Of all the stores we visited in Toronto, Working Title may have had the best synergy between the brands it carried and its overall vibe. Clean, minimal and, dare we say, Scandinavian, the shop itself feels like an easy-going oasis amidst the city's bustling menswear scene. We spoke with co-owner Michael Fong to break it all down.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

I'm Michael Fong, and I'm one of the co-owners of Working Title. As an owner/operator, I do a little bit of everything at the shop. If I had to narrow it down to my main responsibilities, I would say Buyer, Store Manager, and E-Commerce Manager.

What’s the brief history of Working Title? When did you open? Why did you get started?

Working Title opened in 2013. Naturally, we weren't quite as confident in the kind of shop that we wanted to be or what we wanted to communicate early on. It was always a priority of ours to work within the space of contemporary fashion - we just needed to figure out how to present our perspective. That has a lot to do with why we opened the shop. We felt that contemporary brands were not being properly or well represented from our point of view.

In your opinion, what’s special about Toronto’s men’s fashion scene and what sets your shop apart?

The most impressive thing to me is the retail landscape. Toronto has a number of great shops that cover the various parts of fashion, such that pieces and brands are becoming more available to consumers in the city. What sets Working Title apart would be the space in contemporary fashion we occupy. Maybe not so much in the specific brands we carry, but rather the assortment of brands and the way we present them.

For those that have yet to visit, how would you describe Working Title and its vibe?

Easy and relaxed. We're a destination shop so we're lower traffic, and customers have an opportunity to shop in a more intimate environment. The shop underwent a redesign last year, and one of the focus points was to make the shop easier to navigate and also make it easier for customers to interact with the product.

What are some of your favorite brands and labels to stock?

Personal favourite brands are Our Legacy, Margaret Howell, and Proper Gang. Our Legacy is what we wear for the most part at the shop. The fit and fabrics are great, and it's probably the best value brand we carry. Margaret Howell's products are so simple and well made. The design ethos behind the brand is one we really identify with. Proper Gang is a newer brand that continues to impress us. It reminds us a lot of Adam Kimmel.

Any brands and labels you’re excited to add?

The two big additions for AW16 are Comme Des Garçons SHIRT and Très Bien. CDG SHIRT is a brand we've wanted to carry for awhile now, but it finally felt like the right fit for this coming season. We're huge fans of Très Bien (I still order stuff from them despite having my own shop). It's super cool that we get to be among the first stores to carry their in-house line.

With so much of men’s fashion retail moving towards e-commerce what’s the benefit of having a brick and mortar shop in 2016?

For our tier of retail, I think the multi-channel approach is the best way to drive sales. The interaction online is just as important as the interaction in-store. With an online shop, you try to communicate the kind of store you are to an audience. Having said that, there are still consumers that do want to purchase in-store, even after being on the website. I think a brick and mortar shop is still an essential way to further communicate your ideas, ideally in a manner that is coherent and consistent with your website. As well, I do still believe in the added value of the in-store experience, which is something that can't replicated or replaced.

What’s the future of Working Title look like?

Working Title has been changing since the day we opened. One of the best parts of being a team of owner/operators is the liberty we have in being able to control the direction of the shop. We have a few ideas, but I think I'll keep them in my back pocket for now.

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