In the constantly evolving Gastown neighbourhood of Vancouver, it can be easy to miss the latest addition. And recently, tucked in next to its more raucous neighbour Versace Home, 017 quietly opened up shop. Cool, crisp, and minimal, the men’s and women’s fashion retailer exudes a kind of quiet confidence.
Clayton Chan, 017’s owner and creative director, doesn’t seem to mind being understated. When asked what the identity of the store is, Chan shies away from buzzwords or marketing tactics, instead letting the clothes speak for themselves. “Basically, we want a person to come in here and find something that is really personal to them: not something that you wear for just one season,” he says. Boasting a small but impressive roster of designers including Helmut Lang, Études Studio, Maison Kitsuné, and Harmony Paris, the store easily accomplishes that goal.
Armed with just a few racks, Chan is starting off small, focusing on establishing his connection and familiarity with the brands currently carried. “I want to grow our brands first before adding new designers,” he says. “Something like Helmut Lang is big as a department store brand, but I want to show it as a boutique label.” With a small amount of items available, Chan’s curation and direction is clear. It’s a brave move for his first store, but Chan has been vetted in the fashion world with previous experience at Holt Renfrew and local backpack label Velt Designs.
In another bold act, Chan has focused much of his limited buying to unisex designs. “The way we bought for the store is very androgynous because that’s the way fashion is heading,” he says, alluding to major designers like Valentino that have joined the gender-fluid movement. “There’s a brand I’m bringing in called CMMN SWDN, which is really coming up right now, and the way we bought for that is we bought a lot of extra-smalls because I think a lot of women will be really into that. I met with him and his wife, and she was in head-to-toe CMMN SWDN, and I just thought it looked so cool.”
017 has some other quite lofty goals, including bringing fine art into the store in a comprehensive, thoughtful manner. From inception, Chan designed the space to be able to beautifully and functionally hold art shows and events. “I wanted a shop and an art gallery—so I want to keep the clothing the main focus, but we made fixtures much smaller and everything can move,” he explains, motioning towards the hidden wheels underneath the sales counter. With big ideas and the conviction to follow through, 017 is sure start making some loud noises of its own.
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