Vancouver is a jaw dropper thanks to its enviable geographical location, twixt sea and mountains, and thanks also to its cutting edge in style. This city continues to impress in terms of sheer liveability and smart looks. I take every chance I get to scour the streets and brush up on what’s happening at the cutting edge.
Yaletown and Gastown are two renowned crucibles of sharp fashion. Idiosyncratic clothing and jewellery boutiques are found in SoMa (South Main) between 20 and 25th Avenues. South Granville is peppered with small art galleries and intriguing designer shops.
When it comes to looking good, name dropping is par for the course. So here’s a few places and brands (with web links) that got me excited.
Vancouver’s celebrated cobbler John Fluevog has been creating “unique soles for unique souls” for more than 40 years. His design studio and retail outlet occupies a converted warehouse at 65 Water Street, Gastown. Vogs are made in Poland and Portugal with limited editions made in Vancouver. Phone (604) 688 6228 Fluevog
Roden Gray at 8 Water Street in Gastown (phone 604 689 7302) has Wings + Horn shirts, pre-shrunk tiger fleece hoodies and sweatshirts as well as Sans Vanite T-shirts (both Vancouver designers) along with 18 Waits jewellery, T-shirts and accessories from Ontario. You’ll also find Nom de Guerre clothing from the US and US label Band of Outsiders. See Roden Gray
Brooklyn Clothing Co, 418 Davie St, Yaletown (phone 604-683-2929) has Hardi Hood (Vancouver) hoodies and t-shirts (Hardi Hood), Matt and Nat (Vancouver) faux leather bags and murses (man-purses) (Matt and Nat), and Mackage (Montreal) leather double jackets and fronted half coats.
In demand locally-fashioned accessories include recycled bicycle chain belt buckles and silver jewellery by Pyrrha. Half and full length parkas, bomber jackets with coyote fur hood trim and gloves are a winter hit from Canada Goose. Brooklyn also carries an expansive range of denim from Europe and US including Nudie, True Religion and G-Star.
One of Vancouver’s best-known exports is lululemon athletica, which started 11 years ago in the Kitsilano neighbourhood near Granville Island. It now has stores all over Canada, the US and in Australia.
Two of a Few, 356 Water Street Gastown, phone (604) 605 0685, has select shoes and apparel for women and men. Dream: Apparel and Articles for People, 311 West Cordova, Gastown (phone 604 683 7326) was voted best local designer store in a Georgia Straight poll. It’s just around the corner from Two of a Few.
And if you intend to dress well, then it follows that you might also want to eat well. A few suggestions: