The best of Portobello West

Eight local vendors not to miss at Vancouver's Portobello West market.

Eight local vendors not to miss at the Portobello West market at the Rocky Mountaineer Station

Driving Vancouver’s fashion scene these days is the European-inspired market called Portobello West, where on the last Sunday of each month you’ll find one-of-a-kind products, fashion-forward clothing designs, unique artwork and eco-friendly designs.

Celebrating its third anniversary on August 30, 2009, you won’t want to miss the sensory exploration of the market’s noteworthy vendors.

Portobello West deets

When: Last Sunday of every month

Time: 12–6 p.m.

Where: Rocky Mountaineer Stn, Vancouver

Getting there: Free parking, or take the FREE shuttle from the Main St Skytrain Stn.

Cost: $2 admission

More info: Website

Vancouver manager Stephanie Anderson lives for market day: “I love coming into the empty Rocky Mountaineer Station at 9 a.m. to set up and then looking around at the amazing hustle and bustle of designers and customers when we open at 12 p.m. There is something so special about seeing everyone working together to create the Portobello West market!”

Before you hit the market, learn a little bit more about some participating local and eco-friendly companies and the designers behind them:


Sticky Lemon

Sticky Lemon Sisters Alia and Farzana Sunderji know how frustrating unwanted body hair is, but products on the market were too harsh for Alia’s skin. So the duo tweaked an old family recipe to get the job done, creating an all-natural and effective hair removal wax.

Sticky Lemon was born of a personal need but also satisfied a great environmental commitment that resounds throughout the entire product: “At Sticky Lemon we’re good friends with Mother Nature—and to keep her home and our environment beautiful, all the items in the waxing kit are completely reusable,” assures Alia.


Note + Emote

Note + Emote Technology can help us reduce our carbon footprint in many ways, but Lolita Cho notes how there is something so personal about receiving a handwritten greeting card. Tread lightly and spread the love with Note + Emote’s line of greeting cards and stationary that care about the environment.

The unique aspect of the designs is their versatility: “Our Number and Emotion greeting cards are a system of generic greeting cards enhanced with decorative elements. This modular system allows one card to be used for different occasions.”

Made mostly from 100% post-consumer fibre, Lolita’s stapleless notebooks and glueless notepads are great, too.


Tsitah Threads

Tsitah Threads Nicole’s fashionista daughter has a clear preference when it comes to her accessories. No sunhats for this 1 ½ year old—she prefers a bandana, just like mom’s. Tisitah Threads carries a line of summer bandanas that are a hit for babies and toddlers, created out of owner Nicole’s passion for the outdoors and love for her daughter, for whom the company is named (Tsi means “love” in Cherokee). The bandanas are easy to take on and off and adjust as the child grows with a simple Velcro strap.

A local factory sews the designs in small batches, satisfying Nicole’s commitment to sustainability.



hank and Cheef It’s almost time for fall and its unfortunate sidekick, the cold. Keep your drips dry with an eco-chic alternative to disposable tissues—a Hank&Cheef. As designer Regula Appenzeller points out, “With over 700,000 tonnes of waste being produced in Canada by disposable tissue products each year, Hank&Cheef’s are the obvious choice for stifling your sniffles and looking stylish too!” 

Organic cotton is sourced ethically in Turkey, and the prints are sewn right here in Vancouver, B.C. Handkerchiefs are no longer just for grandpa anymore as this unique line of products begs the question, do you need a tissue for that?


Revamped By Jenn

Alberta-native Jenn Kyle came to Vancouver to attend school for furniture upholstery, and found inspiration in the many high-quality fabric samples thrown out when a fabric is discontinued. Revamped By Jenn sells funky brooches, clutches and a variety of bags that all have a vintage warmth to their design.

Jenn downsized from furniture to accessories given her space limitations: “I found that it’s hard to do upholstery from home when your sewing room is a cubby above a Murphy bed! Not kidding.” Welcome fall with Revamped by Jenn’s eco-friendly, vintage chic designs.


Sassy Vintage

Many designers successfully launch their businesses at Portobello West, including Mel Mason who’s been an icon at the market since it began three years ago. In her current venture, Sassy Vintage, Mel has a flair for the old and glamorous: “I carry quality vintage items from the 1920’s to the glorious 1980s, including purses, hats, belts—and I am famous for my boots.”

At her booth you’ll also find Waiting For Luna, her line of necklaces, made from upcycled antique materials. “My motto is ‘Welcome to a world of dress up and fun at Sassy Vintage.’ I love dressing people up and making them feel good about themselves.”


Elroy Apparel

Elroy Apparel Innovative design, a monochromatic palette and strong silhouettes describe the bold women’s clothing line of Elroy Apparel. Designer Leanne McElroy makes a statement that it’s okay to use eco-friendly materials without sacrificing style: “I play with classic shapes and styles making them more modern, and luxuriously basic—yet anything but.”

Elroy Apparel satisfies a niche in the market for stylish clothing made of organic fibres that is designed to be “sophisticated street wear for a contemporary health-conscious woman who cares not only what she looks like but what story her clothing carries.”



SemperNova When Maris McDonald enters a second-hand furniture store, she sees inspiration. Tired, but functional and sturdy furniture and home décor are rescued and restyled into unique window frames, interesting tables, and playful chairs and stools.

The inspiration and warmth of this line come from the designer’s philosophy that people need to find beauty inside themselves: “Beauty comes from within and a little bit of history, life experience and signs of time all add interest and character to tell the story.” Her furniture’s inward beauty is brought forward in sustainable style you’ll want to bring home.

See you at the market!


Jessica Reiss

Jessica Reiss is an ecofashion blogger who is inspired by West Coast organic living and local sustainable style.

ecocessories, her line of sterling silver and recycled bead jewelry will be available at Portobello West on Sunday, August 30. You can also bring Jessica old, broken, or unwanted jewelry at the market to participate in ecocessories’ jewelry recycling service.