We’re constantly bombarded with imagery at every turn in Toronto. “I think one of the most notable things about Lost & Found is how meditative and grounded it makes me feel,” Navroz tells me before we visit the shop to chat with owner, Jonathan Elias about his new Surf Shop.
City life can be overwhelming, and Navroz returns to Lost & Found as a reference point. “This is what I need to be wearing,” she emphasizes.
After opening in January 2011, Lost & Found moved to its permanent digs on Queen & Ossington in November 2013. Starting out as a coffee shop, they eventually incorporated menswear. “We had the trifecta – a barber shop, coffee shop and menswear. After the barbers moved out, we felt compelled to create a revolving space,” says Jonathan.
The impending summer months and wanting to dedicate the space to Bather, an entirely Toronto brand, provided inspiration for the Surf Shop. “It was fun transitioning the room into what it is now. The DIY project came into fruition shortly after the barbers left in April 2015.”
Jonathan explains that a surf shop is so unexpected in Toronto. And while people don’t necessarily associate surfing with Toronto, Surf the Greats and cold water surfing are helping change that. “It’s not only about surfing, but also the culture of surfing,” he says.
The Surf Shop is about taking a vacation from your day-to-day life, it’s dedicated to the weekend. As Jonathan explains, “it’s an oasis from the day-to-day drudgery of life.
The team at Lost & Found wanted to offer a lifestyle shop. And with increased access to blogs and Instagram, more and more people are willing to try different looks.
Why is there a resurgence in surf culture?
I think skate culture has always been prevalent in Canada. Surfing itself is relaxed, it’s an escape. I don’t think it’s necessarily a resurgence, but people are maybe more aware of it.
You were recently in Japan, how does shopping differ?
In Japan, people shop for inspiration. So much thought is put into the smallest details and it’s very methodical. It’s the ethos of shopping in Japan, and in terms of merchandising and presentation, it’s very inviting. As Westerners, we usually shop for a specific item or occasion. We don’t necessarily want to browse through everything, we’re consumers here.
Can we anticipate some new Japanese lines?
One of the reasons we went to Japan was to pick up a Japanese brand called The Real McCoys. It’s essentially based off World War II silhouettes. They make M65 jackets, A1 bombers, and all the pieces are specced to exactly what they were in the war, but with a modern cut. It’s very authentic, you can see the craftsmanship and quality in every piece.
This heritage aspect is the epitome of what Lost & Found is all about. There’s a reason why many of the brands we carry are 100 years old. They’re doing something right, but they’re not reinventing the wheel. People love the wheel, they don’t want to see crazy differences in what we offer. They like slight updates and alterations.
You’ll be attending the Capsule shows soon, what are your hopes?
The best part of going to New York is visiting the brands. They’re amazing people, and we love meeting them face-to-face. They’re very receptive to how their products are doing, and what they should do differently. We love investing in the brands we already carry, and potentially add one or two new brands.
The team also gathers inspiration in New York: “people are constantly doing things, and you always have to be one step ahead.”
What’s iconic in terms of surf?
“I grew up in the nineties, and Quiksilver was iconic for me and resonated with me. I was 19 or 20 and I was obsessed. I could relate to it, it was fun, the branding was great. I would love to see a resurgence of BodyGlove and Ocean Pacific. What epitomized Hawaii. I think those brands could easily be resurrected with the
You know garments, fabrics, and cuts so well. Would you ever design a house brand?
We’ll do a house brand, but it will be an interpretation of what we all like. It’s essential to work in collaboration as we all have different ideas, interpretations, and understandings. I couldn’t do it on my own.
Navroz, a long-time Lost & Found fan, finds that newly introduced pieces are always life-changing. I can feel her excitement when Jonathan mentions they’ll be introducing belts and wallets come September.
As Jonathan states, “that’s where the name Lost & Found comes from – you can get lost in the brand and find something you’ve never seen before.”