Portobello West and Nifty for Fifty: Spring Indie Design Markets Return

It's a fashion bonanza! Find the latest local, independent designs at Vancouver's Indie spring markets

Credit: Erin Templeton

Expect to find items like the Tomboy Elk Leather Bag in Cinnamon by Erin Templeton at this year’s Nifty for Fifty

Vancouver’s local, independent design scene blossoms in spring with Portobello West and Nifty for Fifty

With spring comes Vancouver’s legendary local and independent design markets: Portobello West (March 24-25) and Nifty for Fifty (April 22). At each event, discerning shoppers can find home decor, accessories, clothing and art all under one roof
The perks of Indie market shopping are many. Each of these preeminent markets seeks out talented, emerging artists and designers, curating a selection that will save you many hours of trolling for goods on Etsy. Often, you also get to chat with the designer, who’s never far from their booth.

If you find a piece you truly love, you can establish a lifetime relationship with a local craftsman. It feels as cool as standing front row at show by a local band before seeing them on Pitchfork‘s Best New Tracks List. Follow up by patting yourself on the back for possessing superior taste. 


Recycled glass pendant by Groovy Glass Girl (left) and Smart Pocket wite v-neck by Thinkhead (right). (Image: Groovy Glass Girl; Thinkhead)

Portobello West, March 24-25

Although Portobello West used to take place once a month, the market recently switched to just four events per year at Creekside Community Centre, making indie shoppers wait before they can stock up on goods by Vancouverites. This season, Portobello West features over 50 designers – some familiar, others part of the market’s fresh crop of artists and designers.

Hot, new talents include Groovy Glass Girl and Thinkhead graphics (pictured above) as well as Golem Designs’ functional and decorative ceramics (pictured below).

Golem Designs’ functional and decorative ceramics (Image: Golem designs)

Nifty for Fifty, April 22

What started as a glorified Garage Sale has evolved into the annual, budget-friendly bash known as Nifty for Fifty at Main Street’s Heritage Hall. As the name implies, all fashion, accessories and trinkets are $50 or less.

With racks of discounted goods by the finest (and usually quite pricey) local designers including Adhesif Clothing, Allison Wonderland, Erin Templeton, Daub & Design, Kdon, Irit Sorokin Designs, Toodlebunny, Floating Gold Iceberg, Bronsino, and more, you’ll want to arrive early.

Daub + Design Spring/Summer 2012 swimwear (left) and Erin Templeton recycled leather bags (right). (Images: Shaine Jones Photography; Erin Templeton)

While it’s hard to single out any one talent at Nifty for Fifty, approaching beach weather has me previewing Daub + Design’s sweet 2012 swimwear.  And who can resist Erin Templeton‘s recycled, handcrafted leather accessories for $50 or less? These usually go for $65 to $425!