After establishing itself as one of Victoria’s premier boutiques, Still Life made its way to Vancouver, choosing Main & 7th as home. The new, smartly-designed space is simply enjoyable to be in, maybe partly due to the light wood and white furnishings, which offer a range of interesting labels for browsing. Still Life not only elevates the discussion that Mt. Pleasant is emerging to rival Gastown as the shopping area of choice, but simply the shop may offer some brands you haven’t seen before. Carrying both men’s and women’s apparel, Still Life ticks even more boxes ranging from casual to formal, with Mads Norgaard, Thorocraft and Libertine-Libertine as some of the standout labels. Owner Matt Jensen took a second to chop it up with us about the new shop.
Q: The name “Still Life” could be taken as a reference to visual art, among other things. What is your take on the intersection of clothing and art?
A: This falls under that question of “what is art?” I don’t feel that much of the clothing we sell in our stores could be considered art, but in the high fashion world I definitely would say that the designers are artists and some of the pieces should be looked at as art. Our customers appreciate that we have wearable, functional clothing that they can understand.
Q: Is it just me, or do you guys seem to carry a lot of Scandinavian labels?
A: We definitely are attracted to many aspects of Scandinavian design, so it makes sense that we end up ordering Scandinavian brands. From furniture and architecture to clothing, their aesthetic definitely resonates with us.
Q: Your first shop was in Victoria, how has the Still Life concept been adapted to suit Vancouver?
A: The Vancouver shop is far bigger than both of our Victoria shops, so we are able to carry both men’s and women’s under one roof like the original Still Life had. We haven’t changed the concept so much, we stick to the same overall concept of stocking approachable brands in an inviting, unpretentious and comfortable space.
Q: How are you finding Main St so far?
A: We love it. It’s been great so far and every day it seems to get better. We enjoy every aspect of the neighbourhood, our customers and the surrounding businesses are great! I feel like it has been a very warm welcome and we look forward to growing and changing as the community does.
Q: What kind of statement are you making with your hanging, self-watering garden installation? Is it more than just decorative?
A: I wish we could say that it was more than aesthetic, but it’s not really. I mean there are benefits to having that many plants in the building but we mainly did it for the look and feel it would create. We almost felt we had to do it because of the massive skylights and when my wife Kim said we should make the planters massive, I couldn’t turn down the challenge. It was a cool project to design and figure out.
Q: What is your go-to hangover breakfast?
A: I’ve only been truly hungover once in my life, but my favourite “hangover” breakfast is eggs Benedict with hash browns but bacon instead of ham.