Toronto’s Stackt Market has been injected with even more creative flair as a new brand with a penchant for crochet has permanently set up shop in one of the market’s largest shipping containers.
Jrew Creations (pronounced Drew, a combination of the founders’ names) is a Toronto hand-sewn crochet fashion accessory brand that has been featured in the likes of Vogue, GQ and Vanity Fair. Their products range from bucket hats to on-trend open knit cover-ups to whatever the customer may desire, although their popularity began with durags.
The brand was started in March 2022 by Andrew Foster and Jaime Aludos. Aludos had recently lost her great-grandmother, who was an avid crocheter.
“She crocheted a lot when I was younger but I wasn’t into it when she tried to teach me,” says Aludos. “After she passed, I decided to teach myself.”
As Aludos began learning, Foster was looking to kick a cannabis addiction and wanted to keep his hands busy. As a way to get his mind off things, he turned to crocheting alongside Aludos.
The pair fell in love with the craft, and eventually began selling their products in some impromptu ways.
“Andrew went to the gym wearing the durag one time and he sold a couple just to people who wanted to know what he was wearing,” says Aludos.
Foster and Aludos quickly turned their hobby into a business. With just eight Instagram followers, the pair set off to North Carolina to participate in a crochet trade show. They then came back home and participated in a few Toronto events, including some at Stackt Market.
When the opportunity arose to move into Stackt, the pair jumped on it, taking over a sliver of space in unit 1-101a.
“It was a half of a quarter,” says Foster in reference to the size of the first space. “But we made it our own. We made sure to have conversations with everyone who visited the shop and made sure the energy was positive at all times.”
The pair solidified themselves as a must-visit spot in the market throughout their time in the unit, growing in popularity among locals.
However, their biggest break beyond the city came in a message that they thought was spam.
“We saw an email from Conde Nast and went, ‘Yeah, this has got to be spam.’ But we went back and forth with the representative and realized that it was real.” Aludos says. “We went through a bunch of magazines and opted to have our accessories featured in GQ, Vanity Fair and Vogue.”
Since their breakout exposure from some of the fashion world’s most reputable voices, Jrew Creations has expanded. Their newest space, which faces Bathurst Street, is one of the busiest locations in the market.
They’ve also taken it upon themselves to begin stocking products from vendors they met along their journey, including top-shelf alcohol bottles retrofitted into bongs and a collection of rings and body butter.
Their latest staple is Jrew patties, a line of Jamaican patties handmade by Foster and sold on the outside of the shipping container.
As their business expands, the pair hope to do more charitable work around the community. Before Jrew, Aludos was a note-taker at York University for those with learning impairments.
While pointing out to the distance, Foster says, “We used to go to Randy’s for free patties throughout my time in high school. Without those patties, I have no clue where I’d be. We have a homeless men’s shelter right here and a childcare center right there. I hope we can help people the same way Randy’s helped me.”
Today, Jrew Creations offers ready-to-wear crochet accessories in their Toronto store, as well as custom pieces made to order. With the city’s weather being so unpredictable, your first purchase at the store could be earmuffs or a mesh top.