sure I’m not alone when it comes to those two.


What’s your favorite fast food chain?

It’s actually a place I don’t have in Hawaii and that fact makes me sad every day. Raising Canes. They make the best chicken tenders in the world.


Your Top 3 music artists?

Currently on rotation I have Kavinsky, ASAP Rocky, and Alina Baraz.

 

Is there anyone you look up to?

There are so many artists that inspire me to put out great work everyday, but there are a few that really stick out. @nicanorgarcia, @mattcrump, @_ingo_1, @ninoisy, @o0fs0o, @chriscreature. What really stands out to me about this group of talented people is that they are so damn consistent, and consistently great. They all know exactly who they are as artists and they deliver with every post. It also helps that they are all really rad people.

 

Anyone dead or alive you'd like to meet, who would it be?

Leonardo Da Vinci. There is no one else who intrigues me more. I know a day spent with him would be life-changing.


Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?

5 years from now I plan on being back in the continental US, I’m just not sure where. I just know that no matter what I’m doing, I give it everything I have. Otherwise, what’s the point?!


What’s your ultimate dream?

My ultimate dream would definitely be me being able to travel around the world doing what I love. Being able to capture moments in new places, while meeting great people. I really don’t think it gets any better than that.

 

Describe what's Paradise to you in a few short sentences.

For me paradise is a state of mind. If I have my health, I can eat good food, and I am able to creatively express myself in some way, I couldn’t possibly ask for anything more.

TOM FW '16 by Michael Ferreira

Toronto Men’s Fashion Week remains one of the most enthralling events the city has to offer. This season’s event, sponsored by MAC cosmetics, showcased the best and upcoming designer clothing worldwide. 

 The Seven-day event took place in the heart of downtown Toronto, 444 Yonge Street, College Park, and is the eighth men’s fashion week in the world. TOM featured notable collections such as Diodati by Luca Galardo, Finezza, Christopher Bates and Hip and Bone, but also offered trunk shows, power brunches, and industry meet n' greets. 

 Hair and Makeup manager, Rainier Croft, who started off as a volunteer for Toronto men’s fashion week in 2014 (season 1), developed an unconditional love with the frenetic event. 

 “There’s no real regular day ever in fashion week, especially the first days,” said Croft.  

 “I’m coming in from 8 to 9 am in the morning to make sure everything is organized – organizing anything for his artists, making sure all their make up is out there – then hair and make up usually doesn’t start until 3, but I have people come in for around 1 o’clock, because it allows them to hang out and experience a cooler vibe – not having to be rushed and the peace of mind of relaxation is the vibe I prefer back stage.” 

 TOM’s prestige elevated this season with the inclusion of sponsors MAC and American Crew, but that equally motivates Croft and all the behind scenes workers to eclipse expectations. While that may offer additional pressure to volunteers and supervisors, Croft welcomed the challenge. 

“This is our first season sponsored by MAC, and it’s upped the bar and everything is at it’s absolute best. It’s fashion week but everything has to be quick.” 

 Croft was simply a volunteer during the event’s first season, but his devoted commitment to his duties, combined with his brief knowledge of special effects stood out – if a designer wanted something a bit crazy, Croft was able to offer his assistance. This is now Croft’s third season doing lead, and while the demands increase yearly, the opportunity to network, enjoy his trade, and occasionally meet stars such as Toronto Raptor, Jonas Valanciunas, and rapper, Kardinal Offishall, provides the young hair and make up manager joy. 

 “When fashion week ends you go through a depression, and you miss the blood sweat and tears, and you go back to the normal life and it’s boring.” 

 The Paradise Reef participated in bringing Three of our best Toronto photographers to the three day event to help photograph Mac Cosmetics, American Crew and the designer lines coming down the runway. All of which couldn't have happened without Rainier Croft. We were apart of something unique and visionary thanks to him.

 “What makes it so unique is because we were the first in Canada to have an exclusive men’s fashion week, and NYC followed a year after, so it was special to be apart of that experience and open that up to Canada.” 

TOM was stressful, fast paced and exhilarating but it was all worth its while to experience its atmosphere and passion each individual character who participated had. Till next year.

 

Written by: Tyrrell Meertins
                   Viktoria Sciacca

Artist Spotlight - YUNGSHRIMPTEMPURA by Michael Ferreira

So much for a cold winter.  

 The unbearable sub-zero weather, beautiful white snow, and the countless Canada Goose jackets that can be spotted on every busy street in the city were non-existent on this Monday night in January. You know, the nights where the wind is so strong that it feels like you’ve been punched in the face, or when the salted pavement is completely white. Instead it was a great night to venture out in the city.

 In the midst of witnessing the finest property and shopping facilities Liberty village has to offer, I found myself meeting an inspirational upcoming local DJ from Toronto. Most interviews take place in an office or your quiet coffee shop down the block, but those settings didn’t fit Quincy’s persona. 

 Within seconds, you could feel the confidence radiating through the Toronto-based DJ’s every word as we travelled to the rooftop of a loft near Lake Ontario. While watching Paradise Reef C.E.O, Michael Ferreira, conduct a brief photo shoot with Quincy, I observed the entire rooftop and the breathtaking skyline. 

