small talk // jonah leslie // shop owner of ibiki montreal

 ibiki // montreal

ibiki // montreal

* on a recent trip to montreal, i discovered a neat avant-garde concept shop called ibiki *

owned by artistic director jonah leslie, ibiki is located on boulevard saint-laurent in the heart of montreal and features internationally designed, hand-curated apparel, accessories, books and magazines //

about jonah leslie: while jonah has lived in montreal his entire life, he's been traveling globally since a young age. the son of two contemporary dancers, he often went on tour with his dad to the united states and europe. after college he dabbled in dj'ing and promoting/hosting parties. he saved up some money and took trips to brasil and asia. in asia, he visited bangkok, tokyo and hong kong. there, he found the market culture very inspiring and collected cool product he bought on the streets and through out his travels. he sold his collected treasures out of a friend's shop in montreal and in 2006, jonah opened his own store, old gold boutique. old gold was a space where imagination and creativity ruled supreme. to trigger people's curiosity, the shop was devoid of any outside signage and the window displays showed elaborate, wacky surrealist art created by jonah himself. they were totally unrelated to the product in the shop. many objects in the store weren't actually for sale and the merch was constantly re-arranged in whimsical ways. the store had an online presence and served as a place for creativity, showing videos, dj mixes and photoshoots by jonah and his friends. old gold was part counter-culture retail and part art project. when his lease was up, he found a larger space which is now the home of present day ibiki...


cultureisland: tell us more about ibiki. what is the concept?

jonah leslie: ibiki is basically a modern day imports shop with a focus on apparel, accessories, publications and apothecary. the flavour gravitates towards scandinavian and north asian design. reasons being the climate of those areas are similar to ours and therefore the products apply in a practical sense to the lifestyle of montrealers. and also i like the pared down design sensibility which both these regions share.


cultureisland: what kind of products and brands do you feature in the store?

jonah leslie: some brands include our legacy, won hundred, hope, filippa k, cheap monday, saturdays, minimarket, ymc, porter, sisii japan, black crane, new balance and more. another important feature of the shop is the inauguration of a small homewares section with companies such as: maison martin margiela objects, areaware, l'atelier d'exercise, seletti, and normann copenhagen, as well as both a book and magazine section. the publications consist of art and design subjects which correspond to the aesthetics and philosophies of the shop: architecture, photography, painting, fine arts, industrial design, graphic design, dance and many other subcategories by publishers like moma, lars muller, and schrimer/mosel to name a few. magazines include: apartamento, acne paper, alpine review, bad day, Bauhaus, elephant, pin-up, encens, domus, tunica, day job, Saturdays, monoculture, printed pages and many more.


cultureisland: what does ibiki stand for?

jonah leslie: it is a name which transcends language, and deliberately has no inceptive meaning, no psychological association, leaving room for the brand's visual image, recognizable graphic to be the main connection to the word. an entity that speaks of perpetual creativity and of the overall philosophy of the creative rule, which has always been the underlying drive for this business.


cultureisland: where do you find inspiration?

jonah leslie: in fine arts, astronomy, nature, people, architecture, dance.


cultureisland: where are your favorite places to see art in montreal?

jonah leslie: the mac, dhc, gallery antoine ertaskiran amongst other places.


cultureisland: what kind of music are you listening to right now?

jonah leslie: loving this mix by din daa daa on redlight radio lately.

* check out ibiki's website here + be sure to visit next time you're in montreal // 4357 boulevard saint-laurent, montreal, qc, canada *