Retail Talk: Ibiki, Montreal

November 16, 2015 BY WATM STAFF

As more and more concept shops – boutiques that blend a curation of clothing, art, design, and lifestyle objects—opn around the globe, the art of retail is undergoing a renaissance. Shopping online is not as fun as discovering and experiencing the vision of a creative retailer IRL. WATM will be speaking with some of the world’s most visionary retailers in this space to learn more about their businesses and approaches to creating a memorable shopping experience.


Located in Montreal, Canada, Ibiki is a concept shop that’s leading the market with its well-curated selection of international labels, unusual magazines and printed materials. Buyer Jonah Leslie opened the shop at age 23, and 9 years later, his shop is one of Montreal’s best stores. The shop is currently bricks and mortar only, with no plans for e-commerce, so focusing on the physical experience is key.


For AW16, Jonah is drawn to the styles of Japan and Scandinavia. “The climate in both regions of the world are similar to Montreal's,” he says. “You can also see certain similarities within the design ethos of Scandinavia and northern Asia as they both lean towards pared -down functionalism.”


This season, comfort, functionality and wearability are the main trends, and dropped shoulder sleeves, 3/4 length dresses and button downs which tend to be roomy and good for layering are key items. The tops for men also tend to be a bit longer.

Key brands currently hanging at the store include Etudes Studio, OAK NYC, Norse Projects, and Alexander Yamaguchi.


A book and magazine section is made for browsing, with It’s Nice That, Modern Matter, Compost Magazine, and Elephant among the independent, culturally minded publications in stock.



“I take inspiration from all things around me really, as anyone else I suppose. But I'm very conscious that whatever I expose myself to will find it's way into the work I do, so I do look at a lot of art and design related stuff, digging around to find people and works that really speak to me, and finding out more about the person's process,” Jonah explains. My parents are contemporary dancers. I naturally, grew up thinking I would be a dancer as well. Things took a different turn around age 20 due to a knee injury. I still apply lots of what I built on in that medium. I used, and still use themes like abstract geometry, sculpturalism, modularity, practiced improvisation amongst others.”

He adds,” Unrelated but influential...I also like watching documentaries about the universe…. I like drawing parallels between the macro and micro.”