Today I wanted to share a special place with all of you, somewhere that is a little off the beaten path, a place that is filled to the brim with unique treasures and curiosities that anyone would be lucky to behold.
I first met those handsome gentlemen in the photo above, Paul A Heaton and Aaron Robert Duarte, at the wonderful Village Station Bazaar back in June and they wowed me with their impressive collection of vintage clothing and memorabilia. The items they sold were unlike any I had ever seen before, each piece of clothing and every oddity held a story and a presence. After speaking with them, I learnt of their immense online presence with a blog, online shop and website full of countless lookbooks that acted more like films than simple fashion shoots. Instantly, I was thrown back in time to a place of 50’s glamour mixed with the grittiness and mystery of greaser culture.
Now I want to take you back in time with me to The Eye of Faith – a true hidden gem in the city of Hamilton.
The Eye of Faith rests on the foundation of years of thrifting and seeking the treasures that lie in the mountains of clothing thrown wayside. Through the tribulations of managing a student budget while studying film, interior design, art, photography and fashion, their true passion for finding the beauty in the past helped Paul and Aaron realize the potential of the vintage market. The necessity for achieving a personal style on a dime then became a collection that the two friends turned into a business through their website and various flea markets around Toronto. Now a few years later that business has bloomed into a brick and mortar location in the heart of the James North District.
The Eye of Faith is not your typical shop, it is an experience, one that you will never forget. Located underneath the lovely Hawk & Sparrow, you climb down a flight of battered stairs into the world that is The Eye of Faith. The deliberate choice of housing their collection in a hollowed out basement gives the feel of entering a secret hideaway or a treasure trove that has been invisible to the public for decades. It is an exhilarating feeling. Once inside you are surrounded by all types of treasures. Specializing in men’s vintage fashion – something that is too often overlooked – you are faced with a carefully curated collection of bomber jackets, shirts, blazers, hats and bags. Each piece has a history and a story of discovery that either of the boys will be happy to share. The Eye also appeals to the ladies, saying “that every well dressed man must have a well dressed woman at his side”. The collection of womens fashion is composed of glamorous pieces from the 60’s and 70’s, inspired by style icons such as Edie Sedgewick and Patricia Hearst. Feel free to dig through the racks yourself or be given the chance to be styled by two of the best creative minds and you will leave with an outfit that will never be recreated or copied.
Of course, along side the vintage fashions you will also find a thought provoking collection of vintage curiosities and collectibles to complete your experience.
The old brick walls of The Eye of Faith are lined with the most unique of items; pieces of furniture, paintings, old pop culture magazines, anatomical figures, films, jewels and the best unicorn collection I’ve ever seen. Every piece is truly a treasure, something that was picked with careful consideration for its future possibilities. One of the most impactful sections of the shop has to be the collection of old photographs. You could spend hours looking through each photo and contemplating their history. The Eye take pleasure in showcasing the mysterious, the creepy and the strange but they some how create a beautiful image of creativity, individuality and self expression. They teach their clientele how to take the best of the past and transform it to better the future. Although The Eye of Faith may not be the typical shopping destination, it is one that truly deserves recognition because it is a step forward for our society. Style is often confused with “trendy” and that is not the case, style is completely individual and the thing that The Eye aims to teach us is that “Style isn’t as cut and dry as most people would love to make it. Style is a studied and labored tradition that has been carried on, and handed down for generations. We do not want to dictate your wardrobe, as much as we’d love to inspire the mind, and open up possibility.”
The Eye of Faith is a place where anyone can go and discover something about themselves that they may have not known to begin with. Embrace the unique, the weird and the secret. Embrace the past and look to it to impact your future.
The last photo shown is a portrait of Paul’s great great grandfather who was an illusionist, I think it is very fitting how his passions and curiosities have passed down to Paul so now he can share them with the next generation.