A unique “ecoluxury lifestyle” concept boutique, THECloset YVR, will open in Gastown on Saturday, August 22, and it’s set to be unlike any other retailer in Vancouver.
The company formerly only sold its wares online, and the added cost of going brick-and-mortar is risky. At the same time, its physical store will allow it to foster client relationships, facilitate partnerships with local as well as international designers, as well as host events and personal styling.
Entrepreneurs Helen Siwak and Vladimiros Xanthopoulos spearheaded the new retail initiative, securing the intimate boutique space next to award-winning restaurant PiDGiN.
THECloset YVR’s story began as a hobby, with its founders selling ‘thrifted’ luxury items on its website. The retailer’s exceptionally-curated collections quickly gained a loyal following, resulting in a series of pop-up stores. As business continued growing, Siwak and Xanthopoulos saw the opportunity to better connect and create lasting relationships by opening a physical store where customers could browse collections at their leisure.
Collections will be ‘curated classic’ as opposed to trends, according to Siwak, with a focus on luxury brands rather than fast fashion. Only about a quarter of the boutique’s floorspace is reserved for consignment, with the rest devoted to ecoluxury.
Siwak explained the concept of ecoluxury and how every garment, accessory and item of footwear has passed through at least one set of hands (making it ecofriendly) while being a luxury item because of its quality and label. The ‘lifestyle’ component refers to all additional complementary products, including vegan grooming products, upcycled/recycled accessories, decorative homewares and artwork, created by artisans living in British Columbia.
THECloset YVR will also exclusively stock fashions by international designers, including Portland-based Michelle Lesniak (Project Runway Season 11 winner) and Marita Mamuchashviili (Vancouver Fashion Week) and is in talks with Vancouver’s Sea Shepherd Conservation Society to be the only retailer of Sea Shepherd merchandise in Vancouver.
In addition to modern luxury designers, including Giorgio Armani, Versace, Gucci and Dior, the boutique will carry pieces by legendary designers such as Mary Quant, Jean-Charles de Castelbejac, Courreges and Alberta Ferretti.
“We view ourselves not just as a resale boutique, but as an eco-shopping experience,” Siwak said. “Our mission is to provide our clients with a wide range of the highest quality in luxury garments and the opportunity to be assisted by professional stylists in a welcoming atmosphere with value-added services and refreshments.”
Clients can also be able to have their measurements and designer preferences added to the in-house database, shop with the assistance of professional in-house ecostylists and even arrange to have their purchases delivered to their home or workplace by DailyDelivery.ca the same day.
With additional strategic alliances created with other Vancouver entrepreneurs, clients will also receive eco-coupons for Pressed & Proper executive mobile dry-cleaning and Diamond Bright Smile’s tooth whitening service. Consignment clients will have access to complimentary authentication and appraisals through two off-site professionals.
International stylist Dominique Hanke (of HankeStyle and Hive Mind Millinery) has joined THECloset YVR as lead in-house ecostylist and will take consultation appointments for those wishing to purchase one of the various customizable packages available. Hanke will be available each Monday as well as evenings for private appointments.
Other unique features to THECloset YVR will be monthly mini in-store pop-ups by local designers and artists, the introduction of the private fashion lounge club to be named ‘THESalon YVR,’ the presence of a loveable security dog named Snickers (wearing custom upcycled fashion by designer Stevie Crowne), ‘No Tax Tuesday,’ ‘Thoughtful Thursday’ charity shopping nights and a new window display every Monday celebrating the birth dates of legendary luxury designers.
With the affordable luxury resale market gaining momentum, unique niche market boutiques like THECloset YVR are positioned for expansion. Siwak said that her company already has plans for expansion into Victoria in late 2016 to take advantage of the city’s lack of high-end consignment boutiques and marketplace for high price point artisan goods.