Amidst growing cultural prosperity, Montréal is becoming one of the most important cities in the fashion world today. Montréal boasts a thriving fashion scene, from sprawling thrift stores to chic pop-ups. With factories shut down, deliveries delayed, and travel plans canceled due to the pandemic, many fashion businesses are suffering financial distress. The deterioration of Montréal’s fashion industry will have a severe impact on the city’s economy and reputation as a cultural hub. The fate of Montréal’s fashion scene is uncertain, but supporting local brands can help rescue this scene from a sad fate. Montréal’s fashion industry needs help, if you’re looking for new threads, try shopping locally. Here are four Montréal-based brands that are totally worth your PayPal pennies.
Born in 2009, Dime has become a Canadian streetwear staple. Known for its 90s-style hip-hop/skating aesthetic, Dime offers a collection of hoodies, shirts, sweatpants, and ripstop pullovers. Merging 90s cultural nostalgia with contemporary design, Dime has developed a cult following… and for good reason! On June 5th, Dime reopened the doors at their Montréal store and donated the proceeds from both their physical and online store to @hoodstock_mtlnord: an organization that helps fight racism and empowers youth within Montréal. They also gave to @pour3points: a training program for sports coaches to support youth from low-income communities. Even more impressive, Dime donated all their earnings on the weekend of July 7th to Interligne: a first response center that provides information and services to those seeking resources regarding sexual orientation and gender diversity. This initiative also supported the Montréal Sexual Assault Center.
“It is time to put an end to [sexual assault] and to promote the unlearning of behaviours associated with these mindsets, and to teach ourselves what true inclusivity really is,” the brand proclaimed via Instagram. Dime’s sense of purpose and responsibility to give back to the community, even in difficult financial times, is inspiring— and their looks are pretty sick, too!
2) Tea You
As we transition from summer to fall, comfortable wardrobe staples like hoodies and sweatpants are at the top of our shopping list. For fashion followers, it is likely that Tea You’s après sport fleece suit is taking over your Instagram feed. Seen on mega influencers like Emma Leger and Jen Ceballos, Tea You is making a splash in the female streetwear industry. It is no secret that the streetwear industry is male dominated, with leading brands like Supreme, Kith and Stüssy created by men, primarily for men. Founded by visionary Tiffany Youssef, Tea You stands as a reminder that the streetwear game does not have to be a boys club. What sets this online retailer apart from other trending labels is that all their clothes are made from organic cotton and bamboo, which is perfect for the eco-conscious trendsetter. According to HYPEBAE, Tea You creates all their fleeces in Montréal using only organic and sustainable fibers. In addition to the label’s popular après sports tracksuit, they also sell unique bikinis with metal detailing and simple wardrobe basics — all made from sustainable material, of course.
Let’s give a round of applause to Selfish Swimwear, the Montréal-based swimwear brand dedicated to inclusivity and sustainability. Founder and designer Naomie Caron devotes herself to creating high quality, eco-conscious swimwear for all body types. The Montréal native prioritizes being ethical by using recycled fibers to reduce environmental harm as a result of clothing production. Caron also keeps the production process local, so that she can create local jobs and ensure high-quality labour standards.
In addition to championing environmental ethics and fair labour standards, Caron’s other mission is to promote body positivity. For many, bathing suit shopping can be a brutal experience, especially in Canada, so, the options for swimwear are often limited to petite, often unrealistic sizes. Selfish Swimwear’s wide range of sizes and styles allow Canadian women to find swimwear they can feel confident in, reminding women that stylish bathing suits are not just for Victoria’s Secret models.
Raised by Wolves put Montréal on the worldwide streetwear map. Founded by visionary Pete Williams in 2008, the brand quickly became synonymous with all things cool. The brand specializes in high-quality garments and accessories, such as fleece pullovers, graphic tees, sweaters, joggers, and hats. Something about the combination of bold colours, soft fabric, and oversized fits makes you want to wear their sweat-suits not just to bed, but in public too. Raised by Wolves’ recent Spring 2020 Lookbook is the brand’s most unique drop yet. The drop features contemporary bottom-up shirts, multi-colour shorts and corduroy jackets — which are perfect for autumn!
Raised by Wolves has also spent the past few months using their products to advocate for social change. Following the wave of protests that erupted worldwide after the murder of George Floyd, Raised by Wolves released a line of t-shirts called “Fuck Racism Tees”. The brand donated 100% of the profits from these shirts to Indigenous and Black-owned charities, such as the Black Legal Action Centre, Minwaashin Lodge, Odawa Native Friendship Centre, and Inuuqatigiit Centre. These are clothes that make you feel comfortable and socially conscious at the same time.
As Montréalers, we are fortunately able to support local brands that prioritize sustainability and inclusivity. Even though life on campus may feel a little different this fall semester, these brands will help you look and feel like your most amazing self.