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 fashion girl’s guide to Brooklyn

“In my opinion, if Brooklyn were a character from a movie, it would be Tyler Durden from Fight Club,” says Jessi Frederick, the stylish babe behind Stylish Gambino. “I feel as though everyone who lives in Brooklyn has this rebellious personality, they’re very much against social norms. That’s what I love about it.” Brooklyn’s hotbed of creative energy and cool kids isn’t anything particularly new this century, but it’s evolving and revolving door of hip neighborhoods and hot spots is now on par with Manhattan. So we tapped the women we love to find out the best places to eat, drink and people watch.

“I love that I never feel like I’ve truly got to the bottom of it,” says Phoebe Sung of Cold Picnic. “It’s so big and there’s enough to do in all the neighborhoods that even if you do get sick of where you’re living or where you usually hang out, there’s always something totally new a few miles away.” From Greenpoint to Bushwick, Williamsburg to Cobble Hill, there’s a ton to explore in the borough and it always feels inspiring.

Samantha Pleet agrees. “At any moment you can get the best meal, the best coffee and have the opportunity to meet the most interesting people in the world, whether they live here or they are just passing through.”

 

Your guide to Brooklyn – fashion girl approved – is below.