Tamara Stone wearing a shirt by Westcoastees from Duncan

Store showcases Island creativity for fashion

Local designers, jewelers and artisans share spotlight at Left Coast Fashions

Rick StiebelThe Chronicle

Tamara Stone brings a focus on local designers, jewelers and artisans to the eclectic range of items in Left Coast Fashions.

“My main motivation was to open a place that has a large variety of local products,” said Stone, whose boutique carries more than 35 items with a local flair. “That was very important to me. A lot of local people and tourists who come here say that they’ve been looking for places like this that showcase Island creativity and sustainability.”

Stone, who has a background in marketing and sales, decided to open Left Coast Fashions in Aril after the company she worked for downsized.

“It was time for a change in direction,” she explained between customers in her 1st Avenue shop. “I’ve always had an interest in fashion and handcrafted items and thought this would be a great way to support the local scene.”

Although she lives in Nanaimo, Stone had spent some time in Ladysmith and was drawn by the town’s appeal as the location for her store.

“I’m really impressed with the spirit of community,” she said. “There’s a real neighbourly feel that’s hard to describe, but you see it everywhere. I really appreciate the commitment to keeping the history alive and the restoration efforts.”

That influenced Stone to purchase the 108 year old Sutherland Block for her location, and she has incorporated some of the building’s history into her business. The counter that she found in a storage locker was part of the original jewelry store the Grant family ran at that location for 35 years.

“They asked me if I wanted to use it,” said Stone, who was only too happy to accept. “An antique safe made a really cool display as well.”

Owning the Sutherland Block – Left Coast Fashions is on the main floor of the two-story building – affords Stone with the opportunity to create her own vision for the historic property. “I’m in the process of welcoming my first tenant, Canvas Plus,” she said. “They’ve already established a great reputation in this town.”

Left Coast Fashions is hosting a Social Night Thursday, Sept. 29 that will include stylists from Elate Cosmetics doing makeovers. “Their organic makeup has a cult following across Canada, she added. Canvas Plus will also be on hand displaying images and photographs by local artists and photographers, and refreshments will be served.

Please call 250-924-3380.