In speaking to Charlotte, I found out that one of the keys to her success is a long standing career in the fashion retail market in Vancouver. Back in the 70s, she left nursing to join her husband in running Cabbages and Kings, which was one of Vancouver's first vintage shops. She dreamily regales, "We used to travel to England and all over the place buying vintage clothing in Dickens's-like rag yards buying vintage clothing by the pound, bringing it back".
After Cabbages and Kings, they went on to create one of Vancouver's first alternative stores, The Underground. Opening in 1985, "it was the go to place, first people to bring in PVC clothing, hair color, just that edgy stuff that wasn't available." In pre-Internet times, the local goth/punk scene now had a place to get all the necessary digs. After The Underground came Blondies, a pin-up inspired boutique in White Rock, which eventually led to The Archetype (orginally known as the Arch).
You immediately get sense of a very specific customer when you walk in, and I wondered whether that was intentional. Being of a very fashion foward nature, Charlotte says "We kind of pick what we like". Being in a store like this one makes me want to eschew stores like Forever 21 or H&M, the stores which tend to steal customers away from The Archetype. "...You can't blame people for going, you buy a top for 10 bucks you wear it a couple of times and you throw it away. For me I like to keep my clothes for a long time." That sensibility carries on to the merchandise, bringing a selection of on trend but not garishly trendy items.
As for what to wear this spring, she mentions she looks forward to "All the bright color. I love the color, it makes me happy just seeing it. Especially coming out the winter and greyness, it's exciting to see all the color and the bright prints, high waisted jeans and cute dresses."
Doing a little apres interview window shopping, I found a new box print, pan collared top to lust after. If you are in the neighbourhood, I definitely recommend a stop at The Archetype. A shopping stroll on Main Street isn't quite complete with a look in here!