Shop Local: Made in Montreal

Fashionistas and heavy spenders heading to Montreal will have no trouble finding pieces worth writing home about; the city being of the creative type, it’s no wonder so many designers set up shop in this part of Canada. Stroll along Boulevard Saint-Laurent and Notre-Dame Ouest for some of the best shopping in Montreal, with gender-defying, high quality, and unique pieces awaiting.

Marché Bonsecours, Montréal, QC H2Y, Canada
The Bonsecours Market is hard to miss, whether you are walking around Montréal’s historic center or looking at the skyline from the harbor. A silver dome caps the long building, which dates from 1844 and was modeled on Dublin’s Customs House. It looks more like a stately civic building than a market, and in fact it was Montréal’s city hall for a while, as well as the seat of Canada‘s parliament for one session. After serving as the central market of the city for nearly a century, it closed in 1963 and was largely abandoned until 1992, when it reopened as the home of a visitors’ center for Montréal’s 350th anniversary. Today it houses a dozen or so boutiques featuring works by local designers, as well as a few restaurants that make for good pit stops on a day of sightseeing.
5135 Saint Laurent Boulevard
With local brands like Barilà, Betina Lou, Uranium and Eve Gravel, Unicorn is probably the one-stop shop for all things Montreal designers. The shop itself, cleverly located on Montreal‘s biggest shopping street and in the heart of hipster, artsy Mile End district -- that sometimes feels more like Brooklyn than Montreal --, is a work of art and immediately makes shoppers feel at ease. The owners, Amélie and Mélanie, created a unique minimalist atmosphere where their passion for clothes truly prevails, and where their own individual style perfectly mix. The store recently celebrated its 5-year anniversary, and luckily for us fashionistas, the adventure is nowhere near over. Here’s to 5 more years of wonderful shopping!
3670 Boul St-Laurent, Montréal, QC H2X 2V4, Canada
Castle Ho’s motto, the owner of lovely boutique 1861, is quite simple. “Women who love being women and dressing the part.” Such is the premise of her work, and it definitely transposes into her boutique. The store is decorated in what seems to be a vintage fashionista’s dream: airy space, high ceilings,Vvictorian inspiration, and soft eggshell, champagne and pastel pink hues everywhere. No boys allowed! The multi-brand store focuses on feminine, timeless pieces first and foremost, and incorporates up-and-coming designers into the mix, like UK-based Emily and Finn and Torontonians Pink Martini, along with Montrealers lines Coccolily and Arti Gogna. Don’t be fooled by the perfect, fairy-tale decor; the prices are more than fair and very few things are over $100 in the store. Guilt-free, stylish shopping? I like.
2081 Rue de la Montagne, Montréal, QC H3G 1Z8, Canada
“She’s an original yet timeless Québec fashion designer—a rare combination. Marie Saint Pierre is known for using unusual fabrics with soft colors as well as black and white. Her designs feel really classic. I stop in when I need something chic and comfortable,” says Nathalie Bondil, head curator at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
56 Rue Saint Viateur O, Montréal, QC H2T 4K6, Canada
You better have more than just $20 in your pocket when you visit Annex Vintage because it’s assuredly going to cost you more than that - not necessarily because it’s an overpriced place, but because the items are so thoroughly curated and well presented that it’s pretty much impossible to simply walk away. The hipster-friendly thrift store offers a selection of classic retro clothing, shoes, and accessories from anywhere between the 1950s to the 1990s at very fair prices for the quality you’re getting. Nothing is ratty, deteriorated or even in remotely bad shape. The owners take great pride in their selection and they are very passionate about their business, fashion in general, and sustainable living. If you like something, buy it. Everyone knows about this place, so consequently the turnover is quite high; items don’t usually stay around long enough to gather dust.
65 Rue Saint Viateur E, Montréal, QC H2T 1A7, Canada
Welcome to the teeny-tiny atelier of the Montreal-based brand, famous for their iconic crew-neck sweatshirts with a bow. Talk about a souvenir shirt that is neither cheesy (looking at you, moose t-shirts found everywhere in Old-Montreal) nor cheap-looking. Most female Montrealers I know pretty much live in this sweatshirt come wintertime. A high-quality staple that will certainly make for a great conversation starter back home.
160 Rue Saint Viateur Est
Did you know this is a Montreal-based brand? This menswear maker, specializing in shirts and suits hip professionals actually like to wear, has conquered indie circles all over the world with its web store, but over the past couple of years it has also opened flagship stores in Vancouver and Toronto. The Montreal store was the original, though, and you can soak up that cred in a stylish wood-and-iron shop on Mile End’s Rue Saint-Viateur. You’ll find Frank & Oak’s signature check shirts in both long- and short-sleeve, as well as suits and accessories like ties and a beautiful range of house-designed bags, whose combination of rugged canvas and thick leather has made them a favorite among women, too. Photo: Jocelyn Reynolds
4177 Rue Saint-Denis, Montréal, QC H2W 2M7, Canada
In this era of responsible consumerism and chemical-free environments, a lot of brands have begun to manufacture products to appeal to the “green” consumer. But what about brands that have been doing this for years? Aveda is one of them. They have been at it since 1978, and they are nowhere near finished. The company’s roots lie in Ayurveda, the Indian healing tradition based on the knowledge of life and the interconnectedness of all things—body, mind, and emotion. Aveda’s mission, simply put, is to associate beauty with environment and with well-being. To care for the world we live in just as much as we take care of ourselves. Aveda is constantly evolving. For example, they were one of the first companies to stop adding parabens to their products, and to aim to increase the use of naturally-derived ingredients. And, as a bonus, Aveda is the first beauty company doing its manufacturing with 100% certified wind power.
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