I don’t know what it is, but lately I’ve come across signs that are telling me I need to shop locally.

First, I met the designer of Die Constant, who sells his shirts in a few boutiques I haven’t been to.

Then there was the Reach Magazine Mixer a few weeks ago. I didn’t meet any local boutique owners there, but Misty Greer told me she sold her stuff at Scout Boutique, and then I met Jamie Marriot, Founder of S2S Nation, which gets artists to design eco-friendly t-shirts. Plus, we got a bunch of discount cards in the swag bag for Invito Couture, LYNNsteven Boutique in Gastown, and violet hill boutique in Steveston, Richmond (opening this Saturday officially). So I will be making my way down there eventually.

I discovered one of Leo’s acquaintances, Klaudia Lo, is the co-creator of Klosit Clothing — which is going to emerge in Vancouver this Fall/Winter in a big way — and another acquaintance, Stephanie Jhala, does Marketing for Obakki. The three of us went out for early dinner last week before heading to the Vancouver Fashion Industry Meetup together (we were all VFI Meetup virgins). And I met more people there, including Carlie, the creator of the monthly Portobello West fashion & art market, who talked about being inspired by business models. My interactions have been endless.

I’ve made a vow to make it out to the upcoming FMA Fashion Week (expanded this year into a multi-day “Pop & Culture Festival”) and Eco Fashion Week next month, and likely also Vancouver Fashion Week in November.

Now, for my wardrobe. I’ll be brutally honest. Most of my wardrobe comes from Forever 21, H&M, Ark Clothing, Front & Co, and wherever I find something I’m looking for in particular that happens to be on sale. There’s nothing wrong with shopping in malls. But when you’re in a place like Vancouver where there are a lot of choices (that won’t be worn by others in mass numbers), handmade, high-quality pieces, and even eco-friendly designs, why not save the environment (from the manufacturing and the gas spent on driving to F21 in Metrotown) AND support local businesses at the same time?

And so I am challenging myself from September 1, 2010 – August 31, 2011 to shop locally only.

I will blog on what I find and where I find it at least once a month, likely at the end after I shop at Portobello West.

This challenge will include:

  • Apparel
  • Hats and bags
  • Accessories
  • Shoes (tough one, but can be done, as there are a lot of sample shoe sales that come to town)
  • Places I’m travelling to.

Exceptions will be lingerie, items found in consignment stores, boutiques, or sample sales that are big labels (I often look at price rather than label when shopping this way), and gift card purchases. I have enough time before Christmas to warn my friends and family of this.

So all the local boutiques and designers out there, holler at me. I’m going to need some key Fall pieces for my evenings out!

Currently I’m looking for:

  • A red clutch. => Got a vintage one from Bohemia Gallery!
  • Blazers (grey, striped, or another colour besides black). => Got one from my sister and from Klosit Clothing so now I’m good!
  • A hooded (waterproof!) raincoat. => Adopted a waterproof trench from my sister as well!
  • A faux leather jacket – preferably brown (I do not wear leather at all) => Purchased at Dynamite – didn’t even know they were Canadian!
  • A skinny black pant (not jean). => Done! Got two skinny jeans from The Queen of Jeans!
  • 3/4 length shirts. => Got a few from my sister, but now I need longsleeve office blouses. It’s Spring soon, so I’ll hold off on this one.
  • A scarf that looks nice and will keep me warm in Vancouver’s winter. => Scored this at Invito Couture last month.
  • A new wallet. => Leo bought me one for Christmas – lucky me!
  • A purple toque.
  • Some heavy duty silver chandelier earrings (doesn’t need to be real – but stainless steel would be nice!)

I can’t really describe my style, but I usually don’t tend to fall for seasonal trends. I like classic pieces (skinny jeans, black pants, t-shirts, blazers, hats) and bold colours/patterns both on clothing and in accessories (houndstooth, reds, purples, turquoise, gold). There are few things I don’t like or wouldn’t wear, including leather, animal prints, and polka dots.

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