– Words by Angela Cowan Photographs by Don Denton
When Tracy Arden opened up her consignment boutique a year and a half ago, she created a space where she could celebrate her lifelong passion for fashion and design, and also share that passion with her community. Not only does Redefined Clothing Boutique carry a contemporary high-end selection of clothes, accessories and shoes, but Tracy offers a selection of services, including personal shopping and wardrobe consultations.
When she first opened in her home on July 9, 2020, the date was carefully chosen.
“Opening day meant something to me because it would have been my mom’s 85th birthday,” she says.
And when Tracy moved the business into the lower level of Belongings in the heart of downtown Duncan, she reopened in the commercial space on July 9 of this year. A fitting remembrance, as it was her mom who got her started on the path to fashion.
“My mom put me into sewing lessons when I was quite young, and it still surprises me to this day because I took to it really quickly,” she explains.
As she went through school, Tracy kept up with it, learning and improving her skills, and then she started playing with designing her own pieces. Over the years, she grew into a proficient seamstress, and continued designing and making pieces for herself, and then for her daughter, always on the lookout for beautiful fabrics.
“What I loved was that I could create something absolutely unique that nobody else had. I loved that creative element,” she says.
Tracy spent some time working in high-end boutiques, loving the experience, but says, “The idea had always been in the back of my mind to open a higher-end ladies’ consignment boutique.”
She had her sights set on a consignment boutique rather than a retail shop selling new items for a few reasons. Environmentally, it keeps clothing out of the landfills, and it also makes a lot of designer brands more accessible to those people who love fashion, but don’t love the extreme price tags. And in a smaller community like the Cowichan Valley, it made sense to fill a niche.
“We have many beautiful retail stores already in Duncan,” she says. “And I’ve received really positive feedback about what I’m doing in the store. This has been really needed.”
Her biggest goal with the boutique is encouraging women to take that extra time and effort for themselves, she says.
“If only I had a dollar for every time somebody said to me, ‘I don’t get dressed up anymore because I’m retired,’” she laughs. “You might not be wearing all the clothes you did in your professional life…but it is important to feel great, even if you throw on your favourite jeans, T-shirt and a nice jacket and scarf. It’s empowering for women to walk out the door and feel powerful and beautiful.”
The 7 Sins
Whose shoes would you like to walk in?
Annie Lennox. She has amazing style and the voice of an angel.
What is the food you could eat over and over again?
Hmm, that is a toss-up for me…pasta or a yummy salad!
You’re given $1 million that you have to spend selfishly. What would you spend it on?
I would design and build a cosy ranch-style home on a private acreage with room for our Australian shepherds!
Negativity, dirty countertops and people obsessed by their cell phones.
Where would you spend a long time doing nothing?
Doing nothing is not part of my DNA, but if you give me a really good margarita and a beach, I could probably chill out for a while.
What is the one thing you’re secretly proud of?
My resilience to overcome adversity.
What makes your heart beat faster?
The never-ending support from my family…and a consignor with a trunk full of designer clothing!
Check out Redefined Clothing Boutique online here.