Exploring underground vintage pop-up shops

Shopping at the Good Vibes Vintage Pop-Up Shop. Photo by Sandra Hercegova

Founding member of Psychic City offers a wide range of vintage clothing at affordable prices

In the basement of a building in the Plateau Mont Royal, down a staircase lined with handwritten signs and graffiti on the walls, once a month you’ll find the vintage pop-up shop Good Vibes.

The home for this underground fashion haven is Psychic City, a multidisciplinary arts venue that hosts music, fashion, comedy and film events. One of the venue’s founding members, Paulina Pietruczuk, previously studied fashion design


“Fashion has always been a passion of mine, especially thrifting, recycling clothing and being green,” she said. When her friend suggested she arrange a vintage pop-up shop, Pietruczuk went for it. The most recent shop was open on Sept. 21 from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Psychic City will also be playing host to screenings of Hocus Pocus for Halloween and concerts, to name a few of its upcoming events.

The rented space has a cozy, ambient vibe. It’s lit by yellow and colourful fairy lights that nicely complemented the art on the walls. According to Pietruczuk, the space has been home to artistic events for many years. Before becoming an arts venue, the space was used primarily as a practice space for many local bands. However, its purpose recently shifted to emphasize providing a safe place for artists to be creative, whether it’s playing music, sculpting or painting.

Vintage jeans for only $3 a pair. Photo by Sandra Hercegova

On the day that Good Vibes opened its doors, clothing racks filled with different styles, fabrics and textures lined the room. Garments ranged from furry and oversized to tight and silky. Old, wooden chairs surrounded the clothing racks with a black leather couch placed right in the middle. Vintage denim pieces were neatly laid out on a table. A few recognizable brands, like Adidas, Beyonce’s Ivy Park and even a Toronto Raptors jersey, could be spotted in perfect condition, on sale.

One shopper, Hannah Clifford, changed into the pink culotte pants she found at the pop-up as soon as she bought them. She said she has been invested in thrifting for the past eight years because it’s cheaper than shopping at mainstream retailers. She added that she always finds quality second-hand clothing at these types of shops. “The special thing about thrifting personal collections that are on sale is that you get to see a memoir of [the seller’s] mood and their style,” Clifford said.

Clothes weren’t the only items available either. Spread out over one table was an array of handcrafted jewellry by Montreal-based Rufina Ip. Everything from bracelets to chokers to necklaces could be found in a variety of colours, ranging from pinks and oranges to black and blues.

A burgundy velvet quilted bomber jacket with embroidery styled by Alexa Rhynd. Photo by Sandra Hercegova

Anyone is welcome to sell their clothing at Good Vibes, according to Pietruczuk. This is why Montrealer Alexa Rhynd was able add some of her clothing to the collection just a few days before the shop opened. She said the clothing she brought were items she was ready to let go of and pass on to a new owner.

Rhynd also included a few pieces she had spiced up herself, such as a burgundy velvet quilted bomber jacket. The garment’s deep red is now complemented by a wall embroidery piece sewn on the back which features a beautiful design bordered with gold. She was also selling a pair of painted jeans. “This is the very beginning,” Rhynd said about her attempts at enhancing clothing. “I don’t know what I’m doing yet, but I’ve already changed a lot.”

Thrifting and buying second-hand clothing can be a great way to recycle your wardrobe and be more green, Pietruczuk added. “Why not do it while enjoying music in a creative space,” she said.

For more information about Psychic City and a list of its upcoming events, visit the venue’s Facebook page.

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