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White Rock retailer ‘designing on my own terms’

Harly Jae opened March 12
Laïla B. Potvin opened her Harly Jae ‘slow fashion’ store in White Rock last month. (Contributed photo)

There’s a new fashion store in town, and owner Laïla B. Potvin says it’s all about taking it slow.

Harly Jae — named after her late father, Jess, on his Harley Davidson motorcycle — opened at 1231 Johnston Rd. on March 12, after six years in Vancouver’s Gastown district.

Potvin and her family (husband Collin and daughter Reya) moved to White Rock in February 2022, five years after Potvin drove from Québec City to Vancouver to pursue a career in fashion.

She said after a year of studying the industry, she’d felt “lost and disillusioned” about it.

“The glamour I had imagined was overshadowed by the harsh realities of the fashion industry,” Potvin recalls in a bio.

“I became acutely aware of the appalling conditions endured by garment workers and the environmental toll of fast fashion,” she continues.

“Unable to reconcile myself with contributing to such harm, I pursued a different career path.”

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Four years later, Potvin’s passion for fashion was reignited, through helping a friend with a meaningful fashion project.

Elaborating in a post to on her choice of store name, Potvin said Harly Jae “symbolizes freedom from outdated beliefs and societal rules that have been imposed on us.”

“It reminds me to go after my own path and most importantly to enjoy every bit of the journey because we don’t know when it can be all taken away.”

Potvin said she is now designing “on my own terms,” using natural fibres and B.C. manufacturing.

Harly Jae is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday to Saturday. For more information, email

Tracy Holmes

About the Author: Tracy Holmes

Tracy Holmes has been a reporter with Peace Arch News since 1997.
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