The Insider’s Guide to Auckland

Both bustling and naturally beautiful, Auckland is a city unlike any other.  There are rainforests to hike; picturesque beaches for relaxing, swimming and surfing; and vineyards to wander through. Its hills, lakes and basins, formed by the city’s 50 surrounding volcanoes, are also there to explore. Here, you can kayak in the morning, shop boutiques and local markets in the afternoon, then savor a slice of meat pie and glass of Sauvignon Blanc at one of the best restaurants. No wonder so many amazing creatives call this place home. We caught up with our new Kiwi pals–the city’s talented indie designers and boutique owners–to get the scoop on the best places to eat, drink and people watch.

WHERE TO EAT

There are so many places,we have an amazing restaurant scene,” explains Anna Murray of Laing Home. “But if I have to pick, Cassia in Fort Lane for modern Indian and Kiss Kiss in Dominion Road for cheap, tasty Asian fusion.”

Cassia, 5 Fort Ln

Kiss Kiss, 1 Rocklands Avenue

Anywhere in Sandringham is amazing for tasty vegetarian options,” explains Penny Sage’s designer Kate Megaw. “One of my favorite places to share a meal is Saattveek. When you can’t decide what to eat, they ask you how hungry you are, then they bring out plates of everything delicious, and don’t stop until you’re full!”

Saattveek, 570 Sandringham Rd

Images top to bottom: Cassia, Cazador, Orphan’s Kitchen and Fukuko Bar

Kristine Crabb, designer of Miss Crabb, had a hard time deciding but managed to narrow it down to her top three. “My favorites at the moment are Coco’s Cantina, Madame George and Gemmayze St,” she said.

“Well, the obvious favourite is Coco’s Cantina, as it just feels like home,” reveals Greta van der Star, the talented stylist and photographer who shot Yasmine Ganley for our Q&A.  “I adore the girls who run it and everyone who works there!” She adds, “I also love Conch which is South American, they do the best tacos and have an outdoor courtyard with booths, so you feel very hidden away.”

Coco’s Cantina, 376 Karangahape Rd

Madame George, 490 Karangahape Rd

Gemmayze Street, 183 Karangahape Road

Conch Records Kitchen & Bar, 115A Ponsonby Rd

Unequivocally, it’s the Orphans Kitchen for designer Kate Sylvester. An multi-award winner restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner including a bowl of potatoes you won’t be able to stop eating.

Orphans Kitchen, 118 Ponsonby Rd

Sherie Rai, designer of Sherie Muijs swears by family owned and operated restaurant Cazador. Specializing in sustainable cooking, it also happens to be Auckland’s only game restaurant.

Cazador, 118 Ponsonby Rd

 

WHERE TO DRINK

Images top to bottom: Coco’s Cantina, Orphan’s Kitchen, Cassia and Cazador

Ruben Bryant, the owner of Good as Gold, heads to Golden Dawn when in need of a drink. Tucked away, this popular Auckland watering hole has long been a haven for the city’s creative community and serves everything from eclectic cocktails to a vast selection of beers and wines.

Anna also fancies at spot on Ponsonby Road: “Annabelles is the perfect little local!”

Golden Dawn, 134 Ponsonby Rd

Annabelles, 409 Tamaki Dr

“On my balcony watching the cheeky Tui’s—for all you non-Kiwis this is a large honeyeater bird—fight for a spot in a big Pohutukawa tree,” admits Kate. “But If I’m feeling fancy, I like going to the Federal Delicatessen for a piece of cheesecake and an Aperol spritz.”

Federal Delicatessen, 86 Federal Street

“Any RSA (Returned Services Association) or Bowling Club around NZ,” says Greta, “You’ll meet the best characters and the drinks are simple and cheap!”

 

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

“Fukuko in Briomart,” says Anna, “Grab a cocktail and a window seat and watch the beautiful people of the Britomart precinct on their way home.”

Fukuko Bar, 43 Tyler St

Sherie and Kate both love to people watch at Coco’s Cantina, especially while sitting at the outside tables.

Images top to bottom: @greerinnz, @nutrition_consultants and @re_placed

“Avondale markets on Sunday mornings,” reveals Greta. “It has the produce side—always rammed with people filling their bags and pulling trolleys which offers a mixture of fresh veg and treats such as Samoan banana bread or breakfast noodle bowls. Then the other side is more car boot-style where you’ll see so many interesting people and their dogs rummaging through trinkets.”

Avondale Market, 2 Ash St

Filled with contemporary art galleries, boutiques, vintage shopping and hundreds of restaurants, Auckland’s infamous K Road in the business district is where it’s at for Ruben.

Marina Davis, the designer of Ovna Ovich, also loves K Road for people watching. “My studio window is perfect, it looks out over Karangahape Road.”

Another top watching spot: “The Downtown Ferry Terminal never has a dull moment,” says Kate.

Lead image: Cassia

Shop New Zealand’s wildly cool indie boutiques and designers right here!

The Insider’s Guide to Tel Aviv

Located on the edge of the Mediterranean, Tel Aviv is a haven of buttery beaches and vibrant culture. The Israeli city — nicknamed “the White City” for the surplus of white, 1930s Bauhaus-style buildings that decorate the streets — boasts a unique combination of old and new: thousands of years of history set within a young, modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere. A place you sip black coffee on a storied palm tree-lined boulevard, explore an ancient port and discover a pop-up boutique tucked around the corner of the crumbly walls, stumble across a feminist art exhibition held in a restored Ottoman-era building. Elderly men play backgammon and smoke cigarettes in open-air markets while the latest, hippest restaurant bustles feverishly in the space next door. As such, it’s really no surprise that the city is such a fertile breeding ground for all kinds of creatives, from chefs and architects to musicians, artists and designers. This juxtaposition supplies Tel Aviv — at once a beach town, a thriving arts hub, an inclusive space for both tradition and boundary-pushing ideas — with a spirited energy that fuels the need to discover and rediscover it time and time again.

With that in mind, we asked a couple of our closest local pals to give us the low down on all of their go-to places to eat, beach and sightsee in the colorful, vivacious place they call home.

 

WHERE TO EAT

Photos by Roni Cnaani

“Oasis on Montefiori St,” says Gittit Szwarc, designer behind the multidisciplinary studio Knobbly. “It’s the vision of a mad and inspired chef, Rima Olvera. I’m a food culture skeptic in general — I eat to get through my day, usually while reading/talking/texting. I remember being a little upset the first time I ate at Oasis because I couldn’t ignore the food I was eating the way I’m used to doing. I had to stop and experience it. And the place is designed to support it, dark and minimal with weird murals in the patio from local artist Klone. It’s a place to go to experience food as art.”

The charming Montefiori St is home to another excellent restaurant, this one at a boutique hotel. “Hotel Montefiori is a great option if you’re more into French-inspired classics, and is the place for an over the top breakfast/brunch,” adds Hila Chemony of Vender.

For the best hummus — a classic staple of the Israeli diet — in town, both Gittit and Hila recommend Abu Hassan in Jaffa. “Get the “Hummus Masabakha” (hummus with chickpeas cooked for 8 hours) with a brown egg,” Gittit says. “It’s only open until 4PM, the good stuff usually runs out by 2, it’s super crowded and noisy with communal seating, and you’ll be in and out in 15 minutes — the original hummus experience.” Check out Garger Hazahav (which means “the Golden Chickpea” in Hebrew) in the funky Florentin neighbourhood, too. “They have amazing hummus, delicious sides and a cool casual vibe,” describes Hila.

Oasis, Montefiore St 17

Hotel Montefiori, Montefiori St 36

Abu Hassan, Ha-Dolfin St 1

Garger Hazahav, Levinsky 30

Bait Thailandi, Bograshov St 8

 

WHERE TO DRINK

Unequivocally, the Teder. “It’s located in a courtyard surrounded by a complex with mainly artist and designer studios and there’s always some unoccupied room or corridor being taken over by an exhibition, pop up shop or music label, as well as live shows in the main area,” Gittit says. “You can find a quiet spot to sit with friends or take your drink and walk around to see what’s happening.”

The four-level complex itself is called Beit Romano and, along with the Teder, Hila suggests exploring the whole place. “The Romano restaurant on the second level is a great spot for dinner and drinks.”

The Teder, Beit Romano, Derech Jaffa 9

Romano, Beit Romano, Derech Jaffa 9

 

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photos by Roni Cnaani

One of the most wonderful things about Tel Aviv is its diversity. And the Great Synagogue, built in the 1920s and located on Allenby St, is a great spot to go at night to people watch, Hila says. Have a drink at Port Sa’id just across the street and settle in for the evening.

“Casino San Remo in the Noga District in Jaffa — a cafe by day and bar by night,” Gittit adds. “It’s casual but not too small, so there’s a wide range of people of all ages and walks of life who feel at home there in different hours of the day.”

