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New brand expresses PoMo’s inner coolness

Can a T-shirt make Port Moody the coolest suburb in Metro Vancouver? Victoria Petriw and Sydney Van Alstyne sure hope so. They’re the creative force behind Port Moody & Co.
Port Moody & Co.
MARIO BARTEL/THE TRI-CITY NEWS Sydney Van Alstyne (left) and Victoria Petriw love living in Port Moody so much, they've decided to create their own line of Port Moody branded clothing they hope will help create an image for the city that connects with Millennials like themselves.

Can a T-shirt make Port Moody the coolest suburb in Metro Vancouver?

Victoria Petriw and Sydney Van Alstyne sure hope so.

They’re the creative force behind Port Moody & Co., a new lifestyle brand of T-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts and hats that’s also helping brand the city as a cool place to live, hang out in or just visit.

Petriw, 29, and Van Alstyne, 24, both grew up in Coquitlam but they really started to forge their connection with Port Moody when they worked at Osamu Sushi as teenagers. The steady stream of familiar regular customers and happy families from Port Moody that frequented the Coquitlam restaurant gave them a sense of the city as a close-knit community, Petriw said.

Now working in marketing and living in the Suter Brook and Klahanie neighbourhoods, Petriw and Van Alstyne got the idea for boasting about their city about a year ago while running along the inlet.

“We thought this was so incredible,” Petriw said of the expansive views across the water to the mountains, the fresh air and soaring eagles. “You realize you’re so lucky to live in a place like this.”

They let the idea stew for months, a little afraid of the energy and time commitment it might take to make it a reality.

But with the buzz about Port Moody growing thanks to Brewers Row, the arrival of SkyTrain and events like RibFest, the pair sprung into action. 

They built their brand around an anchor theme to express their bond with the city, keeping them rooted in the community they love.

Petriw and Van Alstyne spent weeks shooting photos, first of themselves, then of their “attractive friends.” wearing Port Moody & Co. T-shirts and sweatshirts around town — on the pier at Rocky Point Park, at White Pine Beach, on the floating walkway at Sasamat Lake and on Brewers Row.

They said the project was all about creating a mood that would connect with millennials, like themselves, looking for a cool place to call home.

“Anybody who’s grown up in the suburbs feels defeated by this idea of moving out from home to live downtown,” Petriw said of the growing challenge faced by young adults seeking an affordable home while still enjoying a vibrant, active, urban lifestyle as real estate prices and rents in Vancouver spiral out of reach. “The idea you can offer that in a place that has so much to offer is huge.”

Van Alstyne said Port Moody & Co. ( is more than just boasting about the city as an affordable alternative to downtown living — it’s about creating an identity young adults can relate to.

“It’s about starting a conversation,” she said.

“We’re creating an outlet for people to talk about their association with Port Moody,” Petriw said, adding she’s had people approach her with their stories of growing up in Port Moody when she has worn one of her T-shirts in Vancouver.

With the online shop operating, Petriw and Van Alstyne have been busy feeding their social media channels on Facebook and Instagram with photos of their clothes in action at local hotspots like Caffé Divano, Taps and Tacos, Rocky Point Ice Cream and the breweries. That further strengthens the connection between their brand and the community it’s helping to brand.

“It’s attracting social awareness to other businesses, to promote Port Moody businesses,” Petriw said.

But even as their T-shirts help feed the buzz that’s growing around Port Moody, Petriw and Van Alstyne realize they’re creating a bit of a double-edged sword: They could end up making Port Moody so cool, it isn’t cool anymore.

“We do tend to hold on to the whimsical past of Port Moody,” Petriw said. “Now it’s time to take it mainstream. There’s too much potential here.

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