NYC-based international clothing company expands to Wynwood

The Canvas is a New York chain founded in 2016 that combines digital art, fashion, crypto currency and fashion. Last weekend, the first store outside the Big Apple opened on 24th Street just opposite the Wynwood Walls. Combining products from international brands and creators from around the world, it offers goods ranging from an $1100 fur coat to a $22 handbag. The company prides itself on being a launching pad for small and independent creators from the United States to Rome. 

“We celebrate the biggest brands, the biggest corporations, we go to their parties, but what about these creators that make such interesting products and have such interesting stories behind them?” said Devin Gilmarin, the chain’s co-founder who traveled south for the opening. “We can tell those stories and celebrate them in the same way as we do those big corporations, and that is what Wynwood is about.” 

The Canvas is a retail experience founded by Gilmarin, Tegan Maxey, and Steff Vermeesh, and showcases independent brands whose businesses align with the United Nations sustainable development goals. The company brings independent brands and artists into their stores and pays them a quarterly basis. 

“We noticed that there were a lot of small independent brands, designers, and creatives spending a ton of money on exposure, and they would always come away disappointed,” said Gilmartin. “And so we thought, why don’t we try to build something that allows these independent creators to get more opportunity to access physical retail spaces.” 

The Wynwood location is taking over the 5000-square-foot ground floor space that was previously occupied by Solana Spaces, a store that promoted NFT technology. 

Products and art on display (The Canvas)

“We were bringing small independent brands, fashion brands, primarily to start with and now that’s expanded into the digital realm with Web3 creators and NFT artists as well.” said Gilmartin. “You can think of us as a multi-brand retail store with a physical and a digital element.” 

The decision to open a store in Wynwood stems from the company’s desire to fuse the worlds of fashion, art, and technology. The brand aims to create an immersive experience for visitors in Wynwood. The store will serve as a creative space, where fashion and artistic expression intersect, said Gilmartin. 

The brand aims to incorporate elements that pay homage to the neighborhood’s street art. Expect collections that feature intricate patterns, graffiti-inspired prints, and innovative designs.

“Wynwood is known for its art and design but it’s not yet known as a fashion hotspot.” said Gilmartin. “We thought there was an opportunity to see something different and unique.” 

The store is bringing a number of products and brands including Clandestina, which is Cuba’s first independent sustainable fashion brand. 

Clandestina brand on display (Samaria Clair) 

The company also has a number of partnerships that fit their digital aspirations such as WHIM, which is a technology company that produces digital canvases for art, and Worldcoin, which is a crypto project that aims to create a global identity and financial network for everyone. The crypto company was founded by Sam Altman, the founder of OpenAI. 

Attendees at the grand opening (Samaria Clair)

By opening a store in this vibrant neighborhood, The Canvas aims to bridge the gap between fashion and art, connecting with the local community and contributing to the artistic legacy of Wynwood. With its unique designs, commitment to collaboration, and celebration of artistic diversity, they are set to make a lasting impression on the Wynwood fashion and art scene.

“The scenery is amazing,” said Antwanne Wright, who attended the grand opening. “From the digital art to the clothing piece, the creativity overall is incredible.” 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified a technology company that partners with Canvas. It is WHIM.

Ivan Espinoza is a junior majoring in digital journalism. Ivan is interested in a career in sports journalism with an end goal of becoming a basketball analyst.

Samaria Clair is currently a senior and expects to graduate summer of 2023. Clair is majoring in Digital Media and Journalism. At Georgia State University, Clair was a news writer for the number one student’s school newspaper in the state of Georgia, The Signal. She currently serves as treasurer of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).