Tag Archives: Gastown Shopping

Lords of Gastown Opens New Showroom

Nik Dean & Tyler Hazelwood

Nik Dean & Tyler Hazelwood

Local lifestyle apparel brand Lords of Gastown (LG) held a soft opening of their brand new showroom on January 30 and 31 in East Van, and Style by Fire was there to check it out.  I was aware of LG but their target market falls outside my usual circles so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I ventured into their hidden lair.

Lords of Gastown-10

There was an intimate crowd of mostly guys in denim and black leather hanging out, chugging back beer and chatting on top of groovy tunes.  I felt like I had walked into someone’s house party.  Everyone turned around to look at me; it was obvious I was an outsider.  I introduced myself, and the next moment found myself being welcomed with open arms, my hand holding a pale ale, and being taken on a tour of the new digs.

Jill Kacic

Jill Kacic

The LG Compound is called a compound for good reason – the showroom is only one part of the space, and it seamlessly blends into the garage which is used to customize and repair motorcycles.  Right beside the garage is the production area with a screen printing machine and sewing machine where the Co-Designer/Head Seamstress Jill Kacic works.  Down the hallway from the showroom is a spacious bar and lounge area, as well as tattoo parlour.  It became clear that LG is about fostering the motorcycle lifestyle and community by building a one-stop home for its enthusiasts to socialize in and have both their personal style and that of their bikes taken care of.

Who are the Lords of Gastown?  Tyler Hazelwood and Nik Dean, both 34, are long-time friends and share a passion for motorcycles.  They both lived in Gastown and had their routine bars where they hung out on a regular basis, which is how they got the nickname Lords of Gastown.  As a joke, they started getting t-shirts made with this name emblazoned on them.  Before long, their friends also wanted to wear these t-shirts.  They started discussing clothes and what they wanted to see available to buy, which led to designing their signature ‘True OG’ jacket in 2009.  With the help of Kacic, they started producing this jacket which features leather sleeves, denim body and black patch on the back featuring the LG graphic.  Soon they started picking up vintage jackets and re-working them the LG way, sewing on patches and altering the sleeves, etc.  Their popularity grew rapidly, leading them to expand their repertoire of apparel to include hoodies, tank tops, toques, and vests.  They began collaborating with other brands and artists, including LA shoe brand Pskaufman with whom they co-produced a limited edition line of leather boots.  Hazelwood and Dean’s mothers have even jumped onboard to help with producing a side line of children’s wear with miniature versions of the adult apparel.

LG caught the eye of iconic motorcycle brand Harley Davidson, who has picked up the apparel line and now carries it in its Langley, Kamloops, and Edmonton dealerships, with plans to expand to eastern Canada and overseas.  The demand for stock and customized pieces has created the need for the LG Compound to showcase their products to potential buyers.  Kacic is now training a team of seamstresses to take over some of the production work.  What started out as a silly joke amongst drunken friends has grown into the beginnings of an empire – LG is a prime example of the ‘follow your passion and the money will follow’ school of thought.

Besides LG’s astuteness in tapping into a niche in the apparel market, it’s the team’s warm openness that impressed me.  These motorbiking aficionados are affable and laidback, care about aesthetics and design, and look stylish while cruising their Harleys around town.  They made me want to own a bike of my own just so I could hang out at their digs and talk shop with the boys.

The LG compound is located at 49 Dunlevy Avenue in East Van.  Their apparel can also be found locally at the Menu Skateboard Shop in Gastown, as well as online.

Words + Photos by Aurora Chan

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Jennyfleur Loves Pop Up Shop at Holly Boutique

Jennyfleur Loves Pop Up Shop

In late October, Jennyfleur Loves boutique left Yaletown to pursue other locations in Vancouver. Today Jennyfleur will be popping up in Gastown at Holly Boutique until December 31st. This will serve for a great testing ground to see how longtime fans and pedestrian traffic respond to the boutique’s stylings.

