Crushing on Citizen Vintage

Citizen Vintage is one of our favourite haunts in Montreal—and not just because they act as our unofficial spokeswomen in the city, representing WORN at craft shows and hosting issue launch parties. More than just a shop (and a delightful shop filled with treasures at that), the store also brings fashion-friendly folks together for various events. Partners Brooke Doyle, Rebecca Emlaw, and Lara Kaluza talk to Worn about the value of vintage clothing, the importance of keeping a strong presence in their community, and Indiana Jones’s bow-tie.

Why is it important to shop vintage?

Rebecca: Vintage is a way of life for me now. Fashion is about individuality, and vintage selection can offer that. We never have two of the same pieces on the racks. Vintage is good quality for a good price. And substainability is important to me: vintage clothes practically have a zero carbon footprint, due to the fact that everything is already there.

Lara: Personally, I wear vintage because I find the clothing sold at big brand clothing stores is made so poorly that it falls apart in a few months. Plus, I hate showing up at a party wearing the same thing as someone else—I like that uniqueness vintage pieces give to my wardrobe.

Brooke: It’s pointless to spend your money (whether it’s $20 or $200) on something brand new, only to have it fade, stretch, peel or otherwise deteriorate within days of wear. Even “luxury” brands are just not as well made as they used to be. I trust vintage. I trust that if a leather bag, pair of boots, jacket or sweater has lasted 20 years, it will last another 20. The fact that it’s unlikely you’ll see someone wearing the same garment is just a bonus! It’s more likely you’ll see a cheaply produced newer garment replicating a vintage print or pattern, so why not buy the original?

Why is community involvement so important to you?

Brooke: We really make an effort to diversify our business by collaborating with musicians, artists, and other entrepreneurs.We work really hard to know our neighbors and be supportive of local businesses, the more we extend ourselves to others the more we learn! Citizen Vintage introduced the idea of a “vintage walking map” to the neighborhood, which includes several local vintage shops and so far has been really well received. It’s important to realize there’s strength in numbers.

Rebecca: Life and work is more interesting and fulfilling when you involve your friends and neighbours around you. There is so much great energy in this neighbourhood, it’s hard to resist involvement.

Describe each of your personal styles.

Brooke: I wear whatever I can bike in! I wear a lot of button ups, cardigans, printed dresses, Converse, and flat leather boots.

Lara: I suppose out of the three of us, I like the older vintage, ’50s and ’60s, the most. I like to mix older and newer pieces together. Though at the moment I’m really into the ’90s—I pretty much wear my chunky heel ankle boots and a rotation of little floral dresses everyday.

Rebecca: I love natural fibres and I love classic styles. I like clothing that is tailored and fits well. I’m a curvy girl and I want things to fit in all the right places. Frumpy is not a good look for my shape, so when I shop I look for darts that are well placed, and fabric that has a classic drape.

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Go Go Gaultier Fashion Show!

Like any good journalist, I left the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts’ Jean Paul Gaultier exhibition with few notes on the show, but a page filled with DIY jewellery and clothing ideas.

I’m not a particularly crafty person. My sewing machine has sat broken in my parents’ basement for about two years now, next to a dress I never got around to mending. Yet, standing in the same room as haute couture creations for the first time in my life, I decided I might have it in me to make some Gaultier-inspired creations of my own.

(As it turns out, I don’t. I’d hoped to include a photo of my metal sponge-turned-necklace here, but it’s too embarrassing and the sponge is now sulking under a pile of dirty dishes in my sink.)

I think what inspired my temporary delusion was that many of Gaultier’s materials, particularly in the punk- and urban-inspired portions of the show, were surprisingly accessible. And that’s what makes them so impressive — not just anyone can turn a garbage bag into a dress and scouring pads into wearable jewellery. Huh.

The exhibition features more than 140 outfits from Gaultier’s couture collections and prêt-à-porter lines. Rather than calling it a retrospective, Gaultier considers the show a creation in its own right. A variety of multimedia and photographs accompany the clothing.

Whether you’re a fan of the designer or not, it really is incredible to stand with your nose inches away from pieces that took hundreds, sometimes thousands, of hours to create by hand. Even to someone with my very limited knowledge of haute couture, the beauty and craftsmanship of the pieces is breathtaking.
(Also fun: the mannequins have moving faces and occasionally speak.)

The show does a good job of tracing the designer’s creative development alongside significant shifts in societal norms. I particularly liked the section that examines blurring gender roles and features skirts and corsets for men.

If you want to catch The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk, it’s at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts until October 2. After that, it will travel to the Dallas Museum of Art and then to the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco, before going to Madrid in 2012.

text by Jaclyn Irvine
photography by Lindsey Fast

Fashion POP Was Cool

Last Wednesday I rolled into Montreal after a seven-hour trip, with just 20 minutes to drop off my bags and change into clothes that weren’t wrinkled and smelling like Megabus before running to the Rialto Theatre.

Needless to say, I was feeling a little self-conscious about attending POP Montréal’s annual Fashion POP show in this state, but after seeing WORN’s preview of the six emerging designers’ work, no way I was going to miss a chance to see those clothes in person.

I didn’t envy the judging panel (which included WORN’s Emily Raine and last year’s winner Angie Johnson), as every collection was incredibly impressive but each so different from the last. How do you compare the fun and whimsy of Catherine Durocher’s Prototype—which included a bright cartoon-like fox in the collar of a dress and an owl’s face in the back of a hood—to the clothes of Market Market, which were beautiful in their sheer simplicity and lack of unnecessary detailing?

Winner Natasha Thomas struck the perfect balance between these two extremes: she worked with simple, classic pieces (primarily trench coats), but turned them on their head with unexpected cut-outs, exaggerated shapes and surprising lengths. Hers was the collection that made the woman sitting next to me whisper, “I want to own all of that,” into my ear as the last model left the runway. And I must confess, fantasies of playing Inspector Gadget or Sherlock Holmes while wearing her trenches have been running through my head since Wednesday.

Congratulations to Natasha for winning the $1,000 prize, a $500 gift certificate from Le Chateau and (most exciting, in my biased opinion) a feature in Issue 12 of WORN Fashion Journal. We’re all looking forward to working with you!

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Book Review: Closet Confidential (Style Secrets Learned the Hard Way)

I always wear white after Labour Day, my shoes rarely match my bag, and I’ll throw on some “plastic shizzz” whenever the mood strikes. Fashion rules are boring. What gives someone the authority to tell a girl what should or shouldn’t be in her closet? Winona Dimeo-Ediger understands this. In Closet Confidential, she gives practical, down-to-earth fashion advice but never deigns to tell readers what they should or shouldn’t be wearing. She discusses general rules and shares her personal likes and dislikes, but throughout, she encourages readers to break these rules and forge a style of their own.

Closet Confidential is essentially my friend Kristen in book form. In high school, I would never shop without her. She had an eclectic yet classy style, and a knack for seeing what would look good on others. Whether we were at Value Village or the mall, Kristen would shove me into change rooms with piles of clothes I wouldn’t even consider on my own.

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