Vancouver is a fabulous place to shop for fashion, you just have to know where to find it. Sure, downtown Vancouver’s brand-name-packed Robson Street and high-end department stores (like the designer Holt Renfrew) are understandably famous Vancouver shopping destinations, but they don’t have the freshness or edge of our local and independent fashion scene. For that, you can hit Main Street or, just a few blocks east of Robson, Gastown.
Gastown has changed enormously over the last ten years. Experiencing a renaissance of style and design, this historic district is now home to some of the best local and independent fashion boutiques in the city. More high-end (and thus more expensive) than Main Street, Gastown is the place to shop for upscale local fashion.
My favourite Gastown designers include dutil.denim, Vancouver’s famous all-denim store, which launched its own line of men’s and women’s jeans, “The Quintessential Series,” in May 2010, and Narcissist, home to the beloved “Pamela” dress, a dress that can be worn in 12 different ways. (I recently loaned my “Pamela” dress to a girlfriend who’s five month pregnant and it looked fabulous on her, too!)
For sleek, lush women’s wear, there’s Obakki, an international design house founded in Vancouver that’s been featured in Vogue and InStyle, and counts Gwyneth Paltrow among its clientele.
Another must-visit, especially for knitters, is Gentille Allouette. The shop is stocked with delicious and thoroughly original knitwear from owner Eliza Lau and other local designers, and plays occasional host to knitting circles and spinners.
Of course, no piece on Gastown fashion would be complete without a mention of Fluevog shoes. Now a huge, global brand, John Fluevog got his start in Gastown in the 1970′s and his flagship store makes its home there today at 65 Water Street. (Check out pictures from the 2010 Fox, Fluevog & Friends shoe show at MOV here.)
Love shopping in Gastown? Please share your picks for great local fashion below!