Leading eco-designer Nicole Bridger shutters flagship store in Gastown, will shift to online and pop-up model

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      Nicole Bridger, one of Vancouver’s leading designers in ecofriendly, ethically crafted womenswear, has shuttered her Gastown flagship.

      The boutique, which moved to 14 Water Street from Kitsilano in 2015 and frequently served as a hub for Vancouver’s design- and green-oriented communities, shut its doors for good at the end of September. The closure comes as a result of Bridger’s decision to streamline her stock: she now produces a seasonal Core Closet Collection, reducing her inventory of versatile, sustainably made women’s apparel from hundreds of pieces to just 10.

      This change makes it difficult to justify operating a brick-and-mortar store, says Bridger, and thus, she’s decided to shift her business model to one that emphasizes online orders and pop-up shops instead.

      “We’re noticing that people are wanting to buy less, buy better quality,” she tells the Straight by phone. “We have certain styles that just sell really well, that are really good staples.”

      In a blog post, Bridger shares that the decision to minimize her label’s offerings was also influenced by a desire to destress her life. Since launching her brand in 2006, the designer has been transparent about the challenges of running an ethical and environmentally sound business and the impact it’s had on her health.

      Although she no longer operates a physical shop, Bridger is confident that her eponymous label will continue to serve as a catalyst for dialogue surrounding responsible consumption and the “slow fashion” movement.

      Her Core Closet Collection for fall/winter, which is now available for pre-order online, is made up of easy-to-wear basics like linen-jersey T-shirts, organic-cotton button-ups, and floral-print silk dresses (from $124). Like past Nicole Bridger lines, all items are designed in Vancouver and ethically manufactured using sustainably produced fabrics in factories at home and overseas.

      “I know that no matter where we are, whatever presence we have—whether it’s a pop-up, an interaction online, or visiting one of our factories in India—we’ll always be a place where those authentic, genuine conversations can happen,” says Bridger.

      Vancouver-based footwear line Native Shoes is expected to open its first standalone boutique in the Nicole Bridger space.

      Starting this fall, Vancouverites will be able to find Nicole Bridger apparel online and at pop-up shops across Canada, including at Gastown’s LYNNSteven (225 Carrall Street) from this Friday to Sunday (October 13 to 15).

      Follow Lucy Lau on Twitter @lucylau.