fashion magazine
Local Wonders To Behold
Photography by PETER JENSEN
As one walks into Shop Cocoon on Cambie Street, the eye immediately focuses on the décor. A pair of larger-than-life antlers crowns the cash wrap and adds to the already cozy, cottage-y feel of the store. It may look small from the outside (like most shops in the Cambie area) but once inside, you feel like you could browse for hours.

Shop Cocoon was born from an idea that owner Brenda Li dreamed up after completing an extensive fashion education at both UBC and New York's Parsons New School for Design. Li created the shop as a platform for local designers to showcase and sell their work to Vancouver fashion lovers. It was important as a former designer of her own clothing line, to support new artists and give them the opportunity to gain a following. The name "Cocoon" was chosen because it evokes images of butterflies emerging from chrysalides, which represents the emerging designers showcased.

Shop Cocoon began as a co-op, something very unique to Vancouver. Designers rent space in the store but have to work there one day a month. In return, they receive the benefit of interacting with their customers first hand. While the concept is sure to evolve in the coming years in response to changes in the industry, Li is proud to be a part of promoting local designers. "It's the great local designers that have inspired me to open Cocoon and showcase what Vancouver has to offer. These designers could rival any of the world class labels we also carry. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to cultivate a unique and interactive shopping experience for customers and designers alike."

When visiting the store, first-time customers can expect to stay and explore for a while. Li chooses designers based on versatility so that the shop is a one-stop haven for the style-savvy. Shoppers will find beautiful local jewellery, clothing for every occasion, shoes and even home accessories like vases, soap and kitchen aprons. Eighty per cent of the merchandise in the store is local and Li fills in the gaps (for example, jeans from Free People) with the other twenty per cent. "I wanted to make sure that customers have a cohesive shopping experience," she explains, and Shop Cocoon accomplishes that. One can find a head-to-toe outfit as well as gifts for special occasions. Also adding to the magic is the décor. Li makes all the props and window displays herself. "You should see my garage! It's full of works-in-progress that I plan to make into props and decorations." Dark-stained wooden bookcases and white-washed picture frames lend a home-y and friendly ambiance to the shop which perfectly compliments the down-to-earth yet girly designs that Shop Cocoon carries.

A dedicated shop owner, talented designers and a great atmosphere all combine to make Shop Cocoon a staple on the Vancouver retail scene. Customers in need of a fresh summer dress, funky accessories or a gift for a loved one will be able to find locally-designed and quality pieces to meet their needs. Shop Cocoon is located in Cambie Village at 3345 Cambie Street and is open seven days a week. Visit for more information.