by ANDREA KARR
TAKE A SPLIT-SECOND glance at Natasha Koifman’s overflowing closet and you’ll know you’ve encountered something special. It’s a treasure trove of designer finds: a 1970s Oscar de la Renta gown, an Anthony Vaccarello blazer covered in grommets and stars and a sequinned Balmain dress that remained in its box after Lindsay Lohan wore the look first.
The president of public relations agency NKPR and president of the Artists for Peace and Justice (APJ) Canada board saves each one of her purchases instead of sending them out on consignment. That means her wardrobe has become a shrine to high-end gowns, studded jackets and glittering stilettos. “They’re like art for me,” she says. “I can pull each one out of my closet and have that memory of when I wore it and how it made me feel. I love every single piece that I’ve bought.”
But as Koifman’s life becomes increasingly busy, she’s found that her sense of style has shifted. “The digital world means that we’re ‘on’ 24/7,” she notes. “I love social media. I love that connection. But I’m finding that we don’t have the same kind of time to think about our wardrobes.” Now, Koifman looks for unfussy pieces in her signature black colour palette that are easy to style and will look fresh even when she has to run directly from a flight to a meeting.
It was this desire for simplicity that made Koifman’s newest project feel like “a natural evolution.” Launching in September, ShopNK is an e-commerce platform with a conscience that will have shoppable editorial content in three categories – style, beauty and entertaining. Each item will be well-made and expertly sourced to streamline the experience of dressing, grooming or styling the home. It might even put the spotlight on an up-and-coming brand that could use a little exposure.
And because giving back is integral to Koifman’s values, a portion of each sale will go to one of five charities that are important to her: Dog Tales Rescue and Sanctuary, G(irls)20, Artists for Peace and Justice and St. Felix Centre and Best Buddies. The twist: The customer gets to pick. “It will make them think, ‘Do I care about animal causes? Do I care about empowering women? Do I care about giving back to the world on a global level?’” says Koifman. She hopes the shop will inspire the next generation to think about the impact of their spending and how they can make a difference in the areas that matter most to them. And they’ll support Canadian brands at the same time.
With the first drop, shoppers will be able to peruse a collaboration between Lise Watier and custom-leather brand, Namesake, featuring makeup products that work from day to night. The site will also showcase a round-up of lifestyle items from Thirty Six Knots, one of Koifman’s favourite shops. “It’s at Yonge and Summerhill in Toronto and I always pop in after I do a workout at Ultimate Athletics or SpinCo,” she says. “It’s a furniture store, but they also make the best cortados on the planet. They have these incredible tealight holders for $6. How can you beat that?”
In the style category, ShopNK will offer a cashmere modal crewneck, hoodie and oversized scarf from Line Knitwear, a season-less made-to-order blazer designed by Koifman’s tailor of the last decade and a kimono from the luxury resort-wear brand Ciao Sea. “Ciao Sea is a client. We decided to do the kimono because I fell in love with their pink-and-black version, but I asked if I could have it in all-black. I can wear it as a duster over jeans during the day, and then I can take off my jeans and wear it as a dress. I don’t have to go home and change.”
The online shop will officially launch during TIFF 2019 with a four-day pop-up at the IT House x Producers Ball with Drew and Jonathan Scott—the NKPR-run destination that’s home to unique programming such as the Producers Ball Gala, the Rolling Stone Celebrity Portrait Studio and activations by global brands. Then going forward, Koifman plans to launch new items whenever the mood strikes. “What I love about retail today is that you can do a drop at any time,” she says. “It’s about surprising and delighting people, not about having tons of quantity. Once it’s sold out, it’s sold out and we won’t re-release it.” This drop formula will recreate the feeling that Koifman experiences every time she welcomes a designer piece into her wardrobe or makes memories by wearing it on a special occasion. “Clothing gives you this opportunity to feel happiness,” she says, and she hopes that ShopNK will do the same—and change the world for the better in the process.