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.

Summer Tips, Tricks and Treats From Women We Love

Even on scorching hot days, summer is pure bliss. Free time is spent outside, coupling nature with relaxation, socializing, and plenty of al fresco dining and drinking —  what more could you want from a season? In celebration of the peak of summer, we caught up with some of our favorite cool women to hear what they’ve been indulging in this season (and find out how they manage to keep a fresh face when you feel like a human ice cream cone, melting by the minute).

 

BEAUTY REAL TALK WITH NEW YORK FASHION JOURNALIST MARJON CARLOS

 

WHAT’S YOUR MORNING BEAUTY ROUTINE? My feet hit the floor and I’m ready to create good vibes in the morning. I immediately light a Palo Santo stick and turn on some inspiring music, and go to wash my face. I use Urban Skin Rx’s Cleansing Bar, which is amazing for WOC. I went for a micro needling session a few months back with them and it changed my skin.I have used their products ever since.

Next, I vacillate between a serum or a moisturizer. I don’t want to feel weighed down in the summer or like my face is melting off, so I’ll either go with Urban Skin Rx’s Brightening Serum or Dr. Sturm + Angela Basset’s Hyaluronic Serum.

Depending on whether I am headed to the gym or a meeting or my work space, I take a shower and use Marley Natural’s Hemp Seed Oil Wash. I love the smell and the hemp brings even more vibes. Afterward, I usually slather aloe vera gel on to help preserve my tan and then Johnson & Johnson Baby Oil: I feel like butter and it’s weightless compared to a creamy lotion. For makeup, I just use Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer in “tan” and a dusting of MAC Mineralize Skin Finish in “dark golden.” If I have an important meeting, I’ll use Dior Airflash Foundation Spray first for more coverage — it’s like Photoshop and I love it. MAKE has a great cream blush — Blot Pot — andI line my eyes with Maybelline’s Unstoppable Eyeliner, fill in my eyebrows with Anastasia Beverly Hills’s Brow Powder Duo in “medium brown,” and add a coat of Dior Show Pump’n’Volume on my lashes. I use Lucas Pawpaw on my lips or MAC’s Verve for a bit more color if I have a meeting.

I’ve been taking my Tatcha Dewy Skin Mist with me everywhere, too — it’s great for when you’re sweating and you need to feel refreshed. The bottle is pint-sized and adorable, so you can take it wherever. I’ll spritz water on my hair to activate the curl and then add Shea Moisture’s Fruit Fusion Coconut Water Weightless Styling Mousse for a wet and wavy look, and let it air dry. I didn’t know I was going for Rihanna “Wild Thoughts” this summer but here we are! I also use a combination of Jamaican castor oil and shea oil on my scalp and edges. Oh, and I’ll take a Biotin vitamin to help with hair and nail growth.

WHAT ARE THE PRODUCTS YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS? Aloe vera gel to help your tan last longer; Elta MD is the best sunscreen for WOC because it doesn’t leave that gray, ashy film on your skin that most sunscreens do; Lucas Pawpaw for lip gloss; WATER for hair/skin/nails/body; and Herbivore Body Oil to make your skin shine after you’ve been in the sun all day!

ANY TIPS ON HOW TO PREVENT YOUR MAKEUP FROM MELTING IN THE HEAT? Avoid using moisturizers in the summer and instead add serums into the mix. Tatcha Dewy Skin is a lifesaver when I’m about to head into a party — it preserves your look and gives you a little glow. Glossier’s Soothing Face Mist spray is great when you’re outside and sweltering. It saved me at Afropunk last year!

Follow @marjon_carlos

ALL THE EATS WITH NEW YORK FOODIE FASHION EDITOR ALYSSA COSCARELLI

WHAT ARE YOU EATING ALL SUMMER LONG?

1. The entire menu at The Standard East Village garden: Olives, Japanese fried chicken, flatbread… I order one of everything on the menu with friends and it’s always the perfect summer meal (accompanied by frozé, of course).

2. For coffee, eggs, and acai bowls, I love Hole In The Wall, an unexpected little joint in Financial District near my office. Equally delicious and photogenic.

3. Guacamole to start, and churros to finish at Jajaja.

4. Matcha soft serve at Soft Swerve. Hits the spot on a hot afternoon, every time.

5. A latte and egg sandwich at L’estudioA chic, minimal (& yummy!) way to start the day.

6. Avocado toast at De Mariathe most Instagram-y spot of the summer.

7. A must try if you’re in NYC: The pancakes at Sunday In Brooklyn. There are no words… You just have to experience them.

Follow @alyssainthecity

NON-STOP OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES WITH VANCOUVERITE NICOLE WONG

Bottom image by Flory Huang

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE SUMMER OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES? I’m a summer baby and something I love doing in and around Vancouver in the summertime is a late afternoon picnic with friends at either Crab Park or Jonathan Rogers Park. There’s a point during the day when the sun is still out but it’s not as harsh, and that’s the perfect time to round up your best pals for a selection of fresh fruits, charcuterie and cold drinks. Great friends and great conversations in a chill environment is the perfect combination for me. Another thing I love doing is finding great outdoor concerts to attend. I’m a bit of a concert fiend and live music set against the setting sun is nothing short of perfection. This year, Malkin Bowl has some really great end-of-summer concerts and I will definitely be checking out HAIM there.

