Nicole Bridger's environmental chic hits Kitsilano

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      Who is the Nicole Bridger customer? According to the eco-conscious fashion designer, it’s basically her—the quintessential Kits chick, who loves coffee from 49th Parallel, shoes from Gravity Pope, produce from Whole Foods, and of course yoga wear from lululemon.

      That’s why when it came to picking a retail space for Bridger’s flagship clothing store, West 4th Avenue was a no-brainer.

      “Instead of asking my customer to come and see me somewhere where I might have gotten a cheaper rent, I came to where she already is. And because I am my own customer, it was an easy decision,” says Bridger, who recently took some time out from her opening-night party to discuss the importance of going green and location, location, location. “I know Vancouver. I’ve lived here my whole life. I know where the pockets are.”

      After she scored her dream location (at 2151 West 4th Avenue), Bridger set out to make her modest boutique as environmentally friendly as possible. Everything from the eco-foam-stuffed vintage chairs by the changing rooms to the energy-saving toilets are a testament to her commitment.

      “It’s all green,” says Canada’s first ever Eco Fashion Design Award winner. “We put radiant floor heating into all our flooring,” she says. “All the wood that you see is reclaimed from a church that they tore down on 41st and Oak.

      “The paint is all clay-based paint instead of petroleum-based,” she continues. “The chandelier is recycled resin and locally designed by Propellor. The cash desk is made out of Port, which is a recycled material, and the front face of it is paper stone, which is compressed recycled paper.”

      In terms of the Nicole Bridger spring-summer 2011 line, she didn’t feel she had to overextend herself with more pieces than usual. Designwise, she kept to what she’s good at: functional sophistication.

      “I like clothes that work for my lifestyle,” says the instantly likable eco-darling of fashion. “I’m a professional mom. I go to the market. I go to business meetings. I go out to dinner and I like to be comfortable, stylish, and feel special. So it’s a socially conscious line that’s effortless, luxurious, and makes you feel special and sexy in your everyday life.”

      With that in mind, you’ll find classic Bridger designs such as the Compassion Dress ($330), a hot summer number that has a drapey, twisted, below-the-knee hemline that gives it an extra kick of modern beauty. It comes in peach, khaki, black, and rain blue and is made from a woven, naturally sustainable linen.

      Another solid Bridger design is the Surrender Dress ($216). This effortlessly elegant, drape-necked sleeveless dress comes in five different colours and 100 percent modal, a jersey spandex that’s made from birch trees that have been selectively harvested (as opposed to clear-cut).

      Now that she’s got one store under her belt, Bridger has no intention of resting on her eco-friendly laurels. She’s got big plans.

      “I see us diversifying into men’s and children’s and bags and shoes and eventually just becoming an ethical designer/lifestyle brand and having retail spaces all over the world.”