Shop Goss is the Georgia Straight’s weekly feature, where we give you the lowdown on Metro Vancouver’s coolest independent boutiques—and the spirited minds behind them—that deserve a spot on your shopping radar.
This week, we meet Linda Sin, owner of Kitsilano's Middle Sister (2137 West 4th Avenue).
Describe your business in three sentences or less.
Middle Sister is a locally owned neighbourhood boutique with a global sensibility and design-conscious aesthetic. We carry a highly edited selection of women's clothing, showcasing unique Korean and Canadian fashion designers. Uninhibited by passing trends, we focus on curating personal style and celebrating fashion to help women embrace their own personal sense of style.
How did you come to own and/or operate your own shop?
I love traveling and exploring new cities, and in the process, finding unique and special designers and products. Prior to opening the store, whenever I would return from my travels, I would have friends and even strangers approach me to ask where I got the shoes or bracelet or skirt I happen to be wearing—and it was always my dream to bring these wonderful and unique fashions back to Vancouver.
And yes, I am the middle sister in my family, which means the shop really is the culmination of my desire to express myself. It’s inspired by the places I’ve travelled to, and the people and things I’ve fallen in love with.
My favourite brands we carry at the moment are…
Canadian designer Birds of North America, who is originally from Victoria but now living in Toronto. Her collections are contemporary but vintage-inspired, and made up of colourful prints, unusual colour-blocking, and graphic pop elements. Her unique design aesthetic results in collections that are both nostalgic and modern.
Korean designer Ti:baeg: this collection is quirky and ethereal. The designs are meant to release the colours within you like the way tea infuses rich flavours into water. The line combines contemporary and classic silhouettes withdelicate details, graphic elements, and prints inspired by nature.
You’re being sent to a desert island with limited Wi-Fi access for an indefinite amount of time. What three products in the shop right now would you take with you?
A scarf: we currently carry linen and cotton blended scarves that are perfect for the hot weather. They shield you from the sun and keeping you warm when the sun sets.
A a lightweight button-up shirt dress in a beachside print from Spanish designer Indi & Cold. It's lightweight, has pockets, and can be worn as a dress or cover-up.
Skinfood's sheet mask: it's individually wrapped and you put the sheet on your face for 20 minutes, remove it, and let everything sink in for intense moisture and hydration. For a deserted island, I would take the aloe vera one to soothe my-sun stressed skin.
Name new arrival you can’t wait to show off.
This season, I am carrying a new Korean designer named Studio di Perla: I discovered the label when I was in Seoul in the fall. As a bonus, the designer herself is lovely, which makes me love the collection even more!
All the pieces in her spring and summer collection are either black or cream; she creates beautiful silhouettes. My favourite piece of hers right now is a dress, where there is no “front” or “back”—you can wear it either way. There are ties that you can tie in the front or the back, or you could just leave them hanging; you could wear it off the shoulder or as a cowl neck. The possibilities are endless. There is both a dress version and a top version of this magical piece!
What’s the weirdest, wackiest, or most out-there item on your shelves or racks at the moment?
A T-shirt dress with sequins and ruffles. Who says a T-shirt dress has to be plain and boring?
My last purchase—from the store or otherwise—was…
I try really hard not to raid the store whenever a delivery arrives but it’s basically impossible. Since all the spring deliveries are happening right now, my self-control is really being tested. I recently walked away with a denim ruffle dress—it comes in three colours: red, white, and blue. I took two colours, and really want the third one, too, but I won’t!
When I’m not at the shop, you can find me…
Having a glass of wine or, if I’m trying to be healthy, at the yoga studio.
What’s another local business you love?
West 4th has so many great shops! I love Silk Road Tea (2066 West 4th Avenue) not just for amazing organic teas, but for its great skincare products and amazing customer service. Bare Wax Bar (2065 West 4th Avenue) is also great for eyebrow threading, eyelash lifts, and hair products.