A new retail store has opened up in Castlegar, and owner Lynn Ujvary has a different philosophy about ladies fashions than many people are used to.
Ujvary designs and manufactures the Swish line of clothing to fit the North American female body. Her clothes are designed to help women accentuate the parts they love and work with the parts they don’t and suit women in every stage of life. “You are perfect — the hanger isn’t,” says Ujvary.
Her clothes are made so that they can be adjusted easily and the store offers free alterations on the clothes customers purchase there.
Ujvary grew up in Castlegar as Lynn Smecher and graduated from Stanley Humphries Secondary School in 1980. She then went to fashion design school and worked in the Montreal fashion industry for seven years before moving to Vancouver. The timing wasn’t good for the fashion industry as Vancouver factories began to close and production was shipped overseas.
Ujvary stepped away from the fashion industry for 30 years while she raised her kids, but when her children were all leaving home and she turned 50 years old, she decided it was time to give the industry a chance again.
Frustrated with the clothing choices offered in the general market, Ujvary decided to design the clothing that she would sell herself and have it ethically manufactured in Vancouver.
Ujvary opened her first store in Gibsons in 2010 and when it was time for an expansion, her home town of Castlegar seemed the perfect fit.
“You can be from lots of places, but there is just something about the Kootenays,” she said.
Ujvary is very happy with the space she found and how welcoming the downtown business community has been. She has also found the City of Castlegar great to work with when opening a business, “More people need to know how easy it is to do business in Castlegar. Everyone is super welcoming.”
Ujvary is still living in Gibsons, but flies into Castlegar almost every week. She likes to continually bring in new stock and reorganize the floor of the store in order to continually give her customers a fresh experience.
Along with the Swish line, the store also carries Michael Tyler, Baba, Lola Jeans, Red Coral and Pretty Woman.
“We have something to fit every body,” says Ujvary. “My best day is when a grandma, mother and daughter come in and they all leave with a Swish bag in their hands.”
Swish will be having its official grand opening on June 15 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. with a party from 4-8 p.m. featuring games, refreshments, prizes and draws.
Next on the Swish calendar will be the first of many fashion workshops the store plans to hold with the purpose of teaching women how to make their clothes work for them, the event will take place in early July.