Sometimes there is opportunity in crisis

(Courtesy of James Heaslip)

Look in the mirror and describe your fashion sense in three words. For many people, these three words will change on a day-to-day basis because fashion is ever-changing. People are constantly reinventing themselves and finding new ways of expression. What better time to reinvent yourself than in a global pandemic? 

COVID-19 has been a pressing reality for about a year now, and it has forced even the most social people to take time to reflect, understand, and come to terms with this idea that there is nowhere to look but inside. 

In Ontario, certain businesses are deemed essential, but retail is not one of them. COVID-19 has had a major impact on everyone, but it is hard to grasp the magnitude of its impact on nonessential businesses, such as clothing stores and fashion outlets.

COVID-19 is all up in our business

In a recent interview with Ashlene and Natasha Roberts, retail owners of Space Vintage, located in the heart of Kensington Market, the mother-daughter duo discusses how the pandemic has actually flourished an intrigue in the importance of fashion. 

“COVID-19 has forced us to adapt to a new way of doing business. You have to innovate, adapt, and change. Don’t be afraid to reinvent the way you do business during this time,” Ashlene and Natasha say. 

“Fashion is armour,” they add. “There is always a piece of clothing that correlates to both your challenges and victories.” 

It seems that now more than ever, people are celebrating the small moments and appreciating the small victories. “For example, you can make curbside pick-up a really fun event. Something that people look forward to on a Saturday afternoon. Find some way to make it appealing to people,” Ashlene and Natasha say.

“We want people to know it’s possible to come out of difficult situations if you work to find the opportunity in a crisis. It’s something that requires innovation and grit.”

Space Vintage

(Courtesy of James Heaslip)

Since 2017, Space Vintage has been located in Kensington Market, and despite many hurdles, including COVID-19, they have managed to keep the business alive.

Originally working on fashion projects online, Ashlene sparked the curiosity of a customer who visited the store. News spread, and the line-ups started in front of Space Vintage. From there it was Ashlene and Natasha (who made her first sale at the age of six), working side-by-side to bring the world something new and chic. 

“We believe in dressing people according to their needs. It’s about making our clients feel good. It’s about their sense of inner beauty as opposed to vanity or dressing to impress anyone else. It’s personal,” they explain.

Retail therapy — A superpower

Fashion is all about embracing your individuality, and Space Vintage reveals that although the intimate shopping experience is missing and the chance to connect with your customers is currently on hold, fashion and clothing extends far beyond the four walls of a shop. 

Natasha and Ashlene say that the negative connotation around “retail therapy” must be erased. There is strength and beauty in being able to pick yourself up and wear something different than what is going on in your mind. 

Natasha and Ashlene add that with fashion you can go from, “No I am not good enough,” to putting on the jacket that tells you, “Yes, I am a conqueror!” 

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By Prerna Vadhiparthi

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