Enjoy an ‘elevated’ shopping experience

Gillian Medina of Releve. Photo Jared Leckie.
Gillian Medina of Releve. Photo Jared Leckie.

Relevé, the beautiful boutique that opened at 1727 Bayview Ave. in March of 2021, derives its name from the classical ballet term and move meaning to elevate or rise up. Owner Gillian Medina, a former dancer, “wanted to open a store with elevated active wear and leisure wear,” so the name fits well with that concept.  

The local mom and entrepreneur was inspired by the Leaside and North Toronto vibe of on-the-go people with active lifestyles. She had always dreamed of opening a clothing store and saw a niche opportunity to fill a bit of a gap.

Relevé was created as a shop for people who could benefit from multifunctional clothing that gets you through your day, from workout to work to social outings. The store carries a variety of local and international brands that provide this type of flexibility. Gillian was also aware that some brands, such as Varley from the UK, On (sneakers) and Vuori, were hard to find in Canada so she wanted to make them more readily available. This combination has been well received, as evidenced by Relevé’s growing client base.

The store offers a very tranquil and zen vibe. Photo Jared Leckie.
The store offers a very tranquil and zen vibe. Photo Jared Leckie.

The store offers a very tranquil and zen vibe. “I wanted a calm, airy spa-like place for people to shop in a relaxed manner,” says Gillian. Relevé definitely took on the owner’s dream concept and created a storefront that provides customers with exactly that feeling. She also loves colour, and it shows, as shoppers both in the store and online are treated to a rainbow of colour choices. 

Gillian originally planned to open the store in early 2020, but the pandemic got in the way of that opening. In the fall of 2020, she signed a lease for the Bayview Avenue premises, hoping that the worst of the pandemic was behind us. It was definitely a leap of faith given the state of our world at the time. The store opened in March of 2021 amid the continuing difficulties of pandemic restrictions. 

As an entrepreneur, Gillian knew she had to be nimble and flexible. Happily, for Leasiders and shoppers beyond, Relevé was able to adjust, using strategies like curbside pickups and an online store. Despite these challenges, Relevé was able to grow and thrive. In addition, this type of elevated active and leisure wear has become more popular in recent years so there is additional interest in the shop and its brands. Today the store’s customers come to shop from all over the city, plus Relevé has a thriving online business that ships across Canada and into the United States. With its central location in Leaside, Relevé has become a destination for many Torontonians in search of unique products in a spa-like store setting.

Gillian and her helpful and friendly staff enjoy welcoming shoppers to the physical store on Bayview Avenue for a tranquil shopping experience. For online shoppers, Relevé’s website (releveclothing.com) also offers a great online experience.

About Lisa Parker 2 Articles