Interested in giving your wardrobe a facelift while helping out the environment? This week I want to share with you some of the greatest hidden treasures of Montreal, our thrift stores! With finals just around the corner, we could all use some retail therapy, and what better way to indulge than to do so in sustainable way? By buying from thrift stores you’re not only finding unique (and cheap) pieces, but also reducing waste and recycling – one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, am I right?
There are a HUGE variety of stores in the downtown area for every style taste. From $5 all-you-can-carry bags to higher end vintage boutiques – I’m going to give you the run down on my top 5 favourite second hand sources. I hope you’ll be inspired to tackle the enormous –admittedly sometimes smelly – piles which await you, you’ll be surprised at the number of cool things you can find!
I’ve included websites with their store hours and locations.
Without further ado, the top 5 thrift stores within 5km of campus:
Accès 1165 rue Crescent, Montréal (Qc) H3G 1T3 Fringues Friperie : RDC | T. 514 866-9941, poste 515 Métro : Lucien-L’Allier ou Guy-Concordia
Run by the YWCA Montreal, this shop is situated on the second floor of their building (1355 Bd René-Lévesque O). It’s a well laid out, clean store with some great pieces of higher end vintage clothing. The great thing is that it’s funded by Employment-quebec and through its clothing boutiques (there is a non-vintage store too), the Fringues & Cie program offers women struggling to integrate into the workforce paid work experience and comprehensive training in retail sales and customer service.
This shop is in the heart of the plateau on St Denis, very close to the Mont Royal metro. Surrounded by street art and filled with surrealist art, this place is perfect for the artistically inclined.
Filled to the brim with richly coloured clothing, jewellery, hats, boots and scarves, there isn’t an empty space in the store. Their jewellery is AMAZING; I’ve never seen anything like their collection, and all for reasonable prices (I got a pair of stunning earrings for $10). I would highly recommend even just visiting for the experience!
Okay, this one is a little on the farther side – near Jean Talon Market on St. Denis (but not hard to get to by metro)! Fripe Fabrique one of my favourite vintage stores: it is a beautiful and trendy with tons of cute things. Both times I’ve been there I’ve scored awesome pieces (a delicate lace top for $30 and perfect little black oxfords for $35).
With retro, girly décor (and cupcakes!), this place is a perfect haven in dreary November. Although more expensive, there are some amazing and truly unique vintage pieces. They also have a really cool program called Project Re-Fab explaining how to upcycle and revamp your closet with the clothes you already have. They have workshops and online tutorials. Check it out!
Get ready for a major throwback to the 1940’s-80’s when you step into Kitsch’n Swell. With cowboy boots, old record players, vintage flasks and pipes, Elvis memorabilia, vintage books and magazines, and clothes, it feels like you’ve flown back in time. Enjoy the friendly company of their laid-back employees and enjoy some retro music as you browse the many shelves and racks of Kitsch’n Swell. With some digging you can find some pretty awesome stuff (once I found a sweet set of teacups with all the characters of the breakfast club’s faces on them). Great for decorating your apartment/res room or yourself!
Where do I begin? Walking in through a cascading tunnel of fabric and ornaments, you’re greeted by warm tea and enveloped into the magical cozy land that is Eva B.
Clothes, jewellery, a café, accessories, ornaments, costumes you name it, they’ll have it. They accept many donations so they have TONS of variety for very low prices.
They have an infamous clothing pile which is all-you-can-carry for $5 (I’ve heard it may have to be removed because it’s a health hazard – can anyone confirm?), and their legendary halloween costume collection which includes inexpensive rentals for the 8 different parties you need to attend. A must see while here in Montreal, make sure to stop by next time you’re on St. Laurent.
A final note: as the weather gets colder, there are many people here in Montreal who are not as fortunate as we are to have a warm clothes and a cozy home to come home to at night. If you have extra clothes that you don’t wear, please donate them to someone in need. The Salvation Army and Value Village are always looking for donations, so make this a season of giving and donate your old clothes.
Thanks for reading! Comment and let us know your favourite second hand stores! Follow us to keep updated on ways to be sustainable here in Montréal. Good luck with finals!