The shopping game has been flipped upside down. Consumers were already moving towards online shopping platforms, but COVID-19 has catapulted online shopping in 2020 to new heights.
Amazon just recently hired 100,000 new workers in the U.S. and Canada to keep up with the growing online shopping demand during the pandemic, and its first distribution centre in the Prairies is opening in Winnipeg in 2021.
While this is good news for Winnipeg's overall economic picture, this new shopping series aims to bring everyone’s attention (and pocket books) back to a local mindset. There has never been a more crucial time to support local and Winnipeg has so many diverse options to help you check off that shopping list for the fast-approaching holiday season.
These posts will highlight a selection of only some of Winnipeg’s fantastic stores and designers. For a complete list of local shopping options, go to Tourism Winnipeg’s shopping section and sort by “local boutiques/shops.”
One item I always prefer to buy in person is clothing. Sizes can be tricky, returns can be complicated and driving to the pick-up centre close to the airport can be annoying when you’ve missed the home delivery. To avoid all that frustration, this first instalment in our series will highlight clothing shops.
This Exchange District boutique is owned and operated by designer and entrepreneur, Alicja Dalecki. She has exquisite taste and fills the shop with gorgeous pieces sourced locally and internationally. While minimalist and contemporary clothing is her forte, she also stocks houseware, jewelry, and beauty products for purchase. Every piece has a story and Alicja has an amazing talent for bringing those stories together in her Albert Street shop.
Lennard Taylor is a Winnipeg success story, as well as one of the city’s top ambassadors. You can find him in his two-story shop in a heritage building at 246 McDermot Avenue; always smiling, always designing. His dresses and jackets are made right here in Winnipeg using beautiful statement fabrics and sustainable techniques. In fact, Lennard has always been a champion of sustainable fashion, encouraging his clients to bring in pieces from their closet destined for the trash and turning them into wearable pieces or artwork. The style is oversized elegance, and many of his designs could easily fit the New York or Berlin street-style scene. Our Marketing Director swears by his denim collection, claiming they wear better than any jeans he has ever owned. New since the pandemic, Lennard offers a virtual shopping experience where he acts as your personal stylist and takes you around the shop from the comfort of your own home. Now that is retail therapy at its finest.
Shop Take Care
With two locations in Winnipeg (the Exchange and Osborne Village), Shop Take Care is one of my favorites for one-of-a-kind finds. It has been open since February 2017, offering gender-inclusive consignment clothing and home goods. In addition to a curated collection of eclectic consignment clothing ranging from sizes XS to 4X, Shop Take Care offers a selection of small batch made, handmade goods from brands across North America that focus on ethical and sustainable practices. The stores are very easy to navigate, coded by colour versus gender and the merchandising is beautifully done. Better yet, the collection changes often so there is always new treasures to be found in-store and online.
If you don’t follow Tony Chestnut on Instagram, please start now, as her styling is ultra-creative and oh, so much fun. Jill Sawatzky is the brains behind the brand and everything is produced in Winnipeg. Each piece is a conversation starter and a clear form of expression. One of her signature pieces is the Rag Knit sweater, which is hand-knit using recycled, donated and repurposed materials. The result is a cozy, super unique and attention-getting creation that you will want to keep on hand all winter.
MARGOT + MAUDE
I have been excited about this gem on Academy Road since it opened. The two owners have a great aesthetic and offer a gorgeous selection of clothing, giftware, jewelry, footwear and accessories. They stock Canadian and International brands, but are proud of the fact that all purchasing is either direct through the maker, or through an independent Canadian distribution centre. The overall style of MARGOT + MAUDE is feminine and free-spirited, made with comfy fabrics. It is perfect for the upcoming winter months ahead where movie nights, game nights and local take-out are surely in the cards.
Winnipeggers have always known that Anne Mulaire is a force to be reckoned with, but Harpers Baazar recently recognized the designer as one of the most influential Indigenous People in the industry. Andréanne Dandeneau, owner and designer, is proudly French-Metis and all her designs are inspired by her Ojibwe-French heritage. From active wear, to ready-to-wear romantic styles, Anne’s designs are made using primarily bamboo fabric, which is breathable and comfortable. Her ethical manufacturing techniques and a zero-waste program are just a couple of the reasons why she has been celebrated in the Canadian fashion industry as a pioneer in the growing trend for sustainable fashion.
“Let’s hear it for the boy” looking for local shopping options (#Footloose). Finding casual and affordable fashion for men can be quite the feat in Winnipeg, so this option will help all those boys out there narrow the search. Livestock’s head office is in Vancouver but it has been in Winnipeg for a few years now. It recently relocated to the Fortune building at 224 Main Street this past December with a slick storefront that you can’t miss (especially if you visited the Beer Can this summer, as it is right next door). There is a variety of international street wear and footwear brands, as well the store’s Livestock brand of t-shirts. And while I did say that this option is geared towards men, I was politely corrected when calling the store and told all the clothing is unisex. So, on that note ladies AND gentlemen, look to Livestock for all your urban, sport-inspired fashion.