When I first moved to Vancouver, I fell instantly in love with the city’s independent fashion boutiques.
Don’t get me wrong—if I had the money, I would totally Carrie Bradshaw-out on designer-label goods, but I would always make room in my wardrobe for locally-designed pieces. Inventive, gorgeous, unique fashion is a mark of both the truly stylish person and the truly stylish city, and unlike many places that do have the big names (in department stores, malls, etc.), Vancouver is distinguished by its own, thriving fashion scene.
The following is a list of my favourite fashion spots in Vancouver. I’ve included the “big name” spots along with the local boutique areas because the local boutiques can be more expensive (though not always) and they don’t carry (sadly) as wide a range of clothing sizes.
Where to Shop for Fashion & Accessories in Vancouver
1. Mid-Range Fashion and International Brands: Robson Street or Metropolis at Metrotown. For the brands everyone knows, from H&M to Zara’s to Banana Republic, this is it. Both have an extensive collection of fashion for different sizes, ages and budgets, and both are good bets for sales.
2. High-End International Designers: Holt Renfrew. This divine department store is all clothes and accessories, and carries Prada, Dior, Armani, etc. Hit it up at sale times—mid- to late-summer or Boxing Day/after Christmas—for the best deals.
3. Mid-Range Canadian & Local Designers / Independent Fashion: Main Street, between 20th Avenue and 24th Avenue. For shopping local on a budget, this is the place to start. Shops like Narcissist and Twigg & Hottie offer unique fashion at a reasonable price.
4. High-End Canadian & Local Designers / Independent Fashion: Gastown. If you can afford to splurge, go here. I can’t think of a more serious fashion mecca. Don’t miss the uber-gorgeous menswear at Roden Gray, high-gloss Obakki or hats-and-bags at Mooncruise Gallery.
5. High-End Boutiques with International Brands: South Granville and Yaletown. Shopping in both these areas will expose you to fashion you won’t find elsewhere, though it isn’t necessarily locally- or Canadian-designed. My absolute favourite is South Granville’s Misch—owner and Vancouverite Lara Osen has phenomenal taste; in Yaletown there’s Marimekko Vancouver and Rowan Sky.
6. Athletic & Yoga Wear: Robson Street and Kitsilano’s West 4th Avenue. While you can certainly find athletic and yoga wear on Robson, I recommend checking out West 4th Avenue, from Burrard Street to Vine. You’ll find a wide variety there, including big brands like North Face, plus Kits is the original home of Lululemon.
7. Indian Fashion & Accessories: Punjabi Market / Little India. It’s easy to find inexpensive clothes and costume jewelry in Vancouver’s Little India, but for style hunters, there are two places worth a look: Crossover Bollywood SE for women and Sunny’s Bridal for men and women.
8. Last, but not least, there’s Vancouver Portobello West, the monthly fashion and art market that features loads of local talent. For information on the next market dates, see the Vancouver Portobello West website.
Have a favourite fashion locale to add? Please do!