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September 3 2014

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Lost And JJJJound

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Fashion has been having a love affair with the word “curated” as of late. From Google’s foray into virtual shops to the bevy of boutiques that fancy themselves fashion galleries (driftwood displays included), anyone willing to put two and two together has become a de facto curator. But one guy has a better claim to the title than most: Justin Saunders, the Montreal-based blogger behind the obsessively-watched, occasionally puzzling JJJJound, which is essentially a wordless roll-call of images, everything from Brigitte Bardot to Serge Gainsbourg to supple leather pocketbooks to the perfect pair of dark denim jeans. The magic’s in the juxtaposition—what bloggers call the “scroll”—and shortly after its launch, the site (and its press-shy founder) became a must-click among design aficionados.

Saunders, who prefers to keep his readers in the dark about his day job, says his appreciation of global design started early. “I went to elementary school in Germany and my parents would bring us all over Europe in a van visiting everything to the point where the kids were bored. It was a great schooling.” The alternative education paid off. After launching JJJJound in 2007, Saunders recalls receiving emails from New Yorkers interested in advertising and enlisting his expertise. “It was a wordless blog; this was pre-Tumblr. I still don’t get it.” Saunders’ blog remains a profit-less endeavor, but his new project, the e-commerce J Shoppe, which launches today, works on a more traditional model.

“On JJJJound I’m very selfish. It’s my personal research for projects I’m working on. JJJJound kind of proved that images speak louder than words. I’m trying to see if products speak louder than words. The J Shoppe is an exercise of that,” he explains. Such as? For the debut, Saunders is selling a leather jacket courtesy of Montreal natives M0 (pictured). The shop’s virtual racks will grow by one product, once a week, as long as stock lasts; next up are “bike racks from Copenhagen that are kind of fun,” and “a comb that will last you forever.” Eventually there may even be a brick-and-mortar location in Montreal or a “traveling sale,” Saunders says. But, for now just one thing is certain: the two internet properties will remain separate projects entirely. “I don’t want to ruin it,” he says of the picture platform that started it all. Another hope: that “not too many people come to my store the first day and clear out all my stock.”

Photo: Courtesy of J Shoppe

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