The cobblestone paths have paved the way for Gastown to become the newest shopping district in Vancouver. Located towards the start of this historic area at 354 Water Street is the shopping gem, One of a Few. With local and international designs, One of a Few founder Michelle Rizzardo, has carefully curated simplistic, sophisticated and classic pieces for her unique store. For the last ten years, she’s found fashion treasures from all over the world and told stories regarding their background to her customers in Vancouver. I had the pleasure of sitting down at Timbertrain with the lovely Michelle Rizzardo to discuss her successful store.
Tell us a bit about One of a Few.
Michelle Rizzardo: We bring in independent and established designers from all over the world. We provide things that are different, well curated and classic. Attention to quality is really important to us and we even have an in-house label. You could come in and get everything you need.
What inspired you create One of a Few?
MR: I’ve worked retail since I was fourteen, I’ve done it forever and I’ve done it all. I’ve always thought of it as something you do for fun. One day, while I was traveling, I had all my clothes hanging up to dry and suddenly I thought, it would be super cute to have a store. That’s where the idea started. After coming back from traveling, I wrote a business plan to go into my MBA. People encouraged me to implement it, they said “you’ve done the road map to be where you are.” It’s weird to know that you can make money out of something you like.
What’s your favourite Vancouver season and why?
MR: Fall. Anybody in the fashion industry would agree. There’s so much more creativity.
Why did you choose Gastown for your store location?
MR: At the time, I had been away from Vancouver for 7 years. I was doing a lot of traveling, doing things in Europe, getting inspired by small communities and buildings that had a lot of character. When I came back to Vancouver, I wanted my store to have that character, so I chose Gastown. It’s such a community driven place with its cobblestone and history. Gastown is such a big part of the character I was trying to establish in my store. It really helped because when I did open, the community supported me and became a huge part of who I am today.
What would be the fashion staple for this past season?
MR: A very good bag that is structured and a statement. Nothing that’s floppy, something that’s more so architecturally focused. Alongside a long duster or trench, a thick sweater, and maybe a hint of pink with Martiniano shoes.
What do you forecast for spring 2015?
MR: I think culottes were so big for fall and they’re such a good, easy, strong statement. We’re not going to lose those. Neutrals are definitely still around; we’ll probably get black and white mixes in there. A lot of hats, statement jewelries, and a watch, it’s clean clothing that is long term and classic with one piece that draws your outfit together. And everybody needs a trench coat, a clean, open, style trench.
What inspires you to do what you do?
MR: The designers that are making clothing and people that appreciate them. You can see when people feel good in what they’re wearing; it changes how you feel about your day. If you have something on that doesn’t fit or feels uncomfortable, you walk that energy. Clothing can build so many peoples confidence. You can’t change the way you look physically, like your skin, but your creativity can really come out in your clothing and being a part of that, is pretty amazing.
– Farah Tozy