Tag Archives: Yaletown

Woo To See You: Unique Designs that Stretch Your Comfort Zone

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Tucked away in the Yaletown Shops on Homer Street lies a little fashion gem: the whimsically named Woo To See You boutique. It’s where shoppers can find a well-curated mix of unique Korean designs, European styling, as well as local jewelry.

Two mannequins standing outside the shop gave a small indication that fashion existed inside the indoor plaza. From the outside we could see the entire shop in one glance. Although Woo To See You is small in size, it’s jam packed with great products, and a great shopping experience too.

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Ours began when we met Hans Woo, store owner of Woo to See You. Dressed in a slick leather jacket, harem pants, winter tuque, and peep-toe pumps with socks, we could tell this was one woman confident in expressing her unique style.

In her down to earth manner she told us her story. A fashion designer by trade, Hans worked in Korea’s fashion industry but needed a break from her work. She first visited Vancouver in 2008 and immediately fell in love with the city.

In 2009, she moved back, got some experience in retail and started planning her own store. She created an e-commerce store in 2012 because she wanted a flexible schedule. But the charming and extroverted Hans soon realized it was more fun for her to meet people face-to-face, whether it was customers she introduced new brands to, or suppliers stopping by to check on how their pieces were doing. So in the summer of 2013, she set up shop in Yaletown.

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The idea of Woo To See You was to bring Korean culture and style to Vancouver. And how exactly? It had to stay small and personal. Things have definitely changed since she started. Hans says, “When I first started this business I was only thinking about ‘Is this going to sell or not?’… It is a different culture and different style where I am from, so I was always thinking about if this will do well in North America… So I started thinking like, if this piece doesn’t sell, do I keep it? Am I confident enough to say this looks awesome, like you have to have this piece? Or do I need to wait for someone to walk in who really likes this stuff. So I started shopping by following my style.”

By sticking to her guns, she ends up spending countless hours researching the perfect mix of product for her customers. Each brand she brings in has to pass three tests: the design has to be unique, of good quality, and reasonably affordable.

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I tried on an oversized blue and white Pink Berry sweater coat, and immediately noticed there were 3 different kinds of patterns in the knit. I confessed to Hans that although the oversized sweater was super unique, it wasn’t a silhouette I was used to seeing on myself. She assured me I wasn’t the first person who reacted to the designs this way, and went on to explain why she chose a looser aesthetic.

“I don’t wear really tight-fitting dresses. We did have a lot of straight fit last summer. I had so many people who came in and tried them on and asked me for a belt, and I was like ‘No belt! Not allowed here!’”

We couldn’t help but crack up laughing because it’s so true: Vancouverites can definitely play it safe, but Woo To See You is here to push your comfort zone, in the kindest way. She takes great care of her customers by educating them that loose-fitting cuts, drop-shoulder styles and cocoon shapes are an aesthetic to be embraced, not belted. “I think people just need to try… and just experience,” Hans remarked.

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I asked her to elaborate on what she meant by ‘good quality.’ Instead of luxury fabrics we would expect like silk and cashmere, she made a case that good quality also meant longevity. Hans said, “I do love cashmere but I stopped buying cashmere products because it’s so hard to take care of them… so I do think about those factors. If people do buy this, is it easy to wash or take care of?” I wholeheartedly agree with her philosophy; it might be a lot more closet-sustainable if you can wear it a hundred times rather than wear it only a few times before the delicate fabric tears, or having to endlessly pay for dry cleaning.

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For many of us who are shop high and low, who pick up pieces at Forever 21 and occasionally drop a few bills at Holt’s, Woo To See You could be our new best friend. A beautiful black coat by Barcelona designer Nerea Lurgain retails at only $179 – a price which is nearly impossible to find in the mall let alone a Yaletown boutique. Anyone can afford to look unique here, as the store carries limited runs of each style.

When asked whether she misses fashion design, she said with a knowing smile, “I think I had fun with it but I am in a different place now. I have more fun curating pieces than making it. “

In the future, we will be seeing her own designs – although not in fashion. She and her husband, Justin, plan to start a lifestyle line (stationery, tote bags) named after his grandmother, Hilda, who had a passion for sewing.

“We’re really excited to do it! We just have to find some time to do it.”

Be sure to check out all the amazing designs at Woo To See You in Yaletown at 129 – 1208 Homer Street.

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Words by Miranda Sam

Photos by DesireeAnne Holder

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Jennyfleur Loves Farewell Shopping Party

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Jennyfleur Loves is a women’s fashion boutique that’s called Yaletown home over the past three years.  Owners Jennifer Gray and Shaughnessey Chow-Domos have decided to bid farewell to Yaletown and look for new digs. In the meantime, customers can still get their shopping fix via their online store.

JL held one last shopping party on October 24th to mark the end of a chapter and the beginning of the next with wine and appetizers, as well as major slashing of prices on most items in the store.  Browsing its intimate interior, it is apparent that JL specializes in unique funky pieces that bring out the rocker in you.  My friend Shay Lhea and I immediately noticed a pair of denim shorts by the UK brand Bitching and Junkfood which was covered in black straps and included a modified garter.  How often does one come across shorts that have their own built-in lingerie-like detailing?

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Shay tried on a two-piece dress, also by the same UK brand, which made her look like a slinky million bucks, and what do you know, the print on it consisted of rows of Japanese yen bills.  I bought a silver bustier by Nameless Apparel for a steal deal which will be featured in a future post.

Sorry to see JL leave but looking forward to see it pop up again in a new location!

Photos + Words by Aurora Chan

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Filed under Events & Sales, Retail News, Sales, Store Closings, STYLE SEEN

“because you can’t blo yourself”

The Blo one year anniverary block party, themed Naughty or Nice elicited some of Vancouver’s most creative (slash costumey) outfits. Witnessed full out forties glam in a flapper style dress, crowned with a mini top hat, with ruby red shoes to match. Besides the few, Vancouver’s well known for people to dress up in club wear whenever the given excuse.

Naughty or Nice translated into scandalous… and pink. Models were dressed in Agent Provacteur painting with chocolate from inside a window display. In the adjacent window, nothing more provocative than a little public S&M. Aziya, the new mobile spa was there to fulfill their great cause: to fill the guests’ nails with every shade of pink, polish producer OPI, makes under the sun. Even the live art was infused with a lot of pink; artist Brent Ray Fraser performed splatter painting with multifarious shades of pink.

It was a great night as the fashion crowds mixed & mingled, the night waxed & waned. Blo owner Devon was seen running in her sand brown Herve Leger body-con cleaning the party’s remnants: pink balloons and pink fashion crowd road blocks.


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Wanny Tang Summer Sale

Vancouverites, it’s sale season! Be sure to stop by Wanny Tang as a preview to Friday’s Annual Collaborative Sale hosted by Dace.

“The vision of the line is to give people versatility in creating a look that shows their individual personality, throughout a variety of social and physical activities.”

Current and Past Season Collections | Samples Fabrics Shoes | Women’s Clothing

Go During:

  • Tuesday, August 12: 11:00am – 6:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 13: 11:00am -6:00pm

Shop At: Inspirce Concepts Limited @ Unit L06 111 Smithe Street Vancouver

Contact: info@wannytang.com

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