Anyone who associates vintage stores with dusty knickknacks and racks of unloved clothing should visit Kensington Market’s newest addition, A Homerun. Creativity oozes from the wooden walls of 165 Augusta Ave, where planters hang from the ceiling, clothes are merchandised in old lockers from the gym down the street, Jameson whiskey bottles are used as vases and clothing with eye-catching prints and textures fills racks around the store.
Jodee Aguillon, A Homerun’s owner and sole employee, transformed and rebranded the previous business, Pretty Freedom, a vintage store he co-managed for four years at the same location. Now that his partner has returned to school, Aguillon is stepping up to the plate with an innovative plan to make an impression on the Kensington community. Put simply, he says his plan is to “keep the space, fill it with shit I love and work with good people.”
Much of his new project’s early success is attributed to the support of fellow business owners in the area, and Aguillon says he is fortunate to have kept the space in Kensington Market. This factor contributed to Aguillon’s decision to settle on A Homerun for the name of his business. “It represents starting from home base and taking it all the way,” he says. “It’s the idea that one person can hit a home run, but the whole team celebrates.”
Aguillon seeks to feature emerging designers through installations he calls “pop-ups.” He is always looking for new people to collaborate with and often meets new partners by going to various markets and fairs or simply by having conversations with his customers. Currently, there are 12 pop-ups seamlessly integrated into A Homerun’s selection of men’s and women’s clothing, jewellery and home décor items.
Aguillon sources and offers his own vintage items as well. When asked what he looks for in potential additions to A Homerun’s inventory, he immediately says, “I love shiny things. Most of the women’s items are things I recognize from my mom’s closet when I was growing up, and all of the men’s items are things I would wear myself.” Aguillon’s favourite item currently in the store is a framed black-and-white print featuring the Chuck Noll quote, “Good things come to those who hussle.”
Aguillon encourages a sense of community and support for budding artists, so in the process of remodelling the previous store he included three studios to be used as a platform of creativity for young designers. He prefers traditional techniques to what he calls “fast fashion,” so he finds it refreshing to see young people investing time and energy in their work.
Aguillon’s one challenge is the lack of foot traffic at the south end of Augusta Avenue — something he hopes to overcome with an engaging social media presence.
Although Aguillon has assembled an inviting and innovative space in the Kensington community, his passion for the industry can’t be contained within the four walls of A Homerun. The vintage treasures of A Homerun will also be making an appearance at the Art Gallery of Ontario in December for an exhibition called Bizarre Bizarre Bizarre.
Aguillon has ambitious plans for his shop, and even though he acknowledges the amount of work he’s taking on, he says, “I’m always willing to bite off more than I can chew. I’m ready for it, I’m hungry.”