Neighbour, a small men’s clothing boutique in Vancouver’s Gastown area, gets the mix just right through owner Saager Dilawri’s personal picks of lesser known brands and unique collaborations. Since the shop’s opening, Dilawri has consistently impressed us with quality and variety, so we decided to meet with the entrepreneur to talk about the makings of a good menswear shop.
The first thing you notice when walking into Neighbour is the variety of color and texture. “We have always had an admiration for textiles, shades and colors, as well as for the production process—so that is what we focus on when looking at collections,” says Dilawri. Through the variety of sophisticated but accessible design across smartly wearable apparel and accessories and sharp home objects, Neighbour is able to distinguish itself from the rest of Vancouver’s thriving menswear stores. “We are very conscious of how the items sit and tell a story within the store.”
Vancouver is something of a hub for Canadian menswear, although that doesn’t bother Dilawri: “I think each store has their own niche, and so somehow we are all able to coexist.” Neighbour isn’t out to create hard competition for the surrounding shops, opting instead for a homey and friendly vibe, hence the name. His accomplishment isn’t easy to do in an arena that can tend toward self-importance. “I’d describe our selection as somewhat more playful and not taking the menswear aspect too seriously,” says Dilawri.
Neighbour’s collaborations also help to set the shop apart, and their experiments aren’t limited to clothing. “We recently did a furniture and object collaboration with a designer based out of Portland named Jason Rens,” says Dilawri. “He specially made a set of seven chairs for the shop. Each chair was made out of a single eight-foot two-by-four piece of wood. The idea is similar to what Martino Gamper did with 100 chairs in 100 days by putting restrictions on design.” Later this year, Neighbour plans to launch a shirting capsule collection as well as a collaboration with Unis.
Images by Jonah Samson