Located in the art deco storefront of the Graphic Arts building on the east end of Jasper Avenue is Local Gifts, a boutique shop specializing in the weird and wonderful. Vintage clothing, locally made art and accessories are just a few things you might happen to find inside.
Vue Weekly: Where did the idea for Local Gifts come from?
Nickelas Johnson: We started conceiving of Local Gifts a number of years ago out of a kind of perceived necessity. I want to live in a city that has a shop like ours, a place more defined by esthetics than by consistent items; a place to go when you’re not looking for anything specific but want to find a thing that’ll inspire or excite you. We wanted to contribute positively to our community and thought a tactile little storefront, like an old general store, might be more inviting than another gallery. I guess we got tired of waiting for someone with more business savvy to open it, so when we were offered the beautiful space we have now for a price that allowed us to take a chance, we decided to go for it.
VW: Who is Local Gifts?
NJ: Local Gifts is Candice Kelly, Matt Prins, Cole Kushner, Nickelas Johnson and all the artists whose work we’re lucky to sell through our little shop.
VW: What sort of items do you carry?
NJ: The name is as tongue-in-cheek as it is blunt and factual in that we carry mostly art and items produced and discovered locally, but we also offer the things that we don’t generally find locally—like the weirder comics on my Amazon wish list that I’d like to walk into a joint and peruse with my real-world hands and senses. We carry carefully chosen vintage clothes, art prints and paintings, ceramics, comic books, woodworking and furniture, moustache wax—whatever oddball things we can and want to fit into the place.
VW: What do you look for when you are curating your vintage selection?
Candice Kelly: I look for natural fibres (wool, silk and linen, especially), and classic styles; pieces that are versatile and can work with a modern wardrobe—casual, everyday wearable things as opposed to more formal/special-occasion pieces. I try and pick things that don’t require foundation garments for most women to squeeze into them. Girdle-free dressing.
VW: What sort of spring pieces can we expect to find in-store?
CK: Spring in Edmonton means layering, so you can expect to see a lot of light jackets and sweaters for men and women. Pieces like sleeveless dresses that can be worn over T-shirts or button-ups, lots of light, pastel and neutral colours, and so much denim as well as sneakers and sandals—things you can wear while riding your bike. And, of course, some nice floral prints and stripes.
VW: What are your spring go-tos?
CK: Denim is a constant for me once the weather lightens up, and vintage denim is the best: denim jackets, longer denim wrap skirts, shorter denim A-line skirts and denim jumpers are all go-tos. Double denim, I’m into it. Lightweight knits, linen and silk pieces in simple shapes and light colours as well.
9523 Jasper Ave
Open Saturdays and Sundays (noon – 6 pm)
Photography: Meaghan Baxter
Styling: Candice Kelly and Sandy Joe Karpetz
Hair and makeup: Amber Prepchuk
Models: Candice Kelly and Matt Prins
Bag: Victoria Canada, $12
Jean jacket: Levi’s, $35
T-shirt and belt: Model’s own
Jeans: GWG, $35
Sandals: San Miguel, $30
Jean jacket: GWG, $45
T-shirt: Smokey Draws!, $20
Pants: Model’s own
Boots: Model’s own
Top: Model’s own
Earrings: Model’s own
Top: Revenge Shirtmakers, $30
Jacket: army surplus, $25
Shoes: Converse, model’s own
Jeans: Nudie, model’s own
Dress (worn as top): Model’s own
Skirt: Marsha, $25
Shoes: Chilis, $40
Necklace: Carmen Douville, $59
Shoes: Asics, $30
Anorak: Baysport, $30
Plaid shirt: Levi’s, $25