Great Synagogue, Allenby St 110

Port Sa’id, Har Sinai St 5

Casino San Remo, Nehama St 2

 

WHERE TO BEACH

The White City’s coastline, with gorgeous yellow sand beaches looking out at jewel blue water, is hard to beat. “Beit Haetzel beach right on the edge of Tel Aviv and the beginning of Jaffa is simply beautiful,” Hila says. “If you’re into surfing (or surfers) you should head to Hilton beach, and don’t miss the Independence Garden right above it.”

Gittit recommends the laid back Ajami beach, just south of Old Jaffa.

Photos by Yasmine Shemesh (left) and Roni Cnaani (right)

 

WHERE TO SHOP

The best shopping district? “The Noga District!” Gittit says. “It’s where my studio is located. Most of the designers’ spaces there function foremost as studios and second as shops, which means you’ll usually be talking to the designer herself when you enter. You can find some conceptual-yet-wearable stuff at Magpie Goose (with whom I share studio space), HOKO, Juliett and Naomi Maaravi, strong clean basics at KAV, and you’ll be breathing sea air the whole time.”

For an eclectic experience, Hila suggests wandering the flea market in Jaffa — the Shuk HaPishpushim. “It is a fun way to spend half a day between the independent designer shops, galleries, cafes and a great place to find flea market finds.”

Noga District, in between Tel Aviv and Jaffa

Flea Market, Jaffa

 

WHERE TO SIGHTSEE

Photos by Yasmine Shemesh

“Try and find a nice bike (or rent one of the city’s) and spend a day going from the Jaffa flea market and up Rothschild Blvd,” Gittit says. “I feel like cycling is the best way to feel the city.” Another superb way to take in Tel Aviv’s culture is going to watch local bands perform. “There’s some really amazing stuff happening here this year,” Gittit adds. “Girl punk duo Deaf Chonky, glam rock band the White Screen, political punk from Antigona Rex, lots of interesting electronic and stoner rock stuff!”

“Tel Aviv’s historical neighborhoods are absolutely gorgeous,” Hila says. “Neve Tzedek or Old Jaffa are a must, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art (and the new wing especially) has great exhibitions throughout the year.”

Rothschild Boulevard

Neve Tzedek, southwestern Tel Aviv

Old Jaffa, Jaffa

 

ONE MORE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST DO

For Gittit, when anyone visits Israel, they must take a trip out to the Dead Sea. It’s a two-hour drive, but so worth it. “It’s such a surreal and intense place unlike anything else on Earth,” she says. Staying strictly in Tel Aviv, though? Find an Airbnb in North Jaffa and make it your home base. “Tel Aviv can be really intense and Jaffa is the more laid back and arty part of the city, so that’s where I tend to spend more time.”

And, before you go, a coast-to-coast walk along the beachfront is essential. “Starting up north at Reding, going all the way through Tel Aviv Port, the boardwalk and into Jaffa’s Old Port and Old City,” says Hila. “Tel Aviv’s beach is always an option, no matter the season, time or mood.”

by Yasmine Shemesh

The Insider’s Guide to Richmond, Virginia

Richmond, Virginia is a small but mighty city. As the capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1780—as well as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War—it’s a town steeped in history, evident in its well-preserved, historic architecture. Now, with a thriving influx of creatives, Richmond has turned into a young community of small businesses, nonprofits and endless opportunities. “Everyone is so creative and supportive of each other,” says Emi Moore, owner of Casa Shop. With more than 20 craft breweries, a ton of amazing restaurants, and beautiful street art on every other corner, there is always something to do and see. Plus, everything is an easy walk or short drive away.

We wanted to get the low-down on the best places to eat, drink and people watch, so we reached out to the people we love most: the city’s boutique owners and designers. Trust us, after this guide, you’ll be bumping Richmond to the top of your must-visit list.

 

WHERE TO EAT

“My favorite place to eat is Edo’s Squid,” says Kate Jennings of Na Nin. “Butter parmesan spaghetti, eggplant parm, great house wine, and it is accommodating to all diets with wonderful vegetarian and vegan options.”

Emi Moore, owner of Casa Shop continues the Edo’s Squid rave. “They have the best pasta and a cozy candlelit atmosphere. Caroline Young, artist and jewelry designer of Giantlion, admits her soft spot for the restaurant too. “It has been my favorite restaurant for the past 12 years!”

Edo’s Squid, 411 N Harrison St

Photo via @stellas

Kristy Cotter, designer of Drift Riot and owner of Dear Neighbor, doesn’t mess around when it comes to places to grab a bite. Here’s her expert list: “Brenner Pass, Metzger, Dutch & Co., Saison, Sub Rosa Bakery and Can Can.”

Brenner Pass, 3200 Rockbridge St Suite #100

Metzger Bar and Butchery, 801 N 23rd St

Dutch & Company, 400 N 27th St

Saison, 23 W Marshall St

Sub Rosa Bakery, 620 N 25th St

Can Can, 3120 W Cary St

“Mamma Zu (an old-school Italian restaurant), never disappoints,” declares Deborah Boschen, the founder and owner of boutique Verdalina, which has been one of the city’s source for slow-philosophy wardrobe essentials since it opened its doors in 2013.

Mamma Zu, 501 S Pine St

WHERE TO DRINK

Photo via @brennerpassrva

Christine Young, the designer behind jewelry line Young Frankk (you know those cult-favorite hand earrings), heads to Brenner Pass when in need of a drink. Their eclectic cocktail menu is sure to satisfy all your fancy drink needs. Think: Tito’s handmade vodka, green chartreuse, cocchi americano, lemon, and pineapple-lavender syrup. Caroline also recommends cocktails from Brenner Pass followed by Mekong for beer.

Brenner Pass, 3200 Rockbridge St Suite #100

Mekong, 6004 W Broad St

“Bamboo Cafe is an institution in Richmond with a diverse crowd and a beautiful, old marble bar,” says Deborah.

“I can have a drink anywhere!” Kate admits. But she has three solid suggestions: “Stella’s, which is not only great for cocktails but the food is some of the most delicious Greek dishes ever and they always have impressive specials, Helen’s for a fun night out, and Enoteca Sogno. It’s right in my neighborhood, so I love to enjoy a glass of wine there and the ambiance is lovely.”

Bamboo Cafe, 1 S Mulberry St

Stella’s, 1012 Lafayette St

Helen’s Restaurant, 2527 W Main St

Enoteca Sogno, 223 Bellevue Ave

@stellas

Emi reveals a fresh spot to check out. “A place just opened called The Circuit, it’s a bar/arcade combo, which is a new concept for Richmond. I’ve only been once but I feel like it will be my new spot. Plus, they have self serve wine on tap!”

The Circuit, 3121 W Leigh T

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

“Quirk Hotel, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts for happy hour––very interesting mix of people in the summer, or Can Can at the bar,” Kristy says. Emi also heads to the VMFA. “During the warmer months, they have a beautiful lawn with a great happy hour, it is where you’ll find me (and everyone else in Richmond) on most Fridays.”

Quirk Hotel, 201 W Broad St

VMFA, 200 N Boulevard

Can Can, 3120 W Cary St

Photo via @quirkhotel

Caroline loves to people watch when she goes to concerts. (Who doesn’t?). “Vagabond for live music just about any night of the week,” she says.

It’s all about Carytown––Richmond’s quirky ever-changing neighborhood filled with a ton of shops and restaurants––for Christine.

“If you like to be around a lot of people and want an opportunity to make new friends, I think Lamplighter has a great set up, and always a full patio of people enjoying coffee and fare,” explains Kate. “It’s also right across the street from our shop and our lovely neighbours, Addison Handmade & Vintage and Yesterday’s Heroes.

Vagabond, 700 E Broad St

Lamplighter, 3 Locations

Lead image (left to right): @brennerpassrva, @vmfamuseum, @lamplightercoffee, @naninstudio

The Insider’s Guide to Vancouver

It may come as a surprise that Vancouver, British Columbia has been ranked by travel experts as one of the most beautiful cities in the world, alongside knockouts like Sydney, Kyoto, and Rome. But with an unrivaled setting of endless mountains and copious amounts of swimmable waters — from the Pacific ocean to local lakes and rivers — it takes the cake as the most stunning, calming metropolitan area we know. Vancouver’s accessibility to nature lets you start your day in the mountains, head to the beach for the afternoon, and end in the heart of a bustling downtown. Not to mention, the air is seriously fresh anywhere you go — like, smell the glacier waters and pine trees fresh. Plus, it also happens to be the home to Garmentory’s Canadian HQ.

