Treana Peake, an Alberta–born fashion designer, is the queen of creating and curating ethical gifts. She made her mark in the mid–2000s with Obakki, a high–end sustainable clothing company – and it gained quite the celebrity following (Kate Hudson, for one). In 2020, she shifted the focus of the brand from garments to home products, largely to showcase the work of the many artisans – from Oaxacan potters to Kenyan metalworkers – she met on her travels with the Obakki Foundation, which she launched a few years after starting her label. “For me, it’s really where design and philanthropy meet,” says Peake of the switch to housewares, which now encompasses 65 artisan partners in 11 countries, and a new collaboration with another leading Canadian responsible design brand, Goodee, and the Australian ceramicist Bianca Pintan. When Peake isn’t on the road, she’s in Vancouver, HQ for both the business and the charity. “I love that the people who live here are always thinking critically,” she says. “They keep us, and every other company, in check.”
From a popular Japanese–Italian restaurant to a charming Chinatown plant shop, here are the Alberta–born fashion designer’s top picks on where to go in Vancouver.
Obakki’s office and showroom are right next door to this cozy fusion restaurant in Chinatown; we often come here for after–work cocktails and dinner. It serves amazing Japanese–Italian cuisine – I love the brightness of the fish crudo, and my go–to cocktail is the Dark End of the Street, made with whisky, Cynar and plum wine. I also love the room’s design, inspired by the legendary Hotel Okura in Tokyo.
Red Cat Records
Close to Mount Pleasant, a vibrant and eclectic neighbourhood, I’ll always hit this independent record store – one of Vancouver’s best – so I can pick up some new vinyl. It feels like a true neighbourhood spot: warm and inviting. I especially love the mix of used records and new releases – I recently picked up an older Andrew Bird album that I had been on the hunt for.
For home products, I’m a fan of this delightfully overcrowded family–owned emporium on Pender Street in Chinatown. In addition to housewares and furniture, it has the best plants at the best prices, and the staff are true experts – they seem to know everything about each and every plant.
Le Marché St. George
This non–fussy spot in the family friendly Riley Park neighbourhood is a café, general store and overall community hub. I often go there for the phenomenal coffee, but I love that you can also scoop up a gorgeous piece of pottery by one of my favourite local artisans (and Le Marché St. George co–owner) Janaki Larsen, who will often be sitting outside making her pots.
Arthur Erickson House and Garden
Vancouver was home to the iconic Canadian architect Arthur Erickson and many of his most revered projects can be found right here in the city. His personal sanctuary, where he lived for more than 50 years, is located in Point Grey. While the house is closed to the public, you can go on tours of his garden: A spacious yet secluded space with mature trees and two reflecting ponds.