Vintage POP places a new premium on used clothing

Pop-up shops become increasingly popular in Montreal as shoppers look for unique pieces of clothing at affordable prices. Photo by Caroline Bergoing.

For some, the small retail space might have had an overwhelming musky smell, or might have been off-putting with its stark walls and racks upon racks of clothing. For others, the atmosphere at Montreal’s Vintage POP market reeked purely of nostalgia, provoking excitement in local festival-goers.

Pop-up shops become increasingly popular in Montreal as shoppers look for unique pieces of clothing at affordable prices. Photo by Caroline Bergoing.

A complement to the city’s annual POP Montreal music festival, the pop-up shop boasts quality vintage pieces assembled by some of the most prominent local clothing dealers and collectors, including Soubrette, Red Clementine, Bon Courage and Caesar Pony, to name a few. Expect to find well-loved furs, leather jackets, heavy knits, silk blouses and embellished occasion dresses at the seasonal market.

The vintage scene in Montreal is alive and thriving, its outreach spanning groups of students, professionals, and dedicated collectors alike. The fall market attracts an eclectic mix of customers during its month-long run, some steadfastly dedicated to the “lifestyle,” others just curious hipsters, anxious to find something unique and off-trend.

The domain has experienced an upsurge in popularity in recent years, perhaps due in part to the release of Macklemore’s hit song “Thrift Shop.” The track questions commercialization, endorses a more sustainable, cost effective lifestyle and ultimately focuses on the benefits of wearing used clothing.

“There are a lot of entry points to vintage. For many people, it has many different values,” said event organizer Tessa Smith.

She believes that there are several aspects that can make vintage appealing to shoppers, be they financial, style-oriented, or even ethical. For example, the market boasts lots of vintage furs and skins that are purchased by shoppers who believe that buying used animal fibres is an ethically sound choice, a preferable alternative to buying them new. Not to mention they’ll adequately prepare shoppers for the approaching winter months. Smith says that these, along with heavy knits and ‘90s style flannels, have been the biggest draw during this season’s run.

Photo by Caroline Bergoing

Vintage shopping also has a recycling factor, since shoppers are choosing to re-purpose a used piece of clothing as opposed to buying the new, factory-made items that line the racks at almost all of the city’s retail outlets. Quality and durability are two things that are more difficult to find in everyday shopping destinations, a sharp contrast to the seemingly timeless pieces on display at Vintage POP.

“Here, you can find really well made, beautiful clothing that’s stood up for decades and decades that with a certain quality that you can’t find in ready to wear,” said Smith, explaining that personal style is yet another driving force behind shopping vintage.

The chances of finding a piece that is unique or transformable are much higher when you frequent small markets or thrift stores. The selection is wide, the pieces are affordable, and the pursuit of the perfect item is addictive.

Delving in vintage encourages shoppers to think outside of the box, and embrace their preferences. Design maven Karl Lagerfeld once said that “everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes,” and this pop-up market presents the opportunity to explore sartorial options, support sustainability, and be part of a colorful indie event that is unique to Montreal.

The Vintage POP Market continues until Nov. 30 at 3790 Boulevard St. Laurent.


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