Quincy isn’t your traditional model, yet despite his casual attire, he looked like a natural. After nearly 20 minutes of admiring one of the many breathtaking views in Toronto, the young DJ immediately described his life prior to dabbling with music. 

 “It’s actually so funny, I used to run a site actually called ‘Hello New World’ and it was a lifestyle site,” he said. I was into everything – lifestyle, music, fashion. I was into the art and obviously music – emphasizing that he was a big Dipset fan, D-block, Lil Wayne – that’s what I was doing really, running a website and connecting with people.” 

 Quincy is a fan of several current artists in the industry including Young Thug and Kodak Black, and his appreciation for the art of music is unparalleled. Regardless of the song roaring through Quincy’s car stereo system, the jubilation gleaming off his face following every note showcased his passion for music as a whole. 

 For the most part, Quincy’s association with Toronto artist, Derek Wise, suddenly made sense – specifically their aim to push the new music craze that’s called ‘glam wave’. “Derek’s music is ‘glam wave’, it’s like that motivational music that’s aimed for the ambitious youth.” 

 The glam wave is that hard hitting beat but it sounds pretty – like the synths that they’re using, the way his [Derek’s] voice sits on the track, and the confidence he has in his voice is just that glam shit. 

 Toronto’s music scene is attracting world wide buzz with the recent success of Drake, The Weeknd and Justin Bieber topping the weekly billboard charts on a consistent basis, which in return benefits upcoming local artists. The catchy lyrics and effortless wordplay combined with various smooth sounds is predominantly winning over an age where people constantly crave innovative music. 

 Suddenly new doors have opened for artists that would have never imagined to become successful. This isn’t an issue for Quincy as he laughs about his obsession with finding new music on Sound Cloud on his spare time. In today’s age we have the tools and sources to identify local artistsand Quincy smiled like a kid unwrapping his presents on Christmas day when sharing his pleasure with the current situation involving Toronto artists. 

I like to see people doing good in the city, because it shows that not only one person is getting all the love, people start recognizing new shit, and it makes the city look good.”  

 Toronto has been overlooked for years. That’s why back in the day, maybe four or five years ago I was proud when local artists were featured or mentioned Complex Magazine, because it was an accomplishment. 10 years ago you didn’t know that anyone was making music down here. It spreads the music and I like that this is happening. I mean right now, my hobby is going on sound cloud and finding new artists. 

 Quincy, however, is more than simply Wise’s manager. Similar to the current successful buzz flooding the Toronto streets, the blunt local DJ also aims to flourish in the music industry. Though many would possibly describe the studio as paradise, Quincy labelled his connection with the art as fun, and emphasized his willingness to be as a versatile as possible. 

 As he scrolls through his playlist in search of ‘Thru it All’ by Wintertime ZI, you realize that his taste in music is more diverse than the generic club hits constantly played on the radio. This is where Quincy encourages other DJ’s to stay true to their art, which equally fits his “tell you how it is” constructive criticism personality – not only does he want to succeed, but he seeks the best interest for others. 

 “Keep finding new music, and play the music you want to play that makes you feel good. I don’t only play old music and current shit; I play what I want I feel is best for the patrons. 

 Taking a glance at my watch, I realize that I’ve been chatting with Quincy for over an hour, and through that time I stumbled across the conclusion that the photo shoot and interview was reminiscent of the Toronto music scene for many years – it was low key, but pure and refreshing. With that, I realized that this is more than just your average aim to gain wealth and fame – every word and statement oozed passion and dedication to a craft Quincy aims to master. 

 Cycling through the music in Quincy’s music player, families are slowly concluding their nightly leisure events, whereas the wind speeds begin to elevate. But this is where the musical jack-of-all-trades states his dream of seeing both his family and friends sharing his successPicture your friends and family happy because you’re successful. That’s what will make me happy, just seeing everyone win it’s just so inspiring. 

 More so, Quincy’s determination to expand his skill-set provides belief that he’s headed in the right direction. “I like being around positive and successful people, cause it just only motivates you to be better. I’m a listener more than a talker anyways, so I try to connect and adapt to all sorts of people to get all the required information.” 

 Music is Quincy’s paradise. Through Quincy’s words and overall reaction to his wide-ranged song collection, the Toronto native simply wants to share his experience with others. The local DJ – who stated that annually earning millions of dollars wouldn’t halt his career – simply aims to leave a legacy with his current generation. 

 “I want to be one of the best taste makers to ever live by being able to say that everything I touched or was involved with was successful. People knowing what I was into and what I liked would be so cool, because I want to influence other people and give them a different vibe.” 

 Following the sight of Quincy’s luxurious Mercedes Benz speeding off into the nightlife, a sense of security lingers in the air. A young man with a dollar and a dream is destined to share his talent and devotion to music with hopes of becoming another world renowned icon from Toronto. Quincy’s confidence, fortitude, and openness to adaptability validate that the sky is the limit.

Written & Experienced by: Tyrrell Meertins