Follow @tokyo_to

YOUR READING LIST WITH SAN FRANCISCO’S BOOK EXPERT EMMA LOUGHRIDGE

WHAT’S ON YOUR SUMMER READING LIST?

The Changeling by Victor LaValle: I just finished this book a few weeks ago and I really enjoyed it. There’s a huge plot twist, so I think it’s best going into this not knowing much. Just know it’s a great blend of fiction and fantasy and is written really well. A perfect book to sink into!

Goodbye, Vitamin by Rachel Khong: This was the last book I finished this summer and it was a delight to read. It’s quick, Rachel’s writing style is so great and she’s a local San Francisco resident!

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova: One of my all time favorite books. I really like reading darker books in the summer time, it’s a fun contrast to the sunny (if you don’t live in San Francisco) weather and this one is perfect. It’s quite the creepy adventure based on the “real” Dracula and if you’re into historical fiction, please pick this up.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver: Another one of my favorite books. Barbara Kingsolver is a classic and I’m bummed I waited this long to read her. This story is about an Evangelical family that moves to the Congo in 1959, and how everything completely unravels for them as soon as they get there. This book made me cry and laugh and cry again and everyone should read it. Another good lengthy book to submerge yourself into!

Follow @emmatheyellow

EDITOR’S NOTE: HAVE A DRINK… WITH US.

Images from top to bottom: @hennitravels, @colonienyc, and @tapestersgrill

THREE COCTAILS WE CAN’T STOP SIPPIN’ THIS SUMMER.

1. Watermelon Margaritas. Just three simple ingredients to make these delicious drinks.

  • 5 Tbsp of tequila
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 1/4 cups blended watermelon

2. Aperol Spritz. Another easy peasy recipe.

  • 3 parts of Prosecco
  • 2 parts of Aperol
  • 1 part or splash of soda
  • Ice and a slice of orange

3. Frozé. Let’s be honest, this is everyone’s favorite this summer.

  • 1 bottle of rose (tip: pour the rose into ice trays and freeze hours before making the drinks)
  • ½ cup of sugar
  • Strawberries
  • Fresh lemon juice

Meet the Boutique: Umeboshi

Umeboshi has been Vancouver’s source of unique, handcrafted shoes and emerging designers from around the world for years. Stephanie Gorrell found inspiration while living in Europe and brought the old-world traditions of shopping local home by opening her own boutique in 2005. Since then Umeboshi has been known, not only, for curating a cool, well-edited collection of shoes, but for the kind of service that makes you feel like you’re shopping with friends. The footwear store also paved the way for other boutiques to join them on Main Street, which has since become one of the city’s top neighborhoods for boutiques. Here, Stephanie shares her approach to business and her favorite things.

Shop Umeboshi >

Meet the Boutique: Neighbour/Woman

“Precision of geometry” and “elegance of nature” are two phrases used by the up and coming, and much applauded, London-based fashion label 1205. It’s pretty fitting that Saager Dilawri would name the line’s designer Paula Gerbase as his favorite designer as they would be equally great ways to describe his two boutiques in Vancouver — Neighbour and Neighbour/Woman — not to mention his aesthetic point of view. The balance of easy and exact is even something he embodies himself and we love him for it. We sat down with Saager to find out more about his concise approach, his favorite neighbors and all the cool things he loves.

Shop Neighbour/Woman >

WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT OWNING BOUTIQUES? I think the most intriguing thing about running a multi-brand store is bringing everything together. There are so many great designers out there and of all of them we have are narrowed down in selection to several, and then you need to narrow down your selection from each collection. It is interesting to play with this and become concise, while making everything work together.

Meet the team at Vancouver’s lululemon lab

Inspired by traditional Japanese hakama and ovoidal shapes, The Agawa Holiday Collection, the latest capsule from Vancouver’s lululemon lab is now available! This time, we went behind the scenes to get to know all the rad people making magic happen at the retail space and experimental design lab. Everyone, meet lululemon lab. lululemon lab, meet everyone.

Ceramicist Lindsey Hampton on studio style and multitasking

When you get a look at Lindsey Hampton’s Vancouver studio, a question springs to mind: Is there anything this woman can’t do? The multidisciplinary artist and designer, focuses mainly on print design and ceramics, both functional and sculptural, while not only dabbling but excelling in photography, installation and music. It was only in the past few years that the multi-tasking Canadian artist took to studying sculpture and won over the world with her playful, architectural ceramics. We’re super excited to have a few exclusive pieces for our holiday collection, so we went behind the scenes with her to find out more.

Shop Lindsey Hampton >

HOW DID YOU DECIDE ON CERAMICS AS A CAREER PATH? I didn’t really, it kind of happened by accident. I took a course about five years ago and have just been doing it ever since. I sold some pieces to my first store, One of a Few, I think about three years ago and it’s just snowballed ever since. I do it pretty much full time now, although I still leave some room for freelance design projects.

