In the era of the dilettante, the specialist truly is king. While many individuals make purchases based on convenience and prevalence, a burgeoning international collective of connoisseurs are attuned to the old world values of craftsmanship, detailed design, sincerity and knowledge. These values allow them a deeper level of involvement with the items, sounds, scenes and comrades they choose to surround themselves with.
| dutil Toronto Store
(Source: Trevor Brady).
Taking the role of specialist and really going the distance is the independent denim impresario dutil: a Vancouver-based retailer and denim brand that has been making waves on the denim scene since 2006. With the recent addition of its second location on Toronto's Queen's Pen strip, dutil is easily poised to become a central location for any self-respecting denim aficionado or design firm.
The team and its owner, Eric Dickstein, take their roles as specialists to heart, in order to create an honest and well-crafted retail experience based solely in denim. If you ever find yourself in search of a new pair of jeans or are simply undergoing a hunt for apparel knowledge, you have certainly come to the right people. To give a small example of the stock they carry, familiarize yourself with Nudie, Naked & Famous, Rag + Bone, Acne, APC, Pure Blue Japan, Edwin, Tellason, Kicking Mule Workshop and Levi's Made and Crafted (to name only a few).
Dutil's understanding of the industry and its impeccable selection easily makes it one of the most capable locations for denim in North America: displaying in-depth knowledge on the history of denim, along with strong connections to many current international groups and designers. Both locations boast a tight knit staff of denim enthusiasts you'd be hard-pressed to stump with any denim-related inquiry. From nuances of manufacturing to the differences in selvedge, the group's personnel exemplify a wealth of knowledge that is quite refreshing for the global denim seeker.
|dutil quintessential slim collection
(Source: dutil website).
Taking your first step inside dutil's retail spaces, one can instantly recognize not only how thoroughly the interior design replicates the craftsmanship present in all of the stock but also how attuned the floor-staff are to their surroundings. From the handmade wooden shelving and timely window displays to old Singer sewing machines, the shop space reverts back to a time when specialization and personality were the name of the game.
I had the pleasure of speaking with dutil owner Eric Dickstein and buyer/manager Cayley Orman.
David Walmsley: What is your definition of dutil?
Eric Dickstein: dutil is North America's place where true denim enthusiasts buy their jeans.
DM: What sets dutil apart from other denim locations in North America?
ED: Our product mix, the customer service experience, and truly focusing on a single commodity.
DM: Who is the dutil patron?
ED: Our customer is a world traveller, a student, a denim head: one who cares about quality and the highest level of customer service.
DM: What criteria do you use when buying denim stock for dutil?
ED: We source denim that has quality, as well as an interesting story that we can articulate to our customers.
Cayley Orman: We really look for brands whom we want to support and who want to support us. It's really important as a small business and we want to support other small and up-and-coming companies, as well. We're quite classic: we're not always trying to keep up with every trend. We're really more about pure denim and keeping the core roots of the culture. The most important factors are quality, fit and maintaining a tight knit community that we can support and work closely with.
DM: As an independent retailer, how do you source clients or grab the eyes and patronage of customers and connoisseurs?
ED: We believe our formula is all about discovery and culture. We know that it's always more exciting to discover something.
CO: We're definitely a specialty shop so we want to market to everyone who loves denim. We have such a wide variety of styles; really allowing us to cater to almost everybody, while keeping it true and classic…still need to be on-game but what is important is just really great denim, quality, materials and cuts. The quality basically sells itself: it's really what people are looking for. In this way, we really keep our stock true to what we believe in.
DM: What inspired the Quintessential denim line? How did dutil go from a specialized retailer to creating its own brand of jeans?
ED: I can tell you that we are inspired by the brand that has basically influenced every denim brand in the marketplace: Levi's. Anyone who would deny their influence is simply a liar! When you gather information from so many denim brands, you are inspired over what they have done perfectly and what design flaws are apparent: both are equally important pieces of information. Basically, we know how to create great fits through the information we have acquired in this way. That being said, our design aesthetic is based in simplicity.
CO: We're all so passionate about denim and strive to be really knowledgeable. We talk to and work with so many different people that we took the information we have received from all over the place and created something we think brings out the best of what denim has to offer. That's why it's called The Quintessential: a high level of sophistication that anyone can wear, whether you're a 21 year-old student or pushing 50.
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