The Toronto Vintage Clothing and Textile Show


For the last 18 years vintage dealers from across the city have set up tables at the CNIB Centre to participate in the Annual Toronto Vintage Clothing and Textile Show.

I just moved to Toronto and I figured the biggest annual show would be a good place to get a feel of the vintage in my new city. Old things for sale are different in every city and many of the dealers that I have encountered in the past do rummage second-hand. It was an education to be amongst the fashion aficionados, veteran antique dealers, and crafts enthusiasts for a sale of genuinely one-of-a-kind vintage pieces.

Most of the sale’s vendors have been in the business for a long time and also have their own stores, online shops, or sell exclusively at other antique markets or vintage shows. I’ve always found dealers to know absolutely everything there is to know about old clothes, and have a desire to spread that arcane knowledge –- the sort that could tell you the history of Bakelite plastic, or recount the story behind a 1930s bathing costume. I was able to speak to June Troy, the founder and organizer behind this event, who put it best: “if it weren’t for the vintage dealers who do what they do, this wouldn’t be the show that it is.” Considering just how much this show has grown since it started with only twenty vendors in the Enoch Turner Schoolhouse, I believe these are words to take to heart.

Julia Wright from Judith’s Adventures
Vintage hat pins rose to popularity in the late Victorian age. The older ones are quite long in order to hold the fashionably large (and quite heavy) hats of the time in place over the bun in a woman’s hair. The pinheads themselves were also fashion statements, usually heavily ornamented with jewels. During the suffragette movement of the early 20th century, women were forced to cut down the length of their hatpins in the fear that they might be used as weapons. This led to smaller hat sizes, like the cloche hats seen in the 1920s. Even if hat pins aren’t as necessary today, they are still a popular seller among vintage fans. Part of the reason, according to Julia is that “they just look so beautiful when on display, like a bouquet of flowers.”
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