Come by on December 19th for the pop-up’s grand opening. There will be drinks, nail art, tasty treats, goodies and of course shopping discounts!

STYLE SHEET

  • What | Jennyfleur Loves x Holly Boutique Pop-Up
  • When | December 17th – 31st (Grand Opening Dec 19th)
  • Where | Holly Boutique @ 215-332 Water St
  • Payment | Jennyfleur Loves will be taking credit cards and cash (no debit) and Holly Boutique will be taking both credit and debit

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Gastown Boutiques Launch eCommerce Stores

Not sure if this a trend in Vancouver, but opening up an ecommerce store just before the impending holidays has been observed for a second year in a row. This time around, Gastown boutiques take the lead in the online retail scene.

One of a Few

one of a few online

The new One of a Few website officially launched on November 27th, 2013. The new site is a much simpler and cleaner departure from what I can remember of the former black background website. There  was very little information on it, and didn’t quite communicate the boutique’s personality too well.
one of a few estore

At the new One of a Few site, I’m captivated by the beautiful scrolling photography on the home page. Photographs of Repetto oxfords, cork jewelry, Lissu linens, and more create a very styling environment. Adding items to your cart is simple enough, and there are thumbnail images to remind you of what you’ve shopped.

One suggestion would be that the images of shoes should also have a side angle view. When scrolling through the footwear page, I would have easily bypassed the entire Rachel Comey line, had I not already known about her popular designs.

A very great start for One of a Few’s first ecommerce store, and I look forward to seeing more amazing brands.

Cavalier

cavalier shoppe
What we love about new Gastown jeweler, Cavalier, is that “a percentage of every piece sold goes towards a local charity.” And Cavalier is the only jewellery store in Canada to do this. And now you can shop and do good any time of the day, anywhere in the world with the launch of Keith Seabrook and Dave Stevens’ online shoppe.

I love the simplicity of the black and white website, with great product photgraphy. On the Designers’ page, there are short bios included to give shoppers context of the product they’re purchasing. Although there are product images on the Designers page, it would be nice if the shown products were linked to an ecommerce page so shoppers could directly add to their cart.

And on the ecommerce page, it would be great if shoppers didn’t have to click on a shopping cart to get to the detailed product page. Seeing that shopping cart increases my anxiety tenfold, thinking that I have to add it into my cart.

cavalier shoppe product

Not sure if this is a Shopify thing, but when I clicked into a product’s detailed page on my 11″ Macbook Air, half the length of the page was dedicated to the Cavalier logo. The image of the product wasn’t even above the fold! It’s little things like these that make a big impression to potential shoppers.

So far, so good at the Cavalier Shoppe. Can’t wait to see what exciting new lines, social initiatives, or ecommerce updates these guys have planned next.

Words by Miranda Sam

Photos: First One of a Few image taken via their Facebook page, first Cavalier image taken from their newsletter, the remaining are screenshots.

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Black Friday Sales in Gastown

No need to visit retailers south of the border this year. For the first time, Vancouver is fully embracing competing with cross-border shopping. You’ll find great sales in one of our trendiest shopping neighbourhoods, Gastown. For a full list of sales, check out Gastown.org for more details.

LYNNsteven

lynn-steven-2013-black-friday

complexgeometries

complex geometries black friday 2013

Rowan Sky

Black Friday at Rowan Sky

Board of Trade Co

board of trade black friday

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New Store Alert: Oak+Fort Relocates to a Larger Location in Gastown

Oak+Fort-1

Friday, November 15th marked the first day Oak + Fort moved into their bigger retail space in Gastown at 355 Water St. The new location of this favourite local brand is approximately 4 times larger than their previous space a few blocks down on the same street. And it only took the team exactly one month to put the store together.

Oak+Fort-3

I love that the store has a bigger gallery space to display its products, which in their own right, are works of art. The ambience of the white walls acts as a white canvas for the shop; the wooden beams on the wall and industrial touch of the merchandising racks give the store a nod to its Gastown heritage.