 As a tourist hotspot, you can no doubt find 100 city guides on Vancouver, but we’ve got one unlike any other thanks to our community of local creatives. (Shop the boutiques and designers right here on Garmentory!). Scroll on to discover the best places to eat, drink, and people watch straight from the city’s boutique owners, designers, and style influencers. 

WHERE TO EAT

“Ask For Luigi is one of my favourite restaurants in the city,” says Kleah Graham, co-owner of boutique Charlie & Lee. “Honest, simple, high-quality Italian food in a charming little building,” she explains.“My top list is about 30 restaurants long, though, and I can never decide on an absolute number one! [There’s] an abundance of excellent food in this city.”

Ask for Luigi by Christopher Flett

Saager Dilawri and Karyna Schultz, owners of Neighbour, a boutique in the historic neighborhood Gastown, also can’t just pick one favorite restaurant. “Too many to name,” says Saager, “but for starters: Ask for Luigi, Savio Volpe, Bao Bei, Carp, The Birds and The Beets and Pazzo Chow.”

Designer Sunja Link and Stephanie Gorrell, owner of Umeboshi also declared their love for Ask for Luigi.

Ask For Luigi, 305 Alexander Street

Savio Volpe, 615 Kingsway

Bao Bei, 163 Keefer Street

Carp, 2516 Prince Edward Street

The Birds and The Beets, 55 Powell Street

Pazzo Chow, 620 Quebec Street

Ask for Luigi by Christopher Flett

For brunch, designer Erin Templeton likes Alibi Room, a beautiful restaurant in a historic building with over 50 taps of local and imported craft beer, plus delicious, local food. Michaela Smeaton, the designer behind Folk Fortune suggests Teahouse in Stanley Park for brunch.“I’m a vegetarian,” she says, “so I prefer places where I have more than a veggie burger to choose from. Heirloom, East is East, Flying Pig, Meet, and Pizzeria Farina all have good options.” Marie Foxall,  the designer behind jewelry line Wasted Effort, offers even more veg-friendly options. “It is a really easy place to be vegan,” she says of Vancouver, “especially with restaurants like The Arbor. It’s like the low-key little sister of The Acorn (which is also amazing), and their deep-fried oyster mushrooms are the stuff of dreams.”

Alibi Room, 157 Alexander Street

Teahouse, 7501 Stanley Park Drive

Heirloom Vegetarian, 1509 W 12th Avenue

East is East, 4433 Main Street

The Flying Pig, 127 W 2nd Avenue

MeeT on Main, 4288 Main Street

Pizzeria Farina, 915 Main Street

The Arbor, 3941 Main Street

The Acorn, 3995 Main Street

Savio Volpe by Knauf and Brown

 

WHERE TO DRINK

“I love the bar at L’Abattoir,” says Sarah Savoy, who owns the Main Street boutique Much & Little. “Bao Bei never disappoints for a delicious, inventive cocktail,” she adds. Amy Renee York and Noah MacNayr-Heath, the super cute couple behind boutique Nouvelle Nouvelle are emphatic about Boxcar. Located between a pizza shop and popular concert venue, it’s kind of the best place to grab a drink, see a show, then get some midnight ‘za.

Style influencer Kirstyn König has a favorite spot nice and close to her home. “My favourite little neighbourhood gem is Grapes and Soda,” she says, “a natural wine bar that also has an incredible cocktail and dinner menu. It’s a small, intimate space with a speakeasy vibe and is tucked away next door to another must-try restaurant, The Farmer’s Apprentice.”

33 Acres via @33acresbrewing

“Best cocktail stumbling distance from my house is Nomad, with some of the best bartenders in Vancouver,” reveals Alex Chichak of Still Life boutique. “Otherwise, I’d spend every spare summer moment sipping a paloma at El Camino’s.”

Lauren Clark and Lyndsey Chow, the ladies behind vintage clothing and lifestyle boutique Hey Jude, have a very special place to drink. “We’re probably biased but on Fridays we’ll hang and have happy hour at our shop (all are welcome!).” They also suggest, “for a favourite local spot we head to 33 Acres for craft beer and cider. If you’re lucky you’ll hit a night with live music.”

L’Abattoir, 217 Carrall Street

Boxcar, 923 Main Street

Grapes and Soda, 1541 W 6th Avenue

The Farmer’s Apprentice, 1535 W 6th Avenue

Nomad, 3950 Main Street

El Caminos, 3250 Main Street

33 Acres, 15 W 8th Avenue

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Daniel Caesar at The Biltmore by Nicole Wong

“Coffee shops are ideal places to people watch. I’m lucky to have great ones really close to both my house and my shop: Prado on Commercial Drive and Kafka’s on Main Street,” Sarah says.  Amy and Noah like Revolver, a coffee shop in Gastown, for people watching. Grab a seat on one of the benches out front and scope out the local scene (then hit the new Nouvelle Nouvelle location, right around the corner).

Kirstyn heads to the outdoor patio at the Gallery Cafe. “It’s nestled away on the second level of the Vancouver Art Gallery, overlooking Robson Square,” she explains. “Grabbing a glass of wine and basking in the sun after perusing the gallery is one of my favourite weekend activities.” Vancouverite and travel blogger Nicole Wong loves to people watch when she goes to concerts (try the Biltmore to catch emerging acts). “It’s really interesting to check out the crowd and just observe the people who like the same music as I do,” she says.

Marie, of Wasted Effort, has great people watching in her workspace. “From the window of my studio on Columbia Street in Chinatown [I can see] a strange microcosm of humanity, incorporating every element of stereotypical Vancouver life… and it’s endlessly entertaining.”

Prado, 1938 Commercial Drive

Kafka’s Coffee and Tea, 2525 Main Street

Gallery Café, 750 Hornby Street

Biltmore Cabaret, 2755 Prince Edward Street

Revolver, 325 Cambie Street

If you can’t get yourself to Vancouver any time soon, don’t freight. We’ve got all the best boutiques and designers right here on Garmentory. Shop the city’s finest from the comfort of your couch.

The Ins-And-Outs Of New York City With Our Boutiques And Designers

There is no arguing that New York City is a magical, fast-paced, concrete zoo filled with bustling creatives in every realm possible. It’s the city that never sleeps and, as any denizen or tourist can attest, has hundreds of unspoken rules that you best know before coming (like don’t make eye contact on the subway, never take a selfie at a museum, and always move out of the middle of the sidewalk if you are a slow walker). It is also home to many of our close friends, the emerging designers and indie boutique owners that live the city day in and day out; the people we turn to for the inside scoop on how to survive manic, hectic, addictive, draining New York City.

To kick off New York Fashion Week, possibly one of the craziest times to be in the city, we wanted to reveal the best of the Big Apple from our New Yorkers. Scroll on for tips on where to escape the madness, wisdom on how to de-stress, and where to get the best cup of joe.

 

WHERE IN NEW YORK CITY DO YOU FEEL MOST PRODUCTIVE?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

New York can be an extremely productive city, and on the other hand extremely playful city,” says Ivan Gilkes, co-owner of In Support Of, a boutique and showroom in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood. “The trick comes to knowing when to turn it off, and when to turn it on,” he explains.

Szeki Chan of 7115 by Szeki says her studio is her most productive place. “Quiet, peaceful, and no distractions,” she explains. Assembly’s Greg Armas agrees, saying his Chinatown studio is where he gets in the zone. “It’s nice to be surrounded by the city but slightly isolated,” he says. For designer Nikki Chasin it’s her studio in Chelsea.

But for others, being on the on go is what sparks productivity. Anna Pang, the designer behind womenswear line Index Series, says her brain is best “on the train! I tend to have sudden revelations of what my inspiration, concept, ideas are for collections.” Katie Goldman Macdonald, designer of House Dress, bounces off the energy of the Garment District. “It’s where everything happens. I run back and forth between my factories, button, and fabric stores — as well as coffee shops — and end up feeling pretty satisfied (and exhausted) by the end of the day.”

 

HOW MANY COFFEES/TEAS/LIQUIDS DO YOU DRINK A DAY? WHERE’S YOUR GO-TO SPOT?

Image by Hannah Schneider

At least two,” admits Mandy Kordal, designer of knitwear label Kordal. “I need coffee to start my day, and then around 4pm I either make another batch of coffee or tea,” Luis Morales, co-founder and creative director of The Ensign, is also dedicated to that AM caffeine fix. “I try to limit myself to one coffee a day, but it’s a mandatory request for each morning.” He likes to stop at Café Integral (above) for his one a day. Greg heads to Doughnut Plant. “Creature of habit, I have one Americano every morning… and a doughnut.”

Stacia Canyon, owner and buyer of boutique Canon NYC, which is located on Sullivan Street in Soho has her liquid day mapped out to a T. “One to two coffees a day from Cafe Regular in Brooklyn or Colombe on Prince Street in SoHo, then one matcha latte from Banter on Sullivan Street in Manhattan, and finally one juice from the Juice Press in Manhattan.”

