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The Black_Space shop at Nordstrom's store in Vancouver.

CONNIE ZHOU/Nordstrom

As part of its five-year plan to become a more diverse and inclusive company, Seattle-based department store retailer Nordstrom is focused on increasing representation in manager roles at the mid and senior level and delivering US$500-million in retail sales from Black and Latino-backed brands. This month, it’s also launching New Concepts @Nordstrom’s Concept 012: Black_Space, a dedicated shop developed, designed and curated by Black creatives.

“This is our 12th concept since introducing New Concepts in 2019, but it’s the first to bring in a group of creatives with different backgrounds to drive the curation and collaboration of the shop,” says Nordstrom senior vice-president of designer and creative projects Sam Lobban. “We wanted them to narrate their stories and introduce new perspectives for our customers.”

The group behind Concept 012: Black_Space includes designer Beth Birkett, creative director Harris Elliott, stylist Matthew Henson, stylist Marcus Paul and fashion editor Azza Yousif. The selection of merchandise includes ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories for men and women from 24 brands, a list that includes Wales Bonner, Bephies Beauty Supply, Bode, Coral Studios and Sansovino. The selection can be found online and at Nordstrom Pacific Centre in Vancouver until May.

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Stylist Marcus Paul is part of the team behind Black_Space.

CONNIE ZHOU/Nordstrom

“Our hope is to incite discovery amongst our customers and introduce long-lasting relationships between them, possibly finding a new favourite brand,” Lobban says. “This is also an opportunity for Nordstrom to create longstanding relationships with these designers, further amplifying their voices and supporting our communities.”

Nordstrom Pacific Centre, 799 Robson St., Vancouver, 604-699-2100, nordstrom.ca.

Handout

Coral Studios Gothic Shorts, $91.

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Haffmans & Neumeister Emilio Sunglasses, $765.

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Xuly.Bet Le Cache-Coeur, $256.

Style news

Two Canadian clothing companies are introducing collections. Montreal-based brand Rudsak has introduced its Unified Collection. This unisex line of outerwear is available in colours ranging from bright red to navy and classic black. High-performance coats and puffer jackets can withstand temperatures as low as minus 25C and have functional elements such as reversible and removable hoods, storm cuffs and backpack straps. And RW&Co. has launched its spring collection with its Ready to Reimagine campaign, which spotlights 13 entrepreneurs from across the country.

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CB2 has debuted the second instalment of its collaboration with interior designer Kara Mann. with its spring collection of furniture and accessories. Mann and CB2 incorporated fabrics such as linen, cotton sateen, leather and wool as well as product additions including a sectional sofa, a chair with oversized cushions, porcelain bowls, dressers, side tables and a kitchen island meant to look like it’s made of a solid slab of marble. For more information, visit cb2.ca.

As it celebrates its 125th birthday, Swarovski is introducing a new direction. It’s based on the concept of a Wonderlab, the vision of creative director Giovanna Engelbert, which is an inventive, abstract space which she describes as an inclusive laboratory for creativity where magic and science meet. For Collection I, which features her first designs for the brand, Engelbert created necklaces, rings, earrings, bracelets and body jewellery that explore the scale, cut and colour of crystals. For more information, visit swarovski.com.

Canadian footwear company John Fluevog has once again teamed up with Anna Sui, creating custom shoe designs for the designer’s Fall 2021 Phantasmadelic collection. Presented via livestream on Feb. 16, Sui’s collection featured floral versions of John Fluevog East End Odlums, a bestselling Chelsea boot style. Available in black and purple, they are adorned with fairy tale-inspired flowers. Following the presentation, the boots were made available for preorder, a first in Fluevog and Sui’s ongoing collaborative relationship. Ten per cent of sales of the shoes will be donated to the Bowery Mission, a non-profit that fights homelessness and poverty in New York. For more information, visit fluevog.com.

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