© Reflect Architecture / Photography: Jeremie Warshafsky

Following an academic training in marketing and human geography, Toronto-based sisterly duo Laura and Amanda Santino embarked on an entrepreneurial journey by founding Permission, an online store and brick-and-mortar retail space dedicated exclusively to street style-inspired performance activewear for women. For the latter, the Santino sisters secured a prime location on the corner of Ossington Avenue and Argyle Street in Trinity-Bellwood, a leafy inner-city neighbourhood with a buzzing retail scene, and tapped local practice Reflect Architecture to fully redevelop an existing late 19th-century property. The premises, measuring 930 sq.ft. (approx. 86 sqm.), comprise of three sections, including a pop-up space at the back for brand collaborations. The redevelopment is a transformative one as the new façade cladding not only optically unifies the entire structure, but also lends it a distinct contemporary feel that’s compatible with Permission‘s target audience. The Santino sisters’ sole design directive was to create a setting that would celebrate form and curve of women, and if you ask us, they got more than they bargained for.

Arched windows flank the main corner entrance on either side, allowing in floods of daylight while also hinting what lies beyond. Inside, shoppers find an open corridor composed of seven arches with embedded LED lighting on one side of the store, providing an intimate setting for apparel and footwear. The terrazzo tile flooring is matched with storage and shelving crafted from the same material which not only anchor the aforementioned arches, but also demarcate an alternative passage with recessed shelving to the back of the store. White pebbles on different levels subtly add organic texture to the otherwise understated interior design and tie in with the zen-like garden right outside the store. Halfway through, a changing room with two halo’d pods and a large mirror can be found where shoppers can try out garments of choice. Advancing further, they’ll find a compact section with floor-to-ceiling glass and tiered shelving laden with sports trainers. As said, Permission carries performance activewear for women, but also offers an equally curated range of accessories, bags, and lifestyle goods. On the second floor, an apartment for the store owners has been created.

Permission
127 Ossington Avenue (Trinity-Bellwoods)
Toronto ON M6J 2Z6
Telephone: +1 437 3398881
Tue-Sat 11-2 (for order pick-up only)

© Reflect Architecture / Photography: Jeremie Warshafsky