Image by Matt Johnson

Szeki opts for, “just one, two tops!” She goes to, “Caffe Vita if I’m close to our LES location, Ninth Street Espresso if I’m at the studio in the East Village, and Sweatshop (above) if I’m at the Williamsburg location.” While on the other hand Katie’s average is, “five coffees a day.I love Madman Espresso on 35th, Grumpys on 37th and Culture on 36th in the Garment District. Sometimes if I’m feeling too caffeinated, I’ll sneak in an herbal iced tea or kombucha.”

As for the non-coffee drinkers: “I drink fresh juice in the morning from Kabila across the street from my studio then I drink water throughout the rest of the day. I don’t really drink coffee unless I’m trying to stay up really late or pull an all nighter to work,” explains Dominic Sondag, the designer behind menswear line S.K. Manor Hill.

Adeniyi Okuboyejo, the designer of Post-Imperial, also prefers a fruity option. “I usually get smoothies from the bodega around the corner of my apartment.”

 

WHERE DO YOU GO TO GET FRESH AIR?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

Escaping the concrete craziness is essential. “I love to go to Jefferson Park for fresh air. It’s a beautiful garden on the grounds of what used to be an infamous women’s prison, a hidden jewel. I’m also often at Washington Square dog park,” says Kelly Colasanti, owner of Fairlight, a beautiful boutique located in the West Village of Manhattan.

The ladies of Duo NYC, Wendy and LaRae Kangas, love to go for, “ a run along the East River. It’s breezy and great for people watching. But for a dose of real fresh air we take a road trip upstate to Woodstock or Hudson.”

“The parks in NYC are the best,” proclaims Ivan. “I have a top four depending on my mood: Grand Ferry Park is a super cute and tiny inlet park in Williamsburg with great views of Manhattan above the Williamsburg Bridge. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 1 has an equally fantastic view of downtown Manhattan and a great lawn for sipping wine with friends. Prospect Park, which in my opinion is better than Central Park, is the best park for activities all year round. It’s great for a picnic and party during the summer and in the winter if it snows you can sled on the Long Meadow there. Last the High Line is a super fun park for people watching and at the end of it you can finish your visit to the park with a trip to the Whitney.”

But sometimes no nature is needed at all. “When I’m at work I’ll step outside the studio to the street on 39th and if I’m at my house I’ll sit on the stoop,” expresses Dominic.

 

DURING FASHION WEEK, HOW DO YOU GET PUMPED UP? AND THEN, HOW DO YOU DE-STRESS?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“The buzz of the shows and the anticipation of the collections generally gets me excited,” explains Luis. Ivan has a similar reaction. “Fashion Week can be an extremely fast paced time during the year. Getting pumped up for it doesn’t take that much though. If there is a brand that I’m really pumped to see I feel the excitement come naturally.” His trick once he feels overwhelmed? “I like to return to my home and watch some TV and tune out of fashion completely. This coming fashion week fall shows will be back I’m sure I’ll be watching How to Get Away with Murder and hopefully Scandal.”

For designers, things can be a little different. “I get pumped up when I have all of my samples ready to shoot,” says Nikki. Katie explains how she’s, “just naturally high on adrenaline (and coffee) for a week straight during Fashion Week.” So undoubtingly needs, “to lie comatose for a few days and drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc in the tub.”

Getting pumped for Anna starts with, “an early rest and a somewhat substantial breakfast (scrambled eggs, toast and an apple).” To de-stress, she likes to, “light a candle, lie in bed and put on a cool face mask for 30 minutes. I never feel like I have time to actually do this so when I do it feels extra amazing.”

Sometimes after that crazy week, it takes an actual escape. “For de-stress, I usually leave for a bit after Fashion Week, it can be intense,” admits Greg.

 

ON A SCALE OF 1 TO 10 HOW MUCH DO YOU LOVE NEW YORK CITY?

Image by Michael Cobarrubia

“My love for NYC is a rollercoaster. I’m from Northern California and that’s a hard place to beat, but I’ve lived here for 6 years and I love it a little more every year. Hot sweaty days where I’m carrying 50 lbs of fabric in the Garment District I rate a four, but when I get home and see the trees of Inwood park out my window, my love surges to a ten,” says Katie. Luis has the same teetering feelings. It’s about a two from January-March, a four in March-April, a solid ten from May-July, back down to one in August, and about an eight from September through December. We have a love/hate relationship, but we somehow make it work.”

For others, their love for the city is undeniable. “Ten. After living almost fifteen years in this city, I wouldn’t live anywhere else in the world. New York has the absolute best of it all,” asserts Ivan. Wendy and LaRae agree, “Eight to ten depending on the day but there’s no place quite like NYC, we’ve got it all here.”

“Ten for sure! I love NYC so much!” professes Kelly.

Both Nikki and Adeniyi went for eleven. “To be honest, I am not sure there is any better city in the world than New York. It keeps me on my toes. It constantly kicks me in the ass to remind me that even with all my accomplishments so far, there is still tons of work that needs to be done,” Adeniyi admits.

“It’s required to 100% love New York City to live here,” states Greg.

Lead and featured image by Michael Cobarrubia

The Insider’s Guide To Seattle

As the largest metropolis of the Pacific Northwest, there is no shortage of things to do, sites to see, and people to know in Seattle, WA. The city has something for everyone, from picturesque mountains to diverse neighborhoods, all sandwiched between the epic Pacific ocean and the second largest freshwater lake in Washington. Seattle is famously known for its iconic Space Needle, rainy reputation, and being home to the first Starbucks — but we wanted to dig a little deeper and uncover the city’s lesser-known gems. Plus, it also happens to be the home of Garmentory’s stateside HQ. This is where our network of local boutiques and designers comes in. Not to brag, but we happen to work with some of the city’s coolest creatives, so instead of relying on dusty tourist books or travel apps, we asked them to reveal the best places to eat, drink, and people watch. Start planning your west coast adventure now.

WHERE TO EAT

“Food is high on the list of reasons why I love this city,” boasts Alisa Furoyama, co-owner of design shop Glasswing. She suggests heading to “Single Shot, especially for weekend brunch, Harry’s Fine Foods for breakfast or lunch, Juicebox for a wellness shot, Plum for vegetarian, and Agua Verde for summer tacos.”

Single Shot, 611 Summit Ave E

Harry’s Fine Foods, 601 Bellevue Ave E

Juicebox, 1517 12th Ave #100

Plum Bistro, 1429 12th Ave

Agua Verde, 1303 NE Boat St

Julia Briggs, founder of New Jersey boutique Mothers + Daughters, recently made the move to Seattle and like Alisa, she loves Harry’s Fine Food for brunch!” She also notes “Suika (below) and Japanese food in general. The sushi here is amazing.”

Suika, 611 Pine St

Image c/o Suika

Suk Chai, designer of womenswear label SCHAI, has a few must-eat recommendations: “Sitka and Spruce, Oddfellows, Whale Wins, Walrus and Carpenter,” she suggests.”You can’t go wrong dining at restaurants who create food inspired by locally sourced and foraged ingredients,” she adds.

Sitka and Spruce, 1531 Melrose Ave

Oddfellows, 1525 10th Ave

The Whale Wins, 3506 Stone Way N

The Walrus and the Carpenter, 4743 Ballard Ave NW

Deborah Roberts, co-owner of Belltown boutique RIZOM and the designer behind ready-to-wear line Silvae, reveals that Cascina Spinasse is her go to for a special meal. “They focus on recipes and techniques from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, while incorporating products of artisans and small farmers from the Pacific Northwest.” Her inside tip: “Sit at the bar where you have a great view of the open kitchen and can watch the pasta being made by hand.”

Cascina Spinasse, 1531 14th Ave

WHERE TO DRINK

Images c/o Sun Liquor

Forget Starbucks, Seattle has what feels like a limitless amount of places to grab a cup of Jo. The two best according to our Alisa and Suk: Analog and Caffe Vita.

Analog, 235 Summit Ave E

Caffe Vita, multiple locations

Now let’s talk happy hour. “If it’s a weeknight, Foreign National for interesting flavors,” says Alisa, “or Sun Liquor (above) for cocktails and something cozy.” Deborah is also an advocate for both Foreign National and Sun Liquor.

Foreign National, 300 E Pike St

Sun Liquor, 607 Summit Ave E

“Nothing beats the Fremont Brewery,” Julia argues. “We have kids so it’s hard for us to go out a lot and this place is so wonderfully family friendly! Not to mention the view! Swoon. If you’re looking for a good mixed drink, Oddfellows in Cap-Hill makes my favorite bourbon cocktail.”

