Hey Jude Gastown

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Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow are taking things slow. Since founding their line of curated vintage, Hey Jude, the pair of twenty-somethings has been careful not to rush into anything. After five years of successful pop-up ventures around Vancouver, the unique, high-quality line is now ready for the next step: moving in. Catching the duo in between layers of white paint just days before their Gastown brick-and-mortar location opens, it’s clear that Clark and Chow wear their ambition on their well-tailored sleeves. “We’ve already decided we won’t have a break,” laughs Chow, gesturing with paint-stained hands.

Hey Jude is the realization of the rather oxymoronic concept of “contemporary vintage”. Conceived in comprehensive season collections and presented in carefully styled lookbooks, the notion works seamlessly. With only about 25 per cent of the pieces tailored, Clark and Chow focus on the original fit rather than alteration. “It’s the curating of the collection that is the hard work, because we are so picky with what we do bring in,” says Chow. “I think that’s why it looks altered.” The seasonal collections are hand-picked by Clark and Chow and are gleaned from around the Pacific Northwest; the result is racks full of upscale vintage scores with none of the dreaded bin digging.

Pop-ups are now the ubiquitous millennial petri dish, but not too long ago, the concept was just beginning to gestate. “I think we were in New York six years ago and we stumbled across one and said, ‘Woah, no one in Vancouver is doing this yet,’ and that’s kind of where we got the idea,” says Clark of their brand’s foundation. Being at the crux of not just a trend, but a revolution of small businesses, has allowed Hey Jude to test the often-frigid waters of retail before the concept became overpopulated.

Starting with a few pop-up locations, Clark and Chow realized the model—and their brand—was something more than a temporary space and occupation. “Every day was so different, and we were excited to work on it every day,” Clark explains. “We could work on it from the time we woke up until the time we went to bed, so we wanted to turn it into something.” They began working on Hey Jude full-time after three years, and are now indisputable, albeit young, entrepreneurs who truly learned as they went.

Thinking beyond any business or fashion trend of this decade or ones before, Hey Jude has delved deep to locate a model that is unique and focused. “We’ve done eight pop-ups; we’ve been able to test out everything,” affirms Clark. “We have tested our brand, our market; we know what kind of message we want to send.” That message is clear in their new location, which opened on Oct. 23. Instagram-ready décor highlights the refined offerings of Hey Jude, as well as a selection of sourced apothecary, jewellery, and leather goods.

Hey Jude’s permanent shop has been a long time in the making, and while perhaps devotees of the brand may feel it’s slightly overdue, the timing feels right for the two young founders. “I feel that some people can jump right in, but for us, as we grew, we were figuring ourselves out, too—so it was the right route for us,” Chow muses. Clark adds, “It was the perfect evolution of everything.”

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Hey Jude, 315 Abbott Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6B 0G6. 

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October 28, 2015