Shopping to the beat of the independent artist at One of a Kind Vancouver

Find one-of-a-kind, handmade lux at Vancouver's One of a Kind Show.

Credit: One of a Kind Show / Adhesif

O, the thrill of the hunt! Find one-of-a-kind, handmade lux at Vancouver’s One of a Kind Show and Sale

If you have any lingering doubts about the breadth and depth of the independent, creative talent flourishing in our fair country, the One of a Kind Show and Sale from October 8–11 at the Vancouver Convention Centre will blow them away.

And if you’re a fervent supporter of independent artists or, really, if you just love shopping, the One of a Kind Show is the place to be!

I can barely contain my excitement about the upcoming extravaganza, especially after speaking with show director Sue Lavitt to get a sense of what we can expect. (Spoiler alert: A LOT.)


CitizenSTYLE: Can you give me a general overview of the One of a Kind Show?

Sue Lavitt: The show has been in Toronto for 35 years, in Chicago for 10 years, and this will be its second year in Vancouver. Everything you see there is handmade, coming directly from the maker. The artist is always present to help create a special, personal experience. We encourage you to interact, not just to shop.


How did it go in Vancouver last year? Will there be anything different this year?

SL: There were about 175 exhibitors last year. It was held at BC Place, and the respnose was great! We had about 24,000 visitors.

This year the show will be 30 percent bigger, with over 200 artists from North America. BC Place was a great location for the launching, but this year we are moving to the Vancouver Convention Centre, which is actually built for holding shows. The atmosphere will be more intimate. We are always working to re-create the show and make the experience better.


What can visitors expect from the event?

SL: There is something for everyone, from the 7-year-old to the 70-year-old, and in every price range. You can find anything for anyone and for yourself. Fashion, food, home décor, toys, woodcraft, metal work … Really, just too many to mention.

And you can learn the story behind all the items. They are not mass produced; you won’t find anything like it at the mall. It’s about better quality rather than quantity.

There will also be four specialty “neighbourhoods”: Flavours, which is a massive food section; Rising Star, where we spotlight up-and-coming artists who started their business within the past three years; Green, where you can learn all about sustainable and organic living; and a Fashion District.


How many of the artists are from B.C.?

SL: About 20 percent of participants are Vancouver artists; 10 percent are from the rest of BC. There are many artists from Ontario and a few from Quebec. About 35 percent are from the States. There is a huge group of amazing artists in Seattle and Portland, and there are more from California to New York.

Basically we want to give any independent artists an opportunity to try this market.


How are the exhibitors selected?

SL: It is a rigorous process handled by specific selection committees per category. Besides an application form, applicants have to submit 10 images of their work, studio and proposed booth design. Exhibitors must be the creators. They have to show the jury a step-by-step process of how they make their products.

We aim to provide a nice balance so that there won’t be too many of one type of display. Sometimes we have to reject an application simply because there are too many participants in the category already.

[Gosh, don’t you just love it when all the legwork is done for you?]

Why do you think it’s important to support independent artists?

SL: There is something really special about things that are made by someone. You’re not only getting that item, you’re getting a story.

Not only are you supporting the local economy, you are also getting something that is completely unique, something you can’t find anywhere else. You don’t get that rush until you buy something that is really precious, not anything disposable or easily replaceable.


Any must-see vendors or sections this year?

SL: Definitely check out our school section. Students from Emily Carr, Vancouver Island University, Kwantlen, Vancouver Community College, Kooetnay School of Arts and Langara will be there to showcase their artwork. We are trying to help them find their market. It’s a really nice, fun section. You will find things that are completely new and different.


More on One of a Kind Vancouver

Check out the full list of exhibiting artisans, event schedules and other show details here. And parents, rejoice! Free childcare is provided on site.

Also, don’t forget to sign up for their amazing Girls Night Out contest!