Fremont Brewery, 1050 N 34th St

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Image c/o Molly Moons

Deborah has a whole day planned where you can sneak in some ideal people watching. “In the heart of Capitol Hill, Oddfellows cafe/bar is a great place for people watching. Afterwards, grab ice cream at Molly Moons (above) on east Pine Street  and head to Cal Anderson park, or go down the block to Elliott Bay Books for some travel reading.” Okay, that’s three times Oddfellows has been suggested. As the ideal place to grab a bite, drinks and people watch, it’s officially at the top of our list.

Molly Moons, multiple locations

Cal Anderson Park, 1635 11th Ave

Elliott Bay Books1521 10th Ave

“I’d have to say the Ballard farmers market (below)!” says Julia. “We love strolling through all the farmers markets in Seattle and we’re so lucky to have them in different neighborhoods year round. We spend all day Sunday between Fremont and Ballard checking out local makers, vintage sellers and farmers. It’s a dream.”

Ballard Farmers Market, 5300 Ballard Ave NW

Image c/o Ballards Farmers Market

Suk heads to The Olympic Sculpture Park (below). “You get the locals and you get the tourists. You get the earth and art-conscious, and you get selfie addicts. All are worth watching,” she confesses. That sounds like the ultimate people watching day.

Olympic Sculpture Park, 2901 Western Ave

Images by Benjamin Benschneider

Bonus: We’ve teamed up with these guys for an exclusive flash sale! Shop ‘em all at up to 85% off, but only until August 30. This way >

Lead image by Benjamin Benschneider

The Insider’s Guide to Helsinki With Samuji’s Suvi-Elina Enqvist

Not to be trite, but the best word to describe Finland is magical.  Both the natural wonders and cultural heritage that make up this country are certifiably mind-blowing: You can spot the neon wash of the Aurora Borealis up to 200 nights a year; take in the mind-rattling, reality-bending Midnight Sun throughout June and July; enjoy a remarkable 188,000 clean lakes, relax in over two million saunas (hell yeah!); and — of course — bask in the serene simplicity and playful color use that characterizes Finnish design.

From Jackie O’s trademark Marimekko dresses to Alvar Aalto’s architectural creations around the world, Finland has been setting design trends for decades. Let’s just say they know what’s up when it comes to creating beautiful pieces. Among our favorite contemporary design authorities in the country is Samuji, based in the country’s capital, Helsinki. Samuji is a creative studio specializing in women’s ready-to-wear and home interior products. Its work focuses on a love of necessary things designed with simple functionality and kindness.

Below we chat with Suvi-Elina Enqvist, head of sales and marketing at Samuji. With over 15 years experience in fashion PR and communications, Enqvist has built a global network of sales across more than 25 countries for Samuji. And while she’s worked in both France and the U.S., Helsinki is home for Enqvist, so we got her to spill on the city’s best places to eat, drink, shop, and more. Forget Tripadvisor and read on.

Suvi-Elina wears a coat by Samuji. 

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN HELSINKI? Helsinki has a distinct and charming atmosphere where minimalistic architecture meets Slavic influence. The city’s pallet of seasonal colors — fluctuating between vivid summer green, intense Baltic blue and the crystal white of Nordic winter — makes Helsinki a truly special place year-round. It’s a metropolis with finesse, especially in the summer with the “nightless” nights.

IS THERE SOMETHING NOT MANY PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE CITY, BUT SHOULD? The solitude. Even if you are in the center of the nation’s capital, you can still be the only passenger on the train.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE HELSINKI STYLE? Colorful and diverse. Clothes reflect one’s personality and values. Individuality is important.

BEST PLACE TO EAT? There are restaurants all around the city that are really great, presenting pure and innovative dishes using local ingredients that you can only experience in the Nordic countries. I recommend Grön (Punavuori district), Ask (Kruununhaka district), Kom Theater (Ullanlinna district), as well as the old time classic Savoy (downtown).

Top by Samuji, skirt by Apiece Apart, earrings by Melissa Joy Manning.

BEST PLACE TO DRINK? For the best bartenders and drinks you should head out to Helsinki’s meatpacking district Teurastamo and to a place called Tislaamo Distillery Bar.

BEST PLACE TO PEOPLE WATCH? Sompasaari Sauna — a place to meet interesting locals, bathe and relax while enjoying the views towards the old parts of Helsinki, Katajanokka and Kruununhaka districts.

BEST PLACE TO SHOP? Hakaniemi Market Hall for an authentic grocery shopping experience. Artek and Lokal for contemporary Finnish furniture and homeware, and Samuji House, our store that combines elements of a gallery, boutique and home. I also love R/H and Arela, Finnish designer clothing and accessories brands.

Coat, shirt and trousers by Samuji; shoes by Maryam Nassir Zadeh.

TELL US ABOUT THE SUMMER HOUSE CULTURE IN FINLAND. WHERE DO YOU ESCAPE TO ON THE WEEKENDS? The Helsinki archipelago is an endless source of inspiration and accessible for everyone. Just a fifteen minute boat ride from the city and it feels like a true getaway. You don’t have to leave the capital area to find peaceful scenery.

Summer cottage (mökki) is a must for a true Finnish lifestyle experience. The cottages are everywhere and they are not just close geographically, but also philosophically and socially too.

Photography by Lari Heikkilä

Locations, top to bottom: Lokal, Cafe Fleuriste and Samuji.

The Insider’s Guide To San Francisco

It’s hard to not love San Francisco. Sitting on it’s very own peninsula up the northern coast of California surrounded by three bodies of water, it’s pretty much a landscape dream. Not to mention, it’s just a drive away from Silicon Valley, a quick flight (or fun road trip) to San Diego, Los Angeles and Arizona. And, in spite of its 40 rolling hills, you can walk or bike everywhere making exploring all its unique neighborhoods easy peasy. It’s really no surprise this cool city is filled with so much creativity and talent. We happen to know some of the best: the boutique owners and designers. Just look at the six rad ladies above, showing off the gorgeous city. These San Francisco designers make the most beautiful clothing and accessories that we obviously love to wear on the daily. We wanted to find out more about the city and the hidden gems no Trip Advisor would know, so we asked all our SF pals for the best places to eat, drink and people watch. You may as well check your Air Miles now.

Lead image by Robby Durler

From left to right: Danielle Colen designer of Waltz, Sharareh Koehler designer of Lotfi, Anna Chiu designer of Kamperett, Nikki Garcia designer of First Rite, Valerie Santillo designer of Kamperett, and Karen Potesta designer of Micaela Greg

 

WHERE TO EAT

From drool-worthy seafood to the most comforting Italian dishes, San Francisco has absolutely no shortage of good eats. “I have so many favorites! At this very moment it is Cotogna (above). Such delicious Italian food and a really beautiful space. Plus, their cocktails and wine selection are fantastic,” reveals Sydney Pfaff owner of Legion.

Cotogna, 490 Pacific Ave

Tiffany Tam from Refined also admits that the city is filled with endless gems. “There is so many… it’s hard to pick just one.” But she was able to narrow it down to her top four: Tartine Manufactory, Liholiho Yacht Club, Bellota and Ju-ni. Sharareh Koehler, designer of one of our favorite bag lines Lotfi, also has a soft spot for Tartine. More specifically, “a loaf of Tartine bread.”

Tartine Manufactory, 595 Alabama St

Liholiho Yacht Club, 871 Sutter St

Bellota, 888 Brannan St #110

Ju-ni, 1335 Fulton St

For more Italian treats, designer Danielle Cohn of Waltz suggests “Tosca Cafe for modern Italian food in a bar that’s been around since the 20s.” Sounds like a fun night to us.

Tosca Cafe, 242 Columbus Ave

Mira Pickett, boutique owner of Mira Mira, has two must-go places. “Traditional Dim Sum is always a good idea, I love Ton Kiang on Geary, and Bar Crudo (above) is probably my favorite spot on earth. Can’t come to SF without having seafood.” Okay, that platter looks amaze.

Ton Kiang, 5821 Geary St

Bar Crudo, 655 Divisadero St

Daniel Lee and and Natasha Wong from Seldom Seen also have two top choices: Taqueria and Cala. Both places serve amazing Mexican cuisine so you better prep yourself to eat endless tacos and burritos.

Taqueria, 2889 Mission St

Cala, 149 Fell St

“If I am going to go out to dinner, I love to go out for sushi, and one of my all time favorite places I discovered when I first moved to San Francisco years ago is a tiny place called Sushi Zone. It is a bit of a hidden gem off of Market Street in the lower part of the Mission. With only two tables and a few seats at the bar, you really have to get there right when they open or be prepared to wait, but everything is so fresh and delicious it is totally worth it,” reveals Valerie Santillo, part one of two of the womenswear label Kamperett. The second design half, Anna Chiu, has more than one favorite spot. “Seed + Salt for clean, organic and locally sourced food that’s quick and easy, Plow for brunch, Rich Table for dinner, Taqueria Cancun for the best burritos.”

