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Minimalist lifestyle embraced by local businesses

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Patrons in the 49th Parallel café, which has embraced minimalist style. Photo: Clare Hennig
Patrons in the 49th Parallel café, which has embraced minimalist style. Photo: Clare Hennig

Reported by Clare Hennig

Minimalism, popular as a lifestyle choice in Vancouver for many years, has exploded across social media and made its way into the branding of businesses across the city.

The simple, essentials-only lifestyle is more photogenic and aesthetically-pleasing then ever. Steen Skaaning, president of Inspiration Furniture, said the trend of prioritising quality over quantity makes sense in a city like Vancouver.

“It’s very popular in big cities,” said Skaaning. “[It] accommodates the tight condo living that we have here.”

Minimalism is not the same as small, said Skaaning. It’s not just scaling down a product but also improving the quality.

Furniture ideal for condo life

“Minimalism is a way to using a resource,” he said. “It’s making a shelf stronger so it can be smaller.”

He chooses furniture with clean lines that use materials like wool and oak, a softer version of the contemporary look. The same trends Skaaning described in couches and curtains cross over into fashion too.

“Everyone wants to do basic right now,” said Bayleigh Patron, the assistant manager of Aunt Leah’s Urban Thrift.

She said the clothing shop is unique in that it combines up-cycling clothes for charity by following the latest trends. For now, that means minimalist pieces — simple cuts and neutral colours.

“We’re really picky, we choose the best quality,” Patron said. “We’re more of a trendy thrift store.”

Fewer choices but more quality is the backbone of 49th Parallel. The simply decorated café is always packed and known for two things — their coffee and their donuts.

“It’s a very simply menu,” said Sofia Busse, the manager. “We’re so busy that if we had a big menu, it would be hard.”

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