In Vintage We Trust
In Vintage We Trust turned online success into a storefront, opening its doors to the public December 2014. Chantal Varela and Josh Roter live, breathe, and revel in vintage clothing. They chose Parkdale , not only because it's the only area that's affordable enough for entrepreneurs to take risks, but also because it embodies their vision of the store -- unique items that are truly one of a kind.
Varela and Roter do vintage differently. They're dedicated to men's collectible vintage from the past century, and don't gouge the market by overpricing garments. Most of the items in the store are under $100.
In Vintage We Trust launched in 2010 as an eBay store, and quickly gained popularity. The majority of their online customers are international. Only three per cent are Canadian, and most are in B.C. Varela thinks that's because Canadians like their brick and mortar shopping, and want to touch and look at a garment for themselves.
To Varela and Roter, vintage is more than just clothing, it's a bigger statement on the musical and pop cultural movement of that time, and the iconic moments that defined it.
The focus on menswear is intentional. Women's vintage tends to be broad, without a focus on a specific year. You can't date it the way you can with men's clothing. But Valera is noticing a lot more women shopping in the store for that utilitarian anti-fit shape.
Curating a vintage collection is hard work but they're proud of the daily grind, which sees them getting up at 5am. Roter has been buying vintage since 1998. And he's out picking for 10 hours a day, throughout Canada and the United States. A lot of his vintage finds have been across the border in rural America.
"You can smell fraudulent vintage a mile away," says Varela. You have to be on the grind to find good authentic vintage. Finding high-end vintage in good condition is very hard says Roter, and it's a serious lifestyle. "We're always working to make sure this looks the way it does."
It's true. Everything is compartmentalized and arranged in an orderly fashion. You've got the vintage Bulls and Lakers basketball jerseys at the far end of the store organized and hanging neatly. Across are the military jackets, and pants, the stone-washed lined workwear, and of course the real nostalgic jean.
A handprinted 1951 Levi's jean banner that came out of a collection from New York City hangs behind the cash register. All the vintage displays were sourced by Varela and Roter who wanted a clean aesthetic. Nothing weird or out of the ordinary, just simple good-looking vintage.
Soon, the store will be expanding to work with artists. While they won't divulge a lot of detail, the project will be "a way to wear vintage without wearing vintage."
Photos by Matt Forsythe.