Sushi Zone, 1815 Market St

Seed + Salt, 2240 Chestnut St

Plow, 1299 18th St

Rich Table, 199 Gough St

Taqueria Cancun, 2288 Mission St

WHERE TO DRINK

“15 Romolo (above), hands down,” reports Sydney. “They make the best drinks around. I’ve lost a lot of hours (maybe more like days) to that bar.” Just by looking at that drink we know that would totally happen to us, too.

15 Romolo, 15 Romolo Pl

Tomra Palmer from Gravel & Gold recommends one of our all time favorite places: “In the park on a blanket on a warm day.” She then added, “But since heat waves are rare here I’ll take a bloody mary at the classic Zuni Cafe or a wildly strong margarita at the dingy but charming Latin American Club. Also, (local tip!) the Local Cellar wine shop has free tastings on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. They sell and serve lots of groovy small batch CA wines.” Meet us there.

“Our street is a danger zone. There are two fun bars within crawling distance of the shop. Latin American is a real old school, legit Mission bar. Their margaritas are lethal weapons,” says Mira. Okay, this bar is definitely on our list now.

Zuni Cafe, 1658 Market St

Latin American Club, 3286 22nd St

Local Cellar, 2801 22nd St

Nikki Garcia the talented designer behind First Rite has two suggestions. “Holy Mountain in the Mission to avoid the crowds or Vesuvio in North Beach is always a classic.” Noted.

Holy Mountain, 680 Valencia St

Vesuvio, 255 Columbus Ave

Photo by Kassie Borreson

When looking to grab a drink, Valerie likes to stick close to home. “If I am going to go out for a drink, I usually like to stay in my neighborhood in Bernal Heights. One of my favorite local bars is The Royal Cuckoo. I like the dim, loungey vibe, down to earth atmosphere and their greyhounds are on point. They have a live band (including an organ!) on the weekends and otherwise they only play vintage records which keeps in line with the low-key ambiance.”

The Royal Cuckoo, 3202 Mission St

Tiffany is all about “The Riddler (above) for bubblies and caviar.” Seriously though, who doesn’t love a good glass (or bottle) of champers?

The Riddler, 528 Laguna St

Heading over to the Mission district we have two favorite drink spots. Marie Potesta, co-designer of Micaela Greg, choose the ABV. A trendy bar with all your favorite cocktails, beer, wine, plus a beautiful large-scale mural to admire while you sip on your drinks. Danielle went for the Lone Palm. A nice and cozy bar with the best selection of vodka. Sign us up.

ABV, 3174 16th St

Lone Palm, 3394 22nd St

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photo via @mrbrandonmiguel

“Dolores Park (above) definitely is the place to be on any sunny day. Kooks from every walk of life, all on the same grass. There is an actual map of the park itself, each area is represented by a different SF crew. It’s kind of funny (and sad) how accurate it is,” explains Mira. Daniel, Valerie and Anna also all noted Dolores as their favorite place to people watch. Must be a gem.

Dolores Park, Dolores St & 19th St

Tiffany heads to Hayes Valley: “the weather is always nice there so grab an outdoor seating at a local cafe.”

Sydney suggests, “Washington Square Park in North Beach. I live nearby and it’s always a pretty entertaining people-watching spot. Such an eclectic neighborhood with a lot of characters.” Tomra also loves this neighborhood. “At first glance you might assume it’s overrun with tourists but it’s full of family run, legacy businesses and old timer residents that have been there for many many years, holding down the alternative/outsider vibe of this city.” She has three spots in North Beach to hit up: Washington Square Park, Specs and Caffe Trieste.

Washington Square Park, Filbert St & Stockton St

Specs, 12 Williams Place

Cafe Trieste, 601 Vallejo St

Photo by @bradystarkpenn

Marie is also a fan of North Beach. “Mario’s Cigar bar in my hood in North Beach (above) is a nice outdoor corner spot by the park to sit and watch the summer tourists.” Sharaeh loves to go to Four Barrel on Valencia street. A sleek and rustic coffee shop that specializes in drop coffee. Nothing better than a cup of Jo and some good ol’ people watching.

Mario’s Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe, 566 Columbus Ave

Four Barrel, 375 Valencia St

And last but not least, Nikki’s favorite spot is the iconic Golden Gate Park. You definitely can’t go to San Francisco without stopping by there.

Golden Gate Park

Bonus tip: the West Coast Craft Fair is happening this weekend! Don’t miss this fun exhibition of artists and designers including some of our pals like First Rite, Ace & Jig, and Gravel & Gold. It’s free and totally worth going by!

The Insider’s Guide to Toronto

Toronto has it all: an unstoppable creative scene, bustling neighborhoods that span from one end of the map to the other, and it is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. You can experience different foods and cultures literally within blocks of one another. One stop on the TTC and you’re in Little Italy, next you’re in Greektown. Plus, there are over 140 languages spoken within the city limits. With so much to do and see, we knew a proper edit of the best had to come straight to the source: our boutiques and designers. We asked them to reveal THE best places to eat, drink and people watch in the Six right now. Get your woes ready. (Sorry, we had to).

WHERE TO EAT

Grey Gardens

“The simple ask of ‘where should we eat?’ when you live in Toronto is a question that could go unanswered for a long, long while; not unlike some of the most complex philosophical questions of our time. The options are plentiful, vast and one could quite feasibly travel their way around the planet on a plate – just eating their way around the city,” explains Bianca Goldman, founder of lifestyle boutique Bibelot & Token. She did narrow down a couple of her favorites though: Superpoint, “for a most fantastic buttery tomato sauce slice”, and Grey Gardens (above) a “new spot that’s a little bit of sunshine on the grayest of days.”

Superpoint, 184 Ossington Ave

Grey Gardens, 199 Augusta Ave

Anne Seally, owner of Task, is all about Bugigattolo Kitchen. A “cozy-tiny place in Liberty Village with an open kitchen and an outdoor patio. They serve Southern Italian food and do all-day breakfasts, lunch, and dinner. The menu changes daily, the food is very fresh, simple and tasty, the decor is laid back and unpretentious, and the service is warm and personal.” She also adds Tori’s Bakeshop (below) to her list of musts. “They have a half dozen tables (the best one being in the front bay window). Along with delicious baked goods and good coffee they also serve light lunch fare (soups, sandwiches, biscuits, etc).”

Bugigattolo Kitchen, 54 Fraser Ave

Tori’s Bakeshop, 188 Queen St E

Lindsay Reeve, co-founder of Undone, narrowed it down to her top three. “I love Bar Isabel. Their sister-shop Raval is sleeker (and the place to go for mid-morning coffee and refined snacks), but there’s something homey about Isabel that just feels right to me. The food is both light and a bit rugged. Then there’s Côte de Boeuf, which opened as a butcher shop but has fully morphed into a local cave à manger. Cheese and charcuterie are the things to get, but they also do a few bistro classics very well. Thirdly, you’ll want to hit up I Love Pho Forever – the place with pink walls and all the plants in the window. Don’t be deterred if there’s a line, it moves fast.”

Bar Isabel, 797 College St

Bar Raval, 505 College St

Côte de Boeuf, 130 Ossington Ave

I Love Pho Forever, 57 Ossington Ave

Photo by Patrick Murphy for Tori’s Bakeshop

“If I’m looking for something laid back (or slightly hungover), all day dim sum at Noble on Spadina is my go-to,” admits Elizabeth Arlow owner of Bodega Thirteen“It’s super inexpensive and in my opinion the best dim sum in Toronto. Definitely get the wonton soup.” We’ll meet you there.

Noble Seafood, 530 Dundas St W

Altaf Baksh owner of the contemporary men’s clothing shop Muddy George swears by Seven Numbers. He promises that, “Mama Rosa will take good care of you” when you go. Bonus: they are on Toronto’s 25 best bowls of pasta list!

7 Numbers, 307 Danforth Ave

Brittany Haavaldsrud founder of Fjordlife loves to hit up La Cubana (below) in Roncesvalles for a Cuban breakfast. She also recommends “Montgomery’s on Queen Street West, Bodega Henriette for brunch, and Figo for the decor.” 

La Cubana, 392 Roncesvalles Ave

Montgomery’s Restaurant, 996 Queen St W

Bodega Henriette, 1801 Gerrard St E

Figo, 295 Adelaide St W

Photo via @lacubana_to

Our pals over at LivestockKevin Pham and Adrian Campana, gave us a handful of go-to spots based off of various cravings (you’re welcome in advance): Odd Seoul (Korean tapas style), Kingyo (Japanese), Norling (Tibetan), Big Crow (BBQ),  Mamakas (Greek) and Milagros (Mexican).

