To say that Montreal is a creative city is like saying that Paris is kinda pretty. This city is an idea volcano in constant eruption, with generation upon generation of artists, authors, actors and acrobats producing new madness every day. One of our strongest arts: fashion design, because of some great local fashion schools and, let’s not mince words, Montrealers’ native sense of style. C’mon, it’s famous. Here’s a list of our go-to made-in-Quebec labels, with deets on where you can get their wares to take home…
YE OLDE GUARD
Classics become so for a reason: Philippe Dubuc has been a reference point for incredible suits for her and him for a couple of decades now, (find them at 417 St-Pierre), while Marie Saint Pierre is the matron saint of dramatic, comfortable yet commanding designs (she has a boutique at 2081 de la Montagne and in the Rockland shopping centre). Denis Gagnon is the king of textures – think velvet, fur, wool, satin, lame and leather. (His store is at 170B St-Paul W.)
Eve Gravel is a local favourite for how wearable and adaptable and creative her sophisticated designs are (you’ll find them at Unicorn, at 5135 Saint Laurent, among other places). Bodybag By Jude makes dresses, skirts, shorts and all things pretty in a ‘50s meets ‘90s vibe (available at Magasin Général Bruxe, among others, at 5662 Sherbrooke W.), while Jennifer Glasgow’s designs are eminently wearable thanks to soft fabrics and flattering cuts involving gathered waists. (Find her goods at La Gaillarde Boutique at 4019 Notre-Dame W., among others.) Birds of North America makes classic, cute Americana-style duds (find them at General 54, among others, at 5145 St-Laurent). And for your next ballroom party, think big with Anne de Shalla’s designs, which celebrate all things colourful and shiny (her boutique is at 350 St-Paul E.).
With high-fashion flair, the UNTTLD duo designs clothes that are dark and debonair, with lean lines and sophisticated materials. (Find their wares at Quai 417 in Old Montreal, 417 St-Pierre). Travis Taddeo goes minimalist in both palette and materials for head-turning impact (you’ll find pieces at Joshua David, 4926 Sherbrooke W.). There’s a mix of earthiness with futurism in the work of Matière Noire (their showroom is at 2205 Parthenais), with Ovate is all intensity and dark touchability, featuring a mastery of leatherwork and a love of natural fibres and overall simplicity (find some online). Taking their artistry literally, Montreal designers Norwegian Wood have been known to print classic works of art on their garments, turning genius into luscious colourful patterns. (Find their goodies online.)
ACCESSORIES AND MORE
The headquarters of high luxe in Montreal is Bijoux Ecksand, your source for diamonds and pearls in really imaginative settings. (Find them at 1255 University, suite 1502.) For beautiful buttery leather bags in a million shapes and shades, M0851 is your nirvana (they have various boutiques, including one at 3625 St-Laurent). Tie-lovers – or lovers of tie-lovers – will find everything they could want at Swell Fellow, an artisanal neck ware maker in Old Montreal (340 Notre-Dame W.). Noujica makes beautifully patterns everything, from backpacks to belts to scarves (find them at Belle et Rebelle, at 6321 St-Hubert). Rachel F’s gorgeous leather and bright-coloured cotton bags are as practical as they are stylish (find them at LoWell, among others, at 5364 St-Laurent). Harricana keeps the fur trade tradition alive in Quebec but this time with recycled fur coats gathered from all over the world and retooled into cute items like hats, bags and more. (The Harricana boutique is at 3000 St-Antoine W).
With a delicate touch and a soft palette, Valérie Dumaine makes clothing that’s striking and special despite (or because of) its simplicity, proving a creative approach to standards is sometimes all that’s needed. (Find her clothes at Unicorn: 5135 St-Laurent). Against Nudity is local success story, and their straightforward approach to cute tops and easy bottoms makes it a no-brainer why. (The brand is carried in a million stores, including Buzz Jeans at 255 St-Viateur W.) With a wink to retro sweetness and a non-nonsense approach to cuts and textiles, Atelier B. makes the ordinary magical everyday (Boutique Cokluch is among the stores that carry their wares, at 410A Villeray). A play of contrasts is what byTHOMAS has completely mastered, and what makes their clothes so popular with classic dressers looking for a twist. (Find it at Les Étoffes, at 5253 St-Laurent.) Winter in Montreal (or around the world, thanks to their success) wouldn’t be the same without Mackage, the purveyor of sleek yet toasty winter coats and much more, including a beautiful collection of mid-season leather jackets. (You’ll find them around the globe, including at Aritmetik, at 3688A St-Laurent). Discover over 40 local eco-designers at La Gaillarde, a boutique entirely dedicated to sustainable, ecologically conscious fashion located on Notre-Dame West in St-Henri.
Come to Montreal and book a Sweet Deal Hotel Package with up to $450 in savings on great activities and attractions!