DuWest Vintage has a vibe that makes you feel like you're walking onto the set of a film. The shop is on the still-kind-of-quiet stretch of Dundas West near Brock, and lovely French background music sets the mood. Shoes, clothing and accessories are scattered about DuWest Vintage as though they belong to someone who lives there.
When I visit, the front door is flung open, and there's no one around, as far as I can tell. I poke around, making friends with the clothes. There are delightful vintage mum bum jeans, straight out of the '90s, for $10, in either floral or nautical stripes. Other standouts include nerd-girl Mary Janes by Cole Haan ($30) and a pair of perfectly-scuffed Doc Martens ($75).
It turned out co-owner Jose Paulino had just popped across the street for an espresso. We sit on the benches outside the door in the dusty summer heat, and he tells me a bit about the birth of DuWest Vintage.
"We opened here because it's a natural progression of the development of this area. This is the new area." Ossington and Queen West have so many overpriced little shops, but Dundas West is undergoing such a slow gentrification process (praise the lords) that there's still plenty of room for additions in that regard. DuWest opened three months ago, and it fits into the neighbourhood perfectly.
"The main point is to be cheap. We want to keep it low-budget and accessible." When it comes to stock, DuWest is much more concerned about fashion and inherent sartorial power than the decade in which a garment happens to have been constructed. The shop is completely unpretentious, with a basket of $5 vintage belts in the corner. And vintage rock tees are about $10 to $12, including a rad Pink Floyd one.
Clearly, I have a massive crush on DuWest Vintage. It has a beautiful personality, and the clothes are really fun. But who made up the term 'DuWest' anyway? This is sort of like having a crush on someone called Akaky Akakievich. I have absolutely no patience for the merging of words in this way unless it actually works, and this is not one of those times. Stop trying to make fetch happen , DuWest proponents.
Naming aside, this boutique is definitely worth a visit. This is one of the best new vintage shops in the city , especially if you're into whack clothing with a little charm involved. Be warned, though, they're cash only.
Photos by Jesse Milns