Some of my favourite items in the store is the jewelry. Though it won’t last you a lifetime, Oak + Fort is definitely one of the best places to get stylishly subtle jewellery. Earlier this year I got one of my favourite rings there – and I’m seriously not a ring person.

Oak+Fort-9

On the left, the Jesidan sweater in beige is priced at $78, and on the right, the Edgar coat in grey with contrast sleeves is at $248. I love that Oak + Fort delivers progressive pieces easily integrated into any wardrobe at such great price points.

I was quite impressed with the fitting rooms; I felt that there were some really good details put into its design. For example, change room mirrors outside of the dressing room never seem to be big enough when there’s another person who’s trying to share the mirror with you. They’ve got this super tall and wide mirror can probably fit at least 4 or 5 people across. When I stood in front of it, I felt that its vastness made a difference because not only can you navel-gaze and see yourself, you can see yourself interact with the surrounding environment.

Another detail I noticed was the width of the opening of the fitting rooms. They are not your usual door width, and because of the narrower space, you feel more secure in the fitting room. The curtain rods extend past the opening so you feel like you can actually close it shut. This was something I failed to do at the previous location, so it was definitely noticeable at the new store. Mix it all together and you have a pretty shopper-friendly space.

Oak+Fort-8

Oak+Fort-18

What’s in the future for Oak + Fort? This brand quickly grew in popularity among the fashion crowd, and will now be growing to other fashion cities in Canada. Two stores in Toronto are expected to open in Spring 2014 on Queen Street and in the Don Mills neighbourhood.  And if things go as planned, another location will be popping up in Calgary next spring too.

Oak+Fort-20

Though I didn’t get much of a chance to shop for myself, I’m sure looking forward to the next time.

Photos + Words by Miranda Sam

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Shopping Alert: First Annual REDdot Shopping Gala @ Holt Renfrew

Reddot shopping gala

Mark your calendars: the first annual FMA REDDOT shopping series kicks off at Holt Renfrew this Saturday, November 23rd! In an attempt to encourage shopping local for the holidays, FMA founder Andy Chu and the FMA team have organized a week-long shopping series to promote Vancouver’s various neighbourhoods.

STYLE SHEET

  • What | First Annual REDDOT Shopping Gala
  • Where | Holt Renfrew
  • When | Saturday, November 23rd @ 7:30 – 10:00pm
  • Why | Cause it’s a shopping party at Holt’s! And 10% of sales donated to the Tapestry Foundation

REDDOT SHOPPING WEEK

  • Sunday, November 24th | Downtown, hosted @ Boy’s Co
  • Monday, November 25th | Kitsilano, hosted @ two of hearts boutique
  • Tuesday, November 26th | Gastown, hosted @ Malene Grotrian Studio
  • Wednesday, November 27th | South Granville, hosted @ DKNY
  • Thursday, November 28th | Yaletown, hosted @ Bella Garnet Beauty Salon

Be sure to check out the many other retailers participating in the REDDOT shopping experience!

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Gastown Shop Hop 2013 in Pictures

Oak + Fort

Everything was 20% off at Oak + Fort! If only I had noticed that my parking meter was NOT accepting cash, and I hadn’t accidentally gave it some coins, I definitely would have stayed longer to browse. When I got there the lineups to the cash were long, so you know shoppers were getting some great pieces at a great price.

Orling & Wu

This was actually my first time at Orling & Wu, and it makes me think: why haven’t I stopped by earlier? Sure, these designerly home accessories are out of my budget, but I find the colours and designs inspiring. Even if I don’t end up with any purchases, a girl can window shop, can’t she?

complexgeometries

It was my first time at complexgeometries since the store had opened only 6 weeks ago. I was told the designer is Canadian, who works in New York, but has all the garments produced in Japan. I thought I had heard Ardene, a staff member, mention there was 50% off. It was 15%. Oh well! I’d love to come browse the store again. Most items are unisex, and actually looked great on the manager. I’ll have to do some more research into this brand later!

