If you’re looking for a unique piece of clothing that is Canadian-made, you’ll want to visit the m0851 boutique on Sussex Drive, Ottawa’s high-fashion row.
Opened just a year ago, this trendy new boutique at 531 Sussex is the retail child of successful businessman Peter Boole, who also owns popular ByWard Market neighbourhood restaurants Social Restaurant & Lounge, e18hteen and Sidedoor. This is the place to shop if you want something truly Canadian, but you might not have the time or the budget to work with a local Sussex designer to fabricate something from scratch.
Manager of m0851 Sarahkate Griffiths says that so far, the boutique has been well-received by Ottawa residents and tourists alike. “They really enjoy that we have products that are made in Canada,” Griffiths said. “It’s not as frequent to walk into a boutique and find items that are designed so close to home.”
Based in Montreal, Québec – only a two hour drive from Ottawa – Griffiths says each m0851 item, from soft leather bags, to jackets, to beautiful multi-coloured scarves, is both designed and fabricated there.
She added that the high-quality leather used for each item comes from Italy, but the rest of the crafting process is all-Canadian. “They have these big slabs of leather that they fabricate into wonderful [items],” she said.
According to Griffiths, leather is m0851’s specialty as it offers a wide selection of jackets and bags, which are a staple in any wardrobe at any age. But she noted the boutique has also been gaining notice for its unique waterproof wool items. “We have a few different styles of things in polyurethane-coated wool. It makes the items waterproof,” she said. “It’s nice, because you’re definitely covered when it’s raining.” Lighter cotton waterproof items are also available on the boutique’s website.
One of Griffiths’ favourite in-store items is m0851’s silk and modal scarves. Available in a variety of colours that are sure to suit any style, she says one of these extremely soft scarves is an easy way to brighten up any classic outfit at any time of the year.
“It’s one of those extra items that you can put over anything we sell,” Griffiths said. “Because all of our designs are so simplistic and can be paired with anything. It really brings an outfit together and makes people really love their jackets.”
Though the boutique is located on the high-end Sussex Drive, Griffiths insists that it is a store for professionals and students alike, adding that m0851 offers a 15 per cent discount for students on Tuesday evenings. “We’re still in the process of building our clientele and it’s coming,” she said.
In terms of clientele, Griffiths says the boutique sees a lot of tourist and resident traffic as well as “seasonal” regulars who come in each season to update their wardrobe with a new piece. “We definitely see a lot of frequent clients, but there are also the ones that come every once in a while throughout the year.”
As the boutique is housed in an old art gallery, there is lots of bright open space.
In fact, the boutique’s second floor is currently unused. But Griffiths could not confirm nor deny whether m0851 has future plans to establish a trendy new wine bar in that space. “There are definitely a few options being discussed,” she said when asked about the wine bar, “but nothing is set in stone yet.”
If you’re a visitor or even an Ottawa resident looking for a timeless original Canadian piece, m0851 is worth a visit. Peruse the many racks and shelves to find your very own piece of Canadiana.
And if you need assistance, the boutique’s friendly and welcoming staff is more than happy to help!