Let’s talk thrifting. In light of the recent and hugely successful Montreal climate strike, sustainability has become a hot topic for the eco-conscious. While recycling, limiting meat consumption and being waste-mindful are significant steps, the impact of what you wear is often overlooked. The fashion industry accounts for almost 8 percent of global climate change and is the fourth largest CO2 emitter of any industry. A key factor in this environmental degradation? Our consumption patterns. The global population consumes 100 billion pieces of clothing annually. The beast of production feeding this global demand is typically called ‘fast-fashion’; cheap clothing produced by mass-market retailers as a response to rapidly changing trends. It may be convenient, but these items have a short life cycle, getting replaced almost as soon as they are purchased.
I’ll be the first to acknowledge how tempting fast-fashion can be. Clothing websites flood my inbox with tantalizing offers for hot new fall sweaters under $20. I won’t say I haven’t purchased from these sites for the instant gratification of following the latest Insta-trends, but it always strikes me how infrequently I wear what I’ve bought. Instead, I find myself repeatedly wearing thrifted pieces that seem to go with everything. After all, good fashion is timeless, and the clothes of decades-past can often be the most valuable additions to one’s wardrobe. Especially in a garment-oriented city like Montreal, it’s possible to look stylish, be environmentally conscious, and not break the bank! Here are some of Montreal’s best thrift stores. Go forth and shop; make Greta proud.
RUSE (St. Laurent)
RUSE might be your new best friend. This spot is a consignment store, meaning they resell used luxury items at a price more suitable to the student budget. The small boutique is full of beautiful pieces at prices that warrant a double-take. Want someone to ask you where you got that fantastic shirt at an affordable price, without contributing to environmental destruction? Shop RUSE.
Calling all eco-conscious hypebeasts: LNF is a hotbed for trendy used items from the 80’s and 90’s that have cycled back into your Instagram feeds. I’ve hit this goldmine several times over, and scored a vintage Prada belt. Shop LNF if you’re into vintage streetwear that’s high quality and well-priced, and you might come across a designer item hiding in the racks. LNF also has accessories perfect for breathing new life into a boring, old outfit. Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose!
Eva B (St. Laurent)
This one might be well known, but no Montreal vintage lover can go without this classic St. Laurent spot. Part second-hand clothing, furniture, and art store, part restaurant/cafe; you can spend hours here going up and down their tight staircases and browsing the eclectic selection. This place has everything you’re looking for: cool vintage tees, Levis jeans, Juicy tracksuits and 90’s blazers. The best part? It’s dirt-cheap. Oh, and maybe that free popcorn they give you as you walk in.
Annex (Mile End)
Annex’s selection is not entirely pre-worn, but they have a growing and continually changing vintage clothing section to sustainably spice up your wardrobe. Their focus is 90’s pieces, so look no further for Reformation-esque floral dresses and Harley Davidson tees that aren’t too hard on the wallet. The store is cute and fun to browse, and they get new stock every day! This one’s a treasure, trust me.
Citizen Vintage (Mile End)
Mile End is a treasure trove of vintage clothing locations, and Citizen is one of its biggest gems. A women-owned and run operation (slay!), the store offers stylish alternatives to fast fashion brands. They carefully curate their selection; so, unlike other thrift spots, you won’t have to sift through clothing piles to find a piece you love–it will probably happen before you pass the window display. Citizen is an adorable shop that only provides ethically sourced and sustainably made clothing pieces. Take your mom there, I’m sure she’ll love it.