Posted on March 16th, 2011 by .

As the city editor at a fashion magazine, I’m all for supporting local labels. Sometimes it breaks my heart that some of the amazing talent in our city goes unnoticed. So you can imagine my joy when I discovered Mode Montréal, a handy, interactive website that maps out the city’s best designers, boutiques and more…

Smart, out-of-town shoppers know that buying indie fashions, which you don’t see in every mall across the country, is an easy way to original style. I mean, how cosmopolitan does it sound to say, “Oh, this little laser-cut, distressed leather, pleated skirt? I picked it up in a cute little boutique in the Old Montreal. I met the designer. He had these really huge black glasses…” (Pause right there: if I had you at “Oh, this little thing…” you should immediately check out my post on Montreal Jewellery Shopping.)

Mode Montréal goes out of their way and into the private ateliers of Montreal designers and indie-boutiques to show you the real people and the underground vibe of our local fashion scene. I’ve even learned a lot. The site’s Mode TV tab has smart, video snippets of up-and-coming designers (like Juliana Bennett and her line Mulcair), fashion veterans (like Iris Setlakwe), even mega-retailers that are based here in Montreal (Aldo’s VP, David Bensadoun).

Pretty exciting is the interactive Fashion Map where you’ll find 11 style categories; when you click on one, you’re connected to a Google Map that shows you where to get that specific look. Let’s say, in my case, I need a new LBD, I go to The Little Black Dress and, voilà, under “route” there’s a shopping itinerary planned out with little red dressmaker pins indicating each stop, complete with address and telephone number. Number five on that specific route, by the way, is Unicorn, one of my favourite non-vintage boutiques in the Mile End. I’d start there and work my way back downtown.

Another choice “route” to follow is Virtuosos for it’s mini-roundup of the city’s brightest fashion stars, including haute couturier Helmer, modern dandy Philippe Dubuc and avant-garde Marie Saint Pierre.

I also like Sustainable Style where you’ll find eco-friendly brands like Cokluch (I’m loving their oversized purses with hand-painted flowers for spring and summer 2011) and Harricana whom, besides recycled furs, does amazing blouses with recycled wedding dresses. You may not be in the mood to say “I do” but if you’re anything like me, you’ll be saying, “I WANT!

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