A Fashion Tour of Vancouver
Vancouver is a laid-back city which has been on the ‘Worst Dressed’ lists on numerous occasions. It’s probably true that, considering the extremes of weather, the locals are likely to choose practical outerwear over stylish designer dresses but who decides what is fashionable anyway?! Rule following, trend-led fashion is too obvious for the great Canadian designers and well-dressed people on the streets of Vancouver right now.
Arguably Lululemon is Vancouver’s most successful fashion brand. This yoga and sportswear brand is worn by health and style conscious women the world over and is a favourite of celebrities. If you love Lululemon or are simply interested in the evolution of design, then head straight for the Lululemon Lab on Powell Street. It is one of two concept stores (the other is in New York) in which new designs and ideas are constantly being developed in reaction to the people who visit the stores and the current vibe and mood of Vancouver itself.
The in-house creatives are constantly on the shop floor wanting to speak with customers about their views on the clothes, their wants and ideas. This is a unique opportunity to influence, in a small but significant way, the design decisions of a major player in fashion today.
Front and Company
Front and Company is one of the most popular names on the funky Mid Main area of Vancouver. Established in 1993, it has expanded into three large shops which sell a quirky mix of new and carefully curated ‘consigned’ vintage clothing such as wedding dresses, jewellery and accessories.
This area is a particularly good place to find independent shops and boutiques. There’s a lovely community feel here and Front and Company, with their legendary window displays is the centrepiece of the neighbourhood.
Pacific Centre Mall
This downtown shopping centre is where locals will spend a Saturday afternoon having lunch, coffee and indulging in the hunt for a perfect outfit for that night. You will find a pleasing mix of worldwide high street names, Canadian brands and designer dresses from mid to high end names such as Ted Baker.
Canada’s luxury department store, Holt Renfrew, is situated on Dunsmuir Street. If beautiful designer dresses and distinctive handbags are the items you crave then the friendly staff in this elegant store will be happy to help.
Think of a designer and the chances are Holt Renfrew will stock it. Every type of decadence will be catered for refined but unpretentious surroundings.
It’s true that fashion can be frivolous and fickle. However, it can also have its origins in tradition, local culture, the weather and love. Granted Clothing is a home grown, family-run shop that is well worth a visit if you prefer slow, sustainable style over designer dresses and bling.
The hand-knitted garments are made locally using techniques passed down within the family, the designs are sometimes surprising updates of traditional patterns, so don’t expect designer wedding dresses. The brand is influenced by cultures from all over the world but is anchored by Canadian roots. Fashion trends are alluded to but never taken seriously.