Renowned Canadian jewelry designer Dean Davidson is celebrating his 15th anniversary by opening his first Canadian store in Toronto.
The 1,000-square-foot store in Cabbagetown South in downtown Toronto, located on 145 Berkeley Street at Queen St East, features a commissioned sculpture by Taiwanese-Canadian artist Dennis Lin, utilizing the same brass that Davidson uses in his jewelry.
Internationally recognized, Dean Davidson has been seen on celebrities like Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau and the Duchess of Sussex, Meaghan Markle.
Dean Davidson specializes in brushed gold jewelry, silver and custom semi-precious gemstones.
“I’ve lived in this neighbourhood for around 10 years. We love the area. It’s very up and coming. Lots of great changes happening in the neighbourhood and I actually fell in love with this building many years ago. There was a men’s clothing store here called Haven and I thought I would love to have a boutique here one day. And one day I came across the listing and it ended up there was a great office component on the second floor so we decided it was time. We felt like it was the perfect spot,” said Davidson.
“And we feel like too that it’s a destination for our customers. We weren’t looking for the foot traffic as much.”
The location includes retail space on the main floor and a design studio and office space on the second floor.
“It’s really beautiful. It’s all glass. Windows all around,” he said.
“We’re so grateful to all of our loyal customers who have helped fuel our growth. We’ve seen a lot of growth over the last few years and we just felt it was the right time (to open a physical store). We have a large wholesale business and ecomm business. We wanted to give our customers the opportunity to be immersed in the brand and really for them to experience the full collection in one place. They’ve seen the product online and in stores like part of the collection but now they’re going to get a full appreciation for what the brand is. I just really felt that it was the right time to introduce a retail component.”
The brand is sold in about 250 boutiques worldwide including Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Harvey Nichols in Hong Kong among others. About 50 per cent of the business is online.
Davidson said a goal is to open more of its own stores in the future. There are no current concrete plans yet.
“I worked in agriculture for a number of years. I ended up designing jewelry for Paul Hardy who is from Calgary. He’s a women’s wear designer. I worked with him for three years and then silversmithing classes at ACAD (Alberta University of the Arts) in Calgary and then ended up designing my own collection. That’s 15 years ago now,” he said.
“I launched my first collection 15 years ago. Holt Renfrew picked up that first collection and it just kind of flourished from there.”
Travel is at the very heart of the Dean Davidson brand. Balinese basket weaving, the bamboo forest of Kyoto, and Brazil’s otherworldly sand dunes have all served as inspiration for DD collections, resulting in pieces that transcend time and geographical borders. Fully immersing himself in every place he visits, his perspective as a designer is continually broadened. With each piece, he hopes to encapsulate the wonder and reverence gained from his experiences around the world and share it with the wearer.
Davidson chose to partner with a family-owned workshop of artisans early on in the brand’s foundation. Located in Jaipur, India, the multigenerational workshop cuts every gemstone by hand according to Davidson’s original designs, marrying time-honoured tradition with forward-thinking aesthetics.
Davidson was named the 2019 Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards’ Accessory Designer of the Year.
Davidson said the retailer is known as a demi-fine jewelry brand. The focus is on quality and the look of fine jewelry but at an affordable price point.
“All of our gemstones are hand picked in India. We use better quality metals as well and we’ve worked really hard to create a product that is really long-lasting.”
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