Talking charcoal, coconut and beauty traditions with Woodlot

Discovering charcoal for beauty products is kind of an epiphany. When first using Woodlot’s small-batch charcoal soap you’re distracted by the dark suds for a split second and then totally enveloped by this amazing scent and feel. Local Vancouverite Sonia Chhinji originally began making candles with her boyfriend as a fun side project and lucky for us, it snowballed into a full-blown career and natural beauty company with olive oil soaps and more. The couple (now engaged) draw from the beauty traditions of their heritages and make it their mission to keep everything toxin free. We’re excited to have them as part of our holiday collection of exclusives and we obviously had to quiz them on the whole story. Here, Sonia spills on their process and all her favorite things.

Shop Woodlot >

NOT ONLY DO YOUR PRODUCTS SMELL AMAZING, THE INGREDIENTS ARE ACTUALLY GOOD FOR US. TELL US ABOUT THAT. I’ve been a candle lover my entire life. As a child, I would hand roll cotton wicks with my mom to make tea lights for Diwali and to light around our home. My partner Fouad has been making soap bars for years, a practice he learned back in Lebanon. We’re both pretty conscious of what we put into our body and were starting to apply this way of thinking in other aspects of our lives as well. I quickly discovered that a lot of the products I was purchasing in my home and in beauty were made up of toxic ingredients. We started to play around with a number of plant-based waxes and discovered coconut wax. It’s not the simplest wax to work with, but we loved how clean it burned and went for it.

Behind the scenes with lululemon lab

As a retail space and production studio in one, lululemon lab’s unique space is just as busy as the major city center just outside its doors in Vancouver, BC. Started as a design incubator for the global brand lululemon athletica, the lab operates outside the lines with their own collection that is designed, produced and sold exclusively in their West Broadway location. For anyone looking for something beyond the yoga pant for your next workout, it’s a mecca of fashion forward silhouettes and fabrics. Community is a huge reason why the lab exists, so local collaborations have been the name of the game ever since they began in 2009. Osei-Duro is their latest international hookup and we’re so excited to be the exclusive online retailer for the capsule collection starting this Friday, July 17th. Stay tuned!

We met up with the team at lululemon lab to learn more about their process (keep scrolling below for a look behind the scenes) and talked with Women’s Wear Designer Erika Rekis about how this new collaboration began.

HOW DID LULULEMON LAB COME TO BE? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION TO CREATE AN INCUBATOR FOR INNOVATION IN DESIGN FOR LULULEMON? The lab was born out of a desire to create a space for emerging designers to play and experiment in a way that big companies often miss out on. The combination of retail and design is modeled after the first ever lululemon store on west 4th and allows our design team to work right alongside our production team as well as chat with the guests to get direct feedback on existing designs as well as what we’re missing.

Road Trip: Vancouver to Ojai with Charlie & Lee

Not like we need an excuse to get out of town, but with Canada Day and the Fourth of July happening this week, taking a vacation feels more like a patriotic duty. So we’re packing our bags and getting inspired. Kleah Graham Michnik, owner of Vancouver’s Charlie & Lee boutique, was nice enough to share a photo diary from her most recent vacation so we could daydream until the Out of Office notification gets switched on. Kleah and her husband Josh Michnik, owner of 33 Acres Brewing Co., along with their new baby boy Charlie, headed down the west coast for the first official family road trip. “Josh drove from Vancouver to the tip of the Baja for his #BAJAB33R surf trip. On his way home he stopped in LA at a friend’s place, and Charlie and I flew down to meet him. We hung around for a little over a week, then drove home to Vancouver over the next five days.” Scroll down for some spectacular getaway inspo and our Q&A where we get to know more about Kleah, Josh and little Charlie.

Above: “Embarking on our journey as the sun was getting ready to set, about 45 minutes North of LA along the PCH.”

Artist Ola Volo on modern folklore and traditional storytelling

Every work of art by Vancouver-based illustrator Ola Volo tells a story. Her intricate works weave a narrative motif with animals, people, elements of nature and architecture, all with a distinct style that is drawn from the traditions of her heritage and contemporary whimsy. Lucky for us Ola regularly shows her work around town while working on commissions from such clients as Hootsuite, Lululemon and the Vancouver Opera House. We love what she does, so we had to find out more.

WHEN DID YOU FIRST IDENTIFY AS AN ARTIST? I grew up attending art classes in school and out of school all my life. However, it was my final year of university where I completely fell in love with art. From that point, I couldn’t wait to dedicate all my time towards illustration and fine art.

YOU’RE ORIGINALLY FROM KAZAKHSTAN. HOW DOES THAT INSPIRE YOUR WORK? My world has been greatly influenced due to being raised in Kazakhstan and Canada. A big part of Kazakh culture is storytelling and use of intricate patterns. Blend this with multiculturalism, and often that’s where the root of my concepts are inspired from.  Having had the chance to live in Asia, Europe and North America, I’ve been directly impacted by the cultural styles and themes from these diverse regions. In fact, at the moment I’m visiting Kazakhstan and writing from a small town near China called Tekeli.