Calgary: Smyth & Kang becomes a haven for homegrown fashion

Photography by David Bibbings
Photography by David Bibbings

If you’ve been counting your fashionable pennies these days, you’re not alone.  I too have been weighing purchases before taking the plunge, neatly stowing away my impulsive self until this ghastly recession comes to a screeching halt. Ummm…when is that going to happen again? For me, going low budget doesn’t mean shunning designer wear altogether.  In fact, I’ve decided to take a long-term view and avoid the bargain that never gets worn and invest in some workhorse pieces.

So, no better time for Calgary’s latest fashion duo, Leon Kang and Aly Velji to transform their cutting-edge boutique Smyth & Kang (610 1st St. S.W., 403-617-2406, And we’re not talking a simple facelift. After the closure of their flagship location on 17th Ave. earlier this year, Kang and Velji reinvented their (once) satellite store with a new focus on buying Canadian, giving Calgarians the opportunity to invest in the work of local labels.

“We discovered that some of the hottest designers are right here in Calgary and we want keep them here” says Velji, who is also the store’s artistic director.  The collections include Project Runway Canada’s Adejoké Taiwo (, architect-cum-designer Lara Presber (, Braithwaite Wallets ( and a handful of other Canadian lines—making in Smyth & Kang the perfect stop for signature pieces that will help you survive the credit crunch.

EARLIER: Calgary’s Lara Presber