Odd Seoul, 90 Ossington Ave

Kingyo, 51B Winchester St

Norling, 1512 Queen St W

Big Crow, 176 Dupont St

Mamakas, 80 Ossington Ave

Milagro, 5 Mercer St

Michelle Wilson of Chance & Fate has her heart set on Buca Yorkville. “Make sure you get the Branzino Crudi!!”

Buca Yorkville, 53 Scollard St

WHERE TO DRINK

Photo via @rhumcorner

The design duo behind the jewelry line Alynne LavigneEve Tobolka and Alynne Lavigne, love heading to the Rhum Corner (above) for a quick drink (or five). They also admit that when it comes to having a drink they love, “any sunny balcony, front porch, backyard… or park, but that would be illegal (wink!).”

Rhum Corner, 926 Dundas St W

It’s round two for Grey Gardens. Allison Skinner from Distill loves to go there for both their food and drinks. “I love the room – palm print painted cinder block wall, pretty linen towels, farmhouse sinks, pink cookware and brass details. Good crowd too, not douchey.” Well, that’s always a bonus.

Zai Rajkotwala, owner of the dreamy lifestyle shop Easy Tiger Goods, has a solid list of drinks spots: Midfields Wine Bar, Pharmacy, Pretty Ugly, Communist’s Daughter, and Unlovable. Owner of Room 2046, Kumala Nio, also chose Unlovable as her favorite place to kick back and have a drink. It must be good.

We love Midfield Wine Bar,” reveals the team at Mary Young. “They have a great patio (which Torontonians love to take advantage of when we can), a robust wine selection and super friendly, knowledgeable staff.”

Midfields Wine Bar, 1434 Dundas St W

Pharmacy, 1318 King St W

Pretty Ugly, 1237 Queen St W

Communists Daughter, 1149 Dundas St W

Unlovable, 1415 Dundas St W

Photo via @gypsywolfe

 The Slip (above) sits on Toronto’s beautiful waterfront at Harbourfront Centre and is one of Adrian’s favorite places to go when craving a good drink. Also on his list are: 416 Snack Bar, Cold Tea and Mascot Brewery – especially the rooftop patio (so good it’s the first photo at the top of our story).

The Slip, 235 Queens Quay W

416 Snack Bar, 181 Bathurst St

Cold Tea, 60 Kensington Ave

Mascot Brewery, 31 Mercer St

“Black Dice on Dundas West has a great drink selection – my fave is the ‘Cherry Jerry’, Sailor Jerry and cherry coke,” reveals Elizabeth. “They also have an extensive selection of Sake if you’re into that. It’s a smaller spot, self-identified as a ‘Japanese Rockabilly Bar’ but super laidback.”

Black Dice Cafe, 1574 Dundas St W

Michelle’s go-to is Pretty Ugly—a mysterious mezcal-based bar where you enter through a carpeted door on Queen Street.

Pretty Ugly, 1237 Queen St

Brittney has two recommendations: “The Local in Roncesvalles for live music and Hole In The Wall.” If you’re into exposed brick, classic cocktails and a rotating list of craft beers then Hole In The Wall is for you. Plus, they have a small stage at the back of the bar where music starts every night at 10pm. Oh, and delicious eats with a menu that changes weekly.

The Local, 396 Roncesvalles Av

Hole In The Wall, 2867 Dundas St W

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Photo via @tucanacoffee

“Dundas West has a great mix of newer bars, restaurants and shops, but has retained its Portuguese roots – good mix of characters to watch with a coffee,” explains Brittney. She adds, “in the warmer months I’m partial to an iced coffee and a good stoop session. Tucana (above) on Dundas West hits all the marks – female owned (!), staff is super cool, coffee is high quality but affordable, and they have a bench outside.” Bonus: dogs love it too! Altaf also loves a coffee shop for people watching. He often heads to Casa Coffee in Kensington Market.

Kensington Market is a actually a top spot for many. Anne loves the area for “its eccentricity and quirkiness.” Kevin and Adrian recommend heading there on the weekend. “It’s the best since you get such a variety of people walking through all day and there is live music usually playing.”

Tucana Coffee, 1413 Dundas St W

Casa Coffee, 235 Augusta Ave

“Hard to believe, but I’m recommending the Toronto Reference Library, because everyone now goes there to soak in its post-modern aesthetic,” explains Lindsay. “It was designed in 1977 and supposedly influenced by the hanging gardens of Babylon, but to me it’s pure retro-futuristic paradise. I’m also a bookworm, though!”

Toronto Reference Library, 789 Yonge St

Photo via @samjamescoffeebar

“It’s the most obvious answer, but once the sun comes out, even just a little bit, Trinity Bellwoods Park is where a most satisfying cross-section of Toronto is on display at all times,” says Bianca. “Claim a patch of grass, a picnic lunch from Sud Forno, gather a group of friends – and you’ll catch a glimpse of everyone and everything that’s best about this city.” Fun fact: Sud Forno is one of the top 10 most Instagrammable spots in Toronto.

Alynne, Eva, Brittney, and Zai also suggest Trinity as the best place to people watch. Zai particularly loves “a coffee shop near it: Sam James (above).”

Sud Forno, 716 Queen St W

Sam James, 917 Queen St W

Two of Toronto’s busiest spots are also great for people watching. Kumala goes for the Pearson Airport and Allison loves the ferry terminal. “You see all walks of life while waiting for the ferry in the summer—hippies, hipsters, families, couples, loners—all gathered together to take a trip to the Toronto Islands,” she explains.

Pearson Airport, 6301 Silver Dart Dr

Jake Layton Ferry Terminal, 9 Queens Quay W

The Insider’s Guide to Portland

It’s time to put aside the Portlandia references and actually get down to what this rad city is all about. Nestled between the mountains and the ocean, Portland is filled with fresh air and a community of welcoming, open-minded, genuine people. Seriously, it’s no shocker when people go out of there way to help others here. The creative energy is high, the support system is strong, and “the food, it’s really f**cking delicious,” according to local Marisa Howard, designer behind Seaworthy. And that’s no exaggeration. We knew finding Portland’s treasure spots was a must so we asked Marisa along with our favorite Portland designers, boutiques and style bloggers on the best places to eat, drink and people watch. You might want to ask for vacation time now.

WHERE TO EAT

tusk-food
Photo by AJ Meeker

Choosing where to grab a bite to eat might be a little difficult and not because of a lack of options. It’s the exact opposite. “There are so many good places to eat in Portland,” says 100 Year Party‘s Noel Weisenbacher. “If you’re craving a classic like pizza, Handsome Pizza is delish. If you want authentic, fresh Mexican, Taqueria y Panaderia Santa Cruz in St. Johns is a must—I’m dreaming of their tacos right now. If you want killer rotisserie chicken Pollo Norte is the place,” she adds.

Handsome Pizza, 1603 NE Killingsworth St

Taqueria y Panaderia Santa Cruz, 8630 N Lombard St

Pollo Norte, 5427 NE 42nd Ave

Shea Christner from Open Air Museum is currently crushing on Tusk (above): “A modern take on Mediterranean food. I think about their hummus and flatbread everyday. Oh, and the Eastern Maid cocktail. I die. It has the perfect Palm Springs vibes that I crave living in a damp and overcast city. It is an escape!” Lindsay Reif, designer of REIF, chimes in. “The food is delicious, and the decor is beautiful.” The praise didn’t stop there. Kristen Robinson, founder of Minoux, also loves it there and swears that their “vegetables that will change your life.”

Tusk, 2448 E Burnside St

In the mood for Mexican? Then Tonya Smith, the Portland style blogger behind @themoptop, swears by Porque No. “The margaritas and chips are great!”

Porque No, 4635 SE Hawthorne Blvd

la-moule-portland
Photo via @localhaven

Sarah Donofrio from One Imaginary Girl divulged that La Moule (above) is one of the best places to eat in the Clinton neighborhood. “A restaurant based around mussels and fries?? Sign me up.”  Us too, please.

La Moule, 2500 SE Clinton St

Laura Housgard, owner of Johan, let’s us in on Portland’s best ramen. “Afuri! The truffle miso is vegetarian and will 100% blow your mind.” For some more vegetarian options we looked to designer Laurs Kemp: “I’m vegan/vegetarian, and I’m constantly on the lookout for new restaurants! Here’s my perfect food day. Brunch (and the city’s best Bloody Mary) at A.N.D. Cafe. Lunch at Van Hanh, a Vietnamese restaurant run by Buddhist nuns! And I’d cap the night off at Revelry, a fantastic new late-night spot.” Sounds like a (yummy) plan to us.

