So What makes a gal happier than shopping for clothes and jewellery? Well, for me, it’s shopping for clothes and jewellery on sale! Twice a year, thousands of like-minded fashion hounds block their calendars to hunt for amazing deals at La Grande Braderie de Mode Québécoise held at the Marché Bonsecours in the Old Montreal.
Now in its 32nd year, the event is essentially a fabulous clearance orgy where local designers unload their previous season’s stock at huge discounts – we’re talking up to 80% here. This fall doors will open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21 (don’t forget: the early bird gets the worm!), and close on Sunday, Oct. 24, at 5 p.m. About a hundred different labels await (click on “Participants” on the website below to see the entire list).
Interestingly, a lot of designers show up at their own booths, so in some cases you might be getting style advice straight from the source. Usually there’s an eclectic mix of commercial and more obscure brands, making it a great venue not only for retail therapy but to discover new talent. Another bonus: Most of the stock is from last year’s fall and winter collections, so, no waiting for the weather to warm up; you’ll be able to strut your new threads the very next day!
For those of you not familiar with Montreal’s local designers, I’ve listed a few of my personal faves here: Fashion forward-thinkers will appreciate the stylings of Andy Thê-Anh, known for his sophisticated collections that give office workers chic reasons to wake-up in the morning, including a selection of diva-inspired, red carpet frocks; as well as Marie Saint-Pierre whose dedicated following can’t get enough of her avant-garde looks. A little more street and a bit more daring, there’s Bodybag by Jude Clothing whose shop in my Mile End neighbourhood always gets a visit when I’m passing by (must be those big glass showcase windows). And one can never have enough of the basics, especially those from Ça Va De Soi who have the softest, cosiest knits (think of luxuries such as extra-fine merino wool, cashmere, and flannel); or trendy jeans from Guido & Mary and Domino . If you like to bring a little bit of a cocktail-hour flair into the daytime, Mosaïk MTL, might be just what you need.
In the outerwear department, Soïa & Kyo is a Montreal staple thanks to its flattering cinch-waisted and A-line skirted coats—yes, even the puffy down options! —and reasonable price points. A little pricier (but definitely worth the investment) is Mackage who also has a sophisticated sportswear line.
New this year at La Braderie are rising stars Anastasia Lomonova Design (this past spring she won the Toronto Fashion Incubator’s prestigious New Labels Competition), Mélissa Nepton, and Valérie Dumaine. To top off your look, be sure to check out the nature-inspired pieces by jewellery label Brazen Design and all the hats and headbands you could ever dream of by Ophelie Hats. One more tidbit of insider advice: Bring cash, as not all vendors will take your plastic, and wear comfy slip-on shoes, as you’ll likely be running here and there and trying on this and that. I’m getting excited already. Happy shopping!