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SHOP TALK (June 9)

SECOND CHANCE: Its been nearly a year-long slog for Jenni Nelson to get Community Thrift & Vintage off the ground.

SECOND CHANCE: Its been nearly a year-long slog for Jenni Nelson to get Community Thrift & Vintage off the ground. During a three-year stint in New York working for Zacharys Smile (the in-house design wing of the American-owned Value Vintage chain) and another partner, the Vancouver-born Nelson was approached by a friend at the Portland Hotel Society with the idea of transforming peoples lives with fashion: A retail social enterprise that, in partnership with the PHS, would provide graduated retail job-training and employment to women in transition from detox. After a lengthy search for a storefront, the requisite red tape of rezoning and months of renovations Community Thrift & Vintage opened its doors on yesterday (June 8) at 41 W. Cordova St. (thereby straddling the somewhat subjective line between Gastowns trendy boutiques and the grittiness of the DTES). In addition, all profits will benefit DTES charities. (When there are profits, Nelson jokes, right now all we have are debts.)

As for whats in store, in keeping with its mandate, its not all about labels. Currently, Nelson and her team have focused on white cotton pieces for women this summer, including Indian cotton, eyelet lace and embroidery in whites and creams. On the mens side, Pendleton wool plaid shirts are perfect for around the campfire. The stores well-edited mix of 70s and 80s style is also highlighting vintage Wrangler jeans, whose body-hugging silhouette is mercifully taking over from the all-too-ubiquitous (and almost always unflatteringly ill-fitting) skinny jean.

In the coming months, Nelson hopes to expand her training program to include tailoring and in-house repurposing of vintage pieces.

On the shoe front, woven leather sandals from Brazil and colourful ankle boots sit side-by-side on cedar slabs (reclaimed from the renos of the space). Theres even a solitary pair of size 9 womens Gucci sneakers or at least there was at the time of this writing.

As for prices, Nelsons philosophy is simple: Cheap, cheap, cheap! Tops range from $15 to $30, dresses and jeans $15 to $30, and leather jackets start at $40.

Select donations of clean, good quality clothes will also be accepted during store hours (10am-6 pm Tues-Sat, Sun, 12-6pm, Mon closed). Info:

OFF THE CUFF: Last week, we here at Shop Talk helped female Canucks fans find a more flattering symbol of their devotion than an oversized jersey. This week, its the guys turn. Toronto-based menswear and accessories retailer is offering a selection of cufflinks and tie clips featuring any of the countless logos the Canucks have embraced over the last 40 years, including good ol Johnny Canuck, the classic Retro Stick (pictured at left) and the oh-so-80s Orca. Sadly, the Flying V has been benched this season.

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