The venue is packed with people there to celebrate, give love and show support. As attendees enjoy platters of wraps and other goodies, a live DJ and brief performances by Blake Carrington and Rich Kidd, they walk around the art filled storefront, appreciating the hats lining the walls, pinned up and on glass shelves.
“It’s nice to put their hats on the shelves and have their hats check out just as well as the gigantic brands. These guys are doing it locally and infused with spirit.” – Dameion Royes
Towards the front of the packed boutique sit three designs by 5ives On Top, a denim bleached hat, corduroy camel and all mesh nautical themed one. “I was the guy with the manual silk screen press in my basement, shooting screens – getting dirty, I couldn’t afford to get it done,” shares Matthew Flammia, the brand’s owner who has come far from his beginnings, becoming a manufacturer as well. “What the brand wants to do is reach out to people that are pretty much in subsidiary or community housing, who don’t have the opportunity to get their ideas out there. We go out to tell them they can do what they want to do.”
The brand’s infamous Scarborough hat, which pays homage to Toronto’s east end, is one of its biggest attractions right now. Damaine Brown, a.k.a. Maija of SIXTYmg Art, who partnered with 5ives on releasing the hat – which sold out in a day – says the opportunity to work with Brimz was a dream come true.
“Dameion is giving the youth a place to be, and something to look forward to – a place to grow their art.” – Damaine Brown
“Dameion is giving the youth a place to be, and something to look forward to – a place to grow their art,” Brown says. “There are a lot of people out there that would just close the door, because we’re up and coming or locals – but we’re here to come up from the city, it’s our time.”
The owner of AEON Attire, Weiming Yuan, knows about the experience Brown speaks of all too well. A unisex accessories brand, AEON incorporates function in its fashion designs; for example, offering touch-screen compatible gloves that are still stylish. “We started the company a little over a year ago, and are sold in over 30 stores around North America,” explains Yuan. “Street performing to fund our venture, it wasn’t like flipping burgers... and fast forward a couple months, for every scarf sold, we donated one to homeless youth in Toronto.”
Royes’ support is clearly bringing together a community of like-minded individuals. He is dedicated to bringing awareness to the upcoming brands in the city, even being the only vendor for brand Love Thy Fitted, which focuses on the story behind individual hats and custom designs each fitted. “It’s nice to put their hats on the shelves and have their hats check out just as well as the gigantic brands. These guys are doing it locally and infused with spirit,” says Royes. “We are happy the community has chosen us. These local designers want to be a part of the movement we are creating at Brimz. We’re out here to shift the culture and show that youth are talented and give them platform.”
Words By. Dinusha Wijemanne + Photos By. Martika Gregory
Please Note: This was originally published via Urbanology Magazine.