When you step away from the busyness of West Hastings into KAPADE, you enter into an atmosphere devoid of the mood-setting music and chatter typical of most retail spaces. Instead, you find yourself enveloped by calm and carefulness; all crafted by owner Vaneesha Advani. The displayed clothing and accessories play into this theme. Each chosen with care and diligence that reflects the attention to detail that Advani brings to all aspects of her professional career.
As a professional woman, Advani has amassed a wealth of experience from working in the fashion industry. Since studying fashion design at the prestigious Parsons School of Design in New York, she has spent time working in Vancouver, Montreal, and Eindhoven, the Netherlands, while consistently showing at international fashion weeks.
Her family has kept her motivated along the way, especially her brother Ramesh Jai Gulabrai, who was recently awarded the best feature film at the Cannes International Pan African Film Festival.
He acts as a source of creative inspiration and shares her commitment to constant self-improvement. “We both inspire one another—we both are in creative fields. The reason I am able to go on, despite some bumps on the road, is because of my brother Ramesh, and my father. They have always believed in me. I would say we are relentless; we don’t stop.”
Advani’s collection, Designs by Sonia was inspired by her travels throughout West Africa, specifically her birthplace of Ghana. She sourced large glass beads from this region and crafted her creations in her workshop in Eindhoven. Her line currently features other eclectic materials, like burnt wood, linen ribbons, and Japanese yarns.
“These accessories are statement pieces,” Advani shares, “meant to be worn by a woman seeking to stand-out amongst her contemporaries.” It is her commitment to uniqueness and boldness that creates a consistent message that has garnered Designs by Sonia stockists in Europe and Japan and devoted fans like legendary fashion icon Iris Apfel.
In November 2018, Advani opened KAPADE on a whim. “I was browsing through the internet and came across the website which had local retail spaces for rent. I just got curious and started to look at them. Not knowing I would get into retail, and to make a long story short, before I knew it I had a space, and once I had a space, I made a commitment,” she remarks with a shy smile.
The usually daunting process of acquiring labels for a new venture did not materialize for Advani. Her vast connections throughout the industry made the choice of designers for the store simple because, with many, she has developed trust through personal relationships. This knowledge allowed her to ensure quality in workmanship and materials in her collections.
Her mindset towards buying echoes this. “I believe in buying clothes which are timeless; I focus on fabrics, shapes, and colours—I am not wild on prints,” she remarks, then laughs. “In the end, it is about my clients; I want them to feel good in them.”
Labels currently stocked at KAPADE include the traditionally adventurous Ablesia, handcrafted bags by Mutsaers, multi-functional dresses by Elementum, unique screen-printed jewelry by Uli Rapp, USA-based Nrk Style, and footwear by Spain’s Petrucha Studio. This diverse selection attracts a particular type of customer, according to Advani. She finds worldly and progressive women wearing these clothes, and sees that they take inspiration from theatre, the arts and politics much like herself.
Advani takes care not to define her patrons by age but emphasizes the timeless looks that well-dressed women can style and own. The result of this is a boutique meant for women to create enduring and versatile head-to-toe looks all from one place.
- Helen Siwak is the founder of EcoLuxLuv Communications, publisher of Folio.YVR Luxury Lifestyle Magazine, and multiple digital lifestyle blogs. She is a content creator, consultant, and marketing and media strategist in the luxury lifestyle niche. She is a regular content contributor to Retail-Insider and has a vast freelance portfolio including Boulevard English & Chinese editions, Indulge, and Montecristo Magazine. When not attending high-profile events in Vancouver's 'Luxury Zone’ or on assignment abroad, she is honing her plant-based cooking skills and caring for her rescues. email@example.com
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