Remember when Ebay and Paypal were scary words? My Dad still won’t key in his credit card number online paranoid that someone, somewhere out there in the abyss, will steal his identity over the new Harry Connick Jr. cd on Amazon. What can I say? Online shopping isn’t for everybody. But if it’s for you, yes, you there reading a Eurotrash girl’s blog, then it’s time I introduced you to UKAMAKU.COM

Usually when we (Canadians) shop online it’s to procure items from foreign markets laced with duty, insurance and  heavy shipping and handling fees. Once upon a time, shopping online was the only way to get goodies from Victoria’s Secret, Sephora and Abercrombie without going over the border. Gosh, I used to wait weeks for the latest polo shirt. And now that Abercrombie is just down the street? You couldn’t pay me to wear it. No, no, it’s time I introduced you to UKAMAKU.COM is a virtual treasure chest for people like me, who don’t like to wear Abercrombie (and for people like you, who don’t want to look like everybody else). Born and raised in Toronto, stocks the creme de la creme of Canadian designer fare. But unless you work in the industry, attend LGFW, or are a Canadian fashion designer, chances are you have yet to enter the wonderful world of local brands.

Jenny Greco rings; MARLU necklace (both pieces available soon online!)

Earlier this week I visited the headquarters in Liberty Village where buyer and visionary, Marcus Kan, gave me the low-down behind this online shopping haven. This isn’t; Marcus handpicks every single item he advocates (as opposed to ‘stocks’ or ‘carries’), and behind every single item is a close relationship with the designer. Quality and design are the two utmost important factors for Marcus when working with a brand. And boy is he ever picky! “I won’t just stock a brand because it’s popular. I want to take unknown, extraordinary designer collections and give those designers the exposure they need to become popular”, says Marcus.

Designers like who? Well, a personal fav, Caitlin Power, for starters, who Marcus discovered three season’s ago. At times like these when Toronto it-girl, Amanda Lew Kee is relegated to a 1pm studio show, and Caitlin Power is, for the first time, included in the LGFW bill, you begin to wonder if the Canadian fashion industry is finally waking up from it’s dark age. Incidentally, Ukamaku stocks Power… not Lew Kee.

Caitlin Power: Fitted tail coat, $525 CAD;  Short fitted leather dress with gathered bottom, $685 CAD

There are so many other wonder brands up Marcus’ sleeves, though. Some brands he couldn’t disclose, which doesn’t surprise me because he is known to be a very secretive person. I did get one sneak peek, though, at Tetiana K.’s Spring/Summer 2012 collection – think Zac Posen meets Dace. Other cool designers include the renown Heidi Ackerman, Rachel Sin and Breeyn McCarney, who will make you this tailor-made dress in 10 days for $200.

White Leather Bodice Dress by Breeyn McCarney, tailor made, $200 CAD.

Ukamaku is also really really really great for finding that one-of-a-kind accessory. Runway favourite, Garde del Avante, does drop dead gorgeous pieces like the single-tier fish-bone earring (avec skull!)

Garde del Avante single-tier fish-bone earring, $120 CAD.

And yes, boys, they even have stuff for you! In my opinion, a fine-dressed gentlemen always has the perfect balance of simple and interesting. A simple black suit with an interesting pair of cufflinks or a very interesting pocket square will catch my eye. Try these: 

True Legend “The Messenger” cufflinks, $310 CAD; Deez Knots handkerchief (coming soon!)






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