LYNNsteven

It was great seeing LYNNsteven owner, Nicole, again after all these years. I remember I was actually the first one to sign up for her newsletter. And now that I’m back into blogging, it’s great to reconnect. I tried on a Mackage jacket and blazer. The blazer was incredible, with pointed leather shoulders, carrying an edgy look (seen on Jenny in above photo) was originally four hundred something and marked down to $180. Too bad the sleeves were long! I’m a big believer in getting items you love 100%, so I’ll have to keep hunting. Thought I didn’t get a chance at the fitting room, SKOT Apparel’s Party Skirts were so colourful all lined up on a rack! I’ll have to see if they look that cute on myself someday.

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Style SEEN: Cavalier Media and Launch Party

Cavalier Launch-4

Cavalier owners Keith Seabrook and Dane Stevens

Cavalier, a new fine jewellery store has arrived in Gastown and we were invited to its VIP launch party on October 3rd.  What is immediately intriguing is the owners themselves – Dane Stevens is a former professional lacrosse player and a bassist for the local indie band Tough Lovers, while his partner Keith Seabrook was a former professional hockey player and graduate of the Gemological Institute of America.  How do two 20-something athletes decide to open a jewellery store?  Stevens is in fact no stranger to the jewellery industry; three generations of his family have been involved in importing gemstones to retailers.  In opening a retail business of his own, Stevens is expanding on his family legacy.  Seabrook was looking for a new venture after his hockey career and hopped onboard.

The resulting look and concept of Cavalier is reflective of these two ambitious friends, differentiating itself from the typical jewellery chain retailer.  Rather than being stuffy and intimidating, the vibe here is distinctly casual and laidback.  In line with the Gastown aesthetic, the décor is open and full of wood and exposed brick walls.  The party itself was dominated by a young hipster crowd grooving to the DJ beats and nibbling on appies catered by Nuba.

Along with selling solitary gems, the store carries the work of twenty independent designers.  The pieces cover the full spectrum from masculine cross pendants to delicate pearl necklaces.  Services include an in-house goldsmith and third party appraisals.  Another distinctive feature is the store’s charitable initiative, being the only Canadian retailer to donate a percentage of each sale to a local charity.  And to cater to the male clientèle, it has its own beer parlour!

As for the name Cavalier, just speaking to the affably modest partners makes the choice very apt.

Words and Photos by Aurora Chan

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Ishara to Close in Gastown on September 20th

Ishara Closing Sale

Sigh! It is with great regret that I bring you this piece of news: Ishara, one of Vancouver’s favourite independent boutiques in Gastown will be closing. I always loved going to Ishara, then hopping over to fellow Canadian retailers Oak + Fort and m0851. And I definitely remember visiting the store’s grand opening at the first location in Oakridge Centre.

I’m sad to see the store go, but I wish the best to Amrit and her beautiful new baby. In the meantime, to support the boutique one last time, hop on over for 20-80% off Ishara merch.

Here is Amrit’s bittersweet parting letter:

Ishara boutique closing in Gastown

STYLE SHEET

  • Date | Until September 20th
  • Time | check for store hours
  • Location | Ishara (38 Water Street – between Abbott and Carrall)
  • Deals | 20 – 80% off the entire store!

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Tait Boutique Launches Limited Edition Vintage Style Capes

 

Exciting news! Gastown shops, Tait Boutique and Ric Yuenn, will be doing limited edition collections. The first of which will be a vintage style cape, and when I say vintage I mean it – it’s made from a pattern from the 70’s. These luxurious hand-made capes will be available at Tait Boutique soon in bright summer colours – think hot pink and and turquoise! Of course, classic black will be available too.

If you are dying to get your hands on one, get in touch with Avril and she will make sure you won’t miss out.

The vintage style cape is available at Tait Boutique (330 Cordova St) for $89.

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