Afuri, 923 SE 7th Ave

A.N.D. Cafe, 5420 E Burnside St

Van Hanh, 8446 SE Division St

Revelry, 210 SE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Sweedeedee’s will forever have my heart,” reveals Jen Vitale, owner of Association Shop. “It has the best breakfast/brunch in town hands down. The honey cake and breakfast rice bowl are favorites.”

Sweedeedee, 5202 N Albina Ave

milk-glass-market-portland
Photo via @ttothen

“I love Milk Glass Market (above), it’s a tiny cafe close to my house in North Portland that is never too busy (at least on the weekdays). They serve farm-to-table style dishes that are insanely delicious. The Veggie Sandwich comes highly recommended,” says Lizzie Falkenstein designer of Primecut. They also have an endless array of sweets that change up on the daily.

Milk Glass Market, 2150 N Killingsworth St

Diana Kim, owner of Stand Up Comedy, favors Rose VL for the best Vietnamese. It also happens to be the most colorful space with purple and yellow hues to brighten up those gloomy gray Portland days.

Rose VL, 6424 SE Powell Blvd

In August we took a virtual trip to Portland with Jen Szeto, the style blogger behind @windowofimagination, and she revealed some of her go-to spots. Firstly there is Nong’s Khao Man Gai (which also happens to be on our top three things we love in Portland list): “their famous thai-style chicken and rice is so simple, yet delicious.” For dessert she recommended the soft serve at Cheese & Crack.

Nong’s Khao Man Gai, 1003 SW Alder St

Cheese & Crack, 22 SE 28th Ave

WHERE TO DRINK

Circa33-portland
Photo via @circa33

It’s happy hour in Portland so, where do you go? “I love the cocktail selection at Circa 33 (above), and their neighbor, Aalto lounge, has $2 happy hour cocktails. You can’t go wrong on Belmont S.,” Sarah reveals.

Circa 33, 3348 SE Belmont St

Aalto Lounge, 3356 SE Belmont St

Britt Hawkes (@seaandpattern), another Portland style crush of ours, heads to the Sandy Hut to get her drink on. “Make sure to order their Chi Chi cocktail which is similar to a piña colada and will make you feel like you’re sitting by the ocean.”

Sandy Hut, 1430 NE Sandy Blvd

When Brookes Boswell, milliner of the best hats and owner of Shop Boswell, is sticking close to her studio she likes to head to “a brewery called Commons which also has a cheesemonger inside and brews unique saison and not-so-hoppy beers. For a fancy cocktail I go to Holdfast, which is a tasting menu restaurant, except on Monday nights they have an a la carte and cocktail menu that is exceptional.”

Commons, 630 SE Belmont St

Holdfast, 537 SE Ash St #102

“If you like a good dive bar then head to Sloan’s Tavern,” says accessory designer Sara Barner. With a semi-truck built into the wall and the best jukebox in town, this place is truly one of a kind.

Sloan’s Tavern, 36 N Russell St

Bye-and-bye-portland
Photo via @byeandbyeportland

“The summer is coming and it’s all about patios and sunshine and day drinking. That means the Bye & Bye,” Seaworthy‘s Marisa Howard tells us. “I might be biased, because my husband is one of the owners and my brother bartends there (he’s the one with the huge beard and the tattoos…haha!) but it really is my favorite bar in the summer.” The drink pictured above is the infamous Bye & Bye (peach vodka & bourbon, lemon, cranberry juice and soda). It is promised to cure just about anything.

Bye & Bye, 1011 NE Alberta St

Owner of WM Goods, Whitney Goodman admits, “I’m the biggest homebody of all time and suck at drinking, so on the rare occasion that I go out, it’s usually to the Multnomah Whiskey Library. The food is awesome, they are super knowledgable about their booze. Also, the place is gorgeous.”

Multnomah Whiskey Library, 1124 SW Alder St

Dame is our favorite and fanciest female-owned establishment that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside while sipping a tall glass of their best French cider,” explains Alicia and James Buford, owners of Infashuated.

Dame, 2930 NE Killingsworth St

Erik Prowell from Portland’s Bridge & Burn has three go-to spots: “Sweet Hereafter, Bazi and Reel M Inn.”

Sweet Hereafter, 3326 SE Belmont St

Bazi Bierbrasserie, 1522 SE 32nd Ave

Reel M Inn, 2430 SE Division St

Well I have two small children, so I don’t get out drinking much these days,” explains Shana Beth, the designer behind womenswear line Beth. “I did recently have day drinks at Victoria Bar and that was dope. I also like this super low-key place called My Couch. They always have exactly want I want and you can wear your PJ’s and watch movies.”

Victoria Bar, 4835 N Albina Ave

Never-cafe-portland
Photo via @ktewoji

Taking our minds off happy hour and onto our other favorite beverage: coffee. There are countless cozy cafes in Portland. Never Coffee (above) is Kristen’s favorite. “Who knew coffee could be even more perfect? The Oregon latte with Cascade hops, dulce de leche and Jacobsen Sea Salt” is a must-try.

Never Coffee, 4243 SE Belmont St

For coffee Britt hits up Commissary. “A laid back coffee shop tucked away in the alphabet district serving Water Ave. coffee and fresh baked snacks.”

Commissary, 915 NW 19th Ave

Self-taught designer Kate Towers loves “Coquine for coffee, pastries, and a walk on Mt. Tabor,” which is also one of Sara’s favorite places to people watch “if it’s nice out.”

Coquine, 6839 SE Belmont St

Mt. Tabor

Laurs speaks on coffee’s frenemy: “if you’re looking for a hot drink, Tea Bar has marvelous non-coffee options. And it’s also woman-owned! Woohoo!” This spot has the world’s best selection of teas sourced from family farms from around the world.

Tea Bar, 1615 NE Killingsworth St (+ 2 other locations)

“It’s been so long since I’ve really enjoyed a meal out or a cocktail, so I don’t think I’m much help here. Currently all I want are Blizzards from Dairy Queen,” reveals Amber Arambul from ARA. This is because she is seven months pregnant! So, big congratulations and blizzards for everyone!

WHERE TO PEOPLE WATCH

Pioneer-courthouse-square-portland
Photo via @downtownpdx

“There are so many unique personalities in this city, that it’s hard to narrow down one inspiring spot,” explains Sarah. But we managed to get our experts to confess the best of the best. Lizzie makes clear that Portland’s Pioneer Square (above) in the heart of downtown is “the most condensed people watching.”

Pioneer Square, 701 SW 6th Ave

The next spot, The Ace Hotel, was a fan favorite of many. Kate goes straight to the lobby while Whitney likes to “pull up to a stool in the Stumptown Coffee at the Ace Hotel for some pretty prime people watching.” And then there is the Sundaze Collective: “A curated monthly fashion pop-up featuring Portland’s favorite designers and makers located in The Ace Hotel event space,” explains Kristen. Laura adds on that “Sarah from The Yo! Store puts it on, we (Johan) participates every other month. It ends up drawing a huge crowd and is always a blast—like one big party in the heart of Portland.”

It’s a fact: “Anywhere around the Ace Hotel is great people watching. It’s a mixture of tourists and locals, and you’re sure to catch some amazing street style,” expresses Lindsey.

The Ace Hotel, 1022 SW Stark St

Stumptown Coffee, 1026 SW Stark St

Learn more about the Sundaze Collective here.

farmers-market-portland
Photo via @downtownpdx

“There’s always lots of people out and about, so taking a stroll through the Japanese Gardens, Laurelhurst park or farmer’s markets (above) can give you a great peek into local culture,” explains Brookes.

Japanese Garden, 611 SW Kingston Ave

Laurelhurst Park, SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd & Stark St

Laurs Kemp has her people watching day mapped out to a T. “For daytime people-watching, I’d start with a coffee at Courier Coffee and then go to PICA (Portland Institute of Contemporary Art) and get a bird’s-eye view from their rooftop—which is open to the public during their weekday business hours! You can also peruse their art book library while you’re there! For some nighttime people-watching, I’d suggest The Lovecraft Bar, a goth-themed dance bar!”

Courier Coffee, 923 SW Oak St

PICA, 415 SW 10th Ave #300

The Lovecraft, 421 SE Grand Ave

“I absolutely fell in love with this landmark (Ira Keller Fountain Park). The fountain is located in the heart of downtown, and is an architectural sight for sore eyes,” explains Jen. This beautiful fountain brings a lot of people to one space so it often doubles as a pretty awesome people watching spot.

Ira Keller Fountain, SW 3rd Ave & Clay St

Tonya says that “pretty much any of the main streets of Portland such as Hawthorne, Division, Alberta or Mississippi” are great. “There’s always people walking around!”

So, when it comes down to it the answer is clear: “in Portland, anywhere,” admits Noel.