Block Party: Despite the economic downturn, business on Vancouver’s West 4th Avenue is thriving

A glut of direct-to-consumer brands have set up brick-and-mortar locations on the block between Yew and Arbutus.

A glut of direct-to-consumer brands have set up brick-and-mortar locations on the block between Yew and Arbutus

1. Poppy Barley

The newest addition to the block, the Edmonton-based ethical-fashion shoe brand now is slinging its slingbacks from a bright-and-airy new retail space.

2. Mejuri

First launched as a DTC jewelry brand, Mejuri now runs physical showrooms across North America; the Vancouver location shows off all its modern-minimalist wares (gold chains, refined rings, classic hoops) and offers piercing services, too.

3. Lululemon

Of course the grandmother of athleisure has a massive presence in Kits thanks to its Cornwall HQ. And now the West 4th location is offering fitness classes in its in-house studio (as well as demos of its high-tech at-home workout tool, the Mirror, if exercising among the masses isn’t your thing).

4. John Fluevog

If Poppy Barley’s tastefully simple footwear isn’t your bag, turn to Vancouver legend John Fluevog for shoes with some soul. The iconoclastic designer has been making wild and wonderful kicks for all genders since the ’70s, and the pink-on-pink Kits shop is fittingly bombastic.

5. Knix

Vancouver-based Knix got its start peddling sleek, stylish period underwear online, and has since expanded both its wares (find swimwear, workout gear, maternity duds and ultra-comfortable pajamas) and its retail footprint. Knix moved into this twice-the-size address from a previous Kits location down the street, and recently cut the ribbon on a Robson Street location as well.

6. Frank and Oak

Frank and Oak has its roots in Montreal, but the two-year-old Kitsilano location is the proud Vancouver flagship. Find sustainably made basics here (denim, striped tees) as well as fun seasonal offerings (floral-print puffer jackets). 

7. 49th Parallel Café and Lucky’s Doughnuts

The cafe? and doughnut shop is a long-standing anchor of the ever-changing block—the glassed-in patio is ideal for taking a mid-shopping- spree break with an old-fashioned and high-octane Americano.