The word “Balance” is the ability to maintain the center of gravity. When used to describe a person’s character they are usually portrayed as someone who is grounded and success oriented. I guess Balance Velasquez’s parents knew that their son would posses these very admirable traits at birth. Balance Velasquez is co-owner of the Editorial Showroom along with Rob Lo located in Toronto. Editorial is a wholesale company that distributes their designer labels to some of the major retail buyers in Canada. They act as agents for all the brands that they carry within the store. Balance started his journey in fashion working in retail for Club Monaco and Mexx. Academically he took Marketing in school which he attributes to his success thus far. After school, Balance had the opportunity to interview with Diesel where he was hired on the spot for fit modeling for the east coast demographic where he spent two years. Balance then went on to work for 3 years at J. Lindeberg as a denim specialist, his client base involved the whole of Canada. There he had the opportunity to start travelling and meeting all his contacts throughout the country. That’s when he met his business partner Rob Lo who was at the time one of his J. Lindeberg’s clients. Rob then pitch the idea to Balance to start the business in November 2008 and by early 2009 the Editorial Showroom was born and the rest is history.
Like most driven individuals Balance wanted to branch off and be independent, to obtain this self-employment was the next definite step. After working within this industry, Balance had a very strong business relationships and trust with his client base as a result making it easier for them to be willing to follow. “Half of this game is getting the buyers in the door, showing the brands and making the appointments. It’s a really big relationship business and I’m glad to say that a lot of my clients did respect what I was doing and they all came when I called them.” Upon walking into Editorial your first impression would be that this is a retail store. With its brick walls, stained hardwood floors, vintage furniture and all designer labels neatly stored in their own sections. Balance stated that he and Rob Lo designed and built everything in the store. They wanted the esthetics of the store to reflect that of a boutique so when visited by their clients they would have the same feel as their own stores. The overall vintage look of the Editorial Showroom compliments the brands that they carry. The Heritage style is the common theme amongst all the brands. The Heritage look is basically clothing with character, vintage shirts, denim, shoes and bags etc. I think Balance put it best in his interview with Globe and Mail “When people are looking for a shirt and there’s a history behind it, it’s an added selling feature”.
Balance is an avid reader of magazines and the occasional blog when it comes to finding new brands. Travelling to Europe and Asia is also very important as well because Balance describes these regions as “brand machines”. Referrals from friends and signing one of Canada’s major labels Wings and Horns can create a lot of business as well. “Wings and Horns has a huge cult following and after we signed them a lot of brands wanted to work with us.” Currently Editorial has 10 brands on its roster; Wings and Horns, Gitman Vintage, Krane Design, Sans Vanite, 18 Waits, Baxter of California, Lilly and Jae, Fjall Raven, Filson and Blanc et Noir. When asked which one of the brands that best represent his own personal style he said that would be Wings and Horns. “It’s a cleaner look but at the same time it has a modern work wear look to it. It is causally designed, however you look very polished at the same time. You will be wearing a nice pair of chinos with a cardigan, great oxford shirt even though you are not wearing a suit, you still look very presentable and business like.”
Besides the typical jackets, shirts and other articles of clothing Editorial carries “lifestyles pieces” as Balance refers to them. Luggage, bags, all accessories, hats, bandanas, scarves and men’s grooming products. Baxter of California is a 40 year old company who was the innovator that took notice to men’s skin care. Their products consist of shaving, perfumes, skin care products and even candles. Filson, fishing and hunting company based out of Seattle 100 years ago, is making a rebirth in the fashion industry according to Balance with luggage, duffle bags and computer bags. These items are made out of a mixture of wax canvas and leather.
Editorial also carries a ladies clothing line called Lily and Jae out of Vancouver. Balance describes he line as “tom boyish look” however at the same time she makes very elegant cocktail dresses and suits. Her collection consist of some heritage looks, she did the female version to the Hudson Bay jacket. He also went on to say that even though she makes pretty pieces and the atmosphere in the showroom is very masculine her collection does not stick out like a “sore thumb” because she also has work wear pieces such as the boyfriend tee and sweater.
Now I know you are basically dealing with fall 2010 line, what are some of the trends for this Heritage Style?
“Fall 2010 going forward, I see we are still doing a lot of work wear stuff. When it comes to outerwear pieces you will find water resistant and coated fabrics which are great. Fjall Raven right now is something we want to take on going head to head with Canada Goose. That’s another thing about the Swedes, they have locked into this market, with their technical fabrics. Styling in fit is very important as well and I think for the most part you will see a lot of work wear inspired clothing at the same time. I also see a lot of Varsity jackets coming out for fall as well.”
Can you list some of the retailers that carry your brands?
“Some of the retailers, off the top of my head that carry my brands would be Holt Renfrew, TNT, Uncle Otis and Serpentine.”
What advice would you give to someone trying to get into your line of work?
“To be honest school is great. I wouldn’t say I got everything from school but it definitely gave me a foundation, especially on the Marketing aspect. If you’re more focused, really love what you do and understand fashion you can take it a long way. If you are surrounded by the right things, right people and you put yourself out there. I think that is a really good way to succeed and to find your niche in this business. Fashion is such a broad avenue. They are so many jobs you can do. You could do retail, sales, design, you could do all that stuff depending on what you want to do as long as you love what you are doing. Fashion is definitely more a passionate business than anything, you got to really love what you are doing and understand to succeed in it and it reflects in your work. If you think fashion is this big glamorous business it’s definitely not, because I’m lugging bags around throughout the city, there is also a very blue collar part to this job.”