Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

“So instead of sending these objects, which still have so much life left in them, to landfills, we move them around and give them another life.”

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The growing demand for sustainable fashion boosts a colorful sector of the second-hand economy in Ottawa, led by a grassroots community of stylish vintage clothing suppliers with an eye for well-made pieces of clothing.

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One of these frugal fashionistas is Ingrid Daniel, 40, who started her business, RiNude, about nine years ago. Daughter of a seamstress, she saw the declining quality of fabric and construction of new clothing and found that items made in previous decades were made to last.

“I grew up making clothes, so I absolutely loved the well-made clothes as opposed to the new things that are not cut properly or sewn properly,” said Daniel, who has a daily job as a provincial public servant. “I love finding good quality things, and my sister thought I had an eye for it, so I went with it. In addition, it is fun. ”

While thrifty shopping has been around for decades, Ingrid Daniel believes the current boom is driven by a backlash to fast fashion, especially among younger shoppers who are concerned about exploitative work practices and environmental costs.
While thrifty shopping has been around for decades, Ingrid Daniel believes the current boom is driven by a backlash to fast fashion, especially among younger shoppers who are concerned about exploitative work practices and environmental costs. Photo by Errol McGihon /jpg

In the last decade, she has seen the growth of the vintage scene in Ottawa from a handful of physical stores to include dozens of online businesses and regular pop-up markets such as the popular 613Flea markets and those run by Vintage Pop-up 613 collective.

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While thrifty shopping has been around for decades, Daniel believes the current boom is driven by a setback to fast fashion, especially among younger shoppers who are concerned about exploitative work practices and environmental costs. It’s not hard to find coverage on social media showing gigantic piles of Western world’s discarded clothing burned in developing countries.

“I’ve observed that people are now much more aware of fast fashion and how much pollution is happening in the industry,” Daniel said. “We can see what happens in countries where we send clothes, and it’s a lot of cheap polyester stuff. They used to take old things that were good and sell it, but now they burn it or it ends up in landfills. There is no sustainability. ”

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“Some things suit the younger generation and some fit the older generation.  It's about how you wear it, ”says Silvia DiNardo.
“Some things suit the younger generation and some fit the older generation. It’s about how you wear it, ”says Silvia DiNardo. Photo by Tony Caldwell /Postmedia

Another saleswoman, Silvia DiNardo, who has been running Vintage Vibe for almost five years, loves it when she can change the stigma of used clothing. Her Italian mother is a convert.

“My mother came to Canada without anything, and she’s proud to be able to afford new clothes,” DiNardo said, “but it’s not about affordability. It’s the fact that you give life to a piece of clothing that have 80 or 90 percent of their life left in it but someone has gotten rid of it because it does not suit them anymore or they have changed their style or they have used it 10 times and are tired of it in their closet.

“So instead of sending these objects, which still have so much life left in them, to landfills, we move them around and give them another life.”

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Unlike the shipping market, which relies on reselling items to people, these sellers pick up their items at thrift stores, charity stores, church basement sales, real estate and moving sales, or online directories. DiNardo, a former model who lived in Europe during the 20s, is looking for clothes made from beautiful fabrics such as silk, wool and cashmere, and unique, often hand-sewn dresses from the 1960s and 70s.

“I don’t have a rule for what I buy,” she says. “I buy what I like and my customers are from 18 to 70 and I love it. Some things fit the younger generation and some fit the older generation. It’s about how you wear it.”

Other vendors specialize in certain styles, such as streetwear, denim, band T-shirts, or statement items from their favorite decades, and most use Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok for promotion, and often style and model their own clothing to inspire vintage seekers. .

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Yuan Tan, a science-oriented PhD student in immunology at the University of Ottawa, says she does not like mass-produced goods.
Yuan Tan, a science-oriented PhD student in immunology at the University of Ottawa, says she does not like mass-produced goods. “I want something curious and unique, and I’m very attracted to colors.” Photo by Errol McGihon /Postmedia

For 30-year-old Yuan Tan, that’s the fun part. A science-oriented PhD student in immunology at the University of Ottawa, she satisfies her creative side with her Instagram store, House of Curiosity, one of the newer stores in the sector.

“During COVID, when everything shut down, I wore pajamas for three months,” she said, “and then I got very bored. I do not like mass-produced goods. I want something curious and unique, and I am very attracted to colors. . ”

The Toronto native discovered the bold colors and funky patterns of vintage clothing and launched his Instagram account last fall. She quickly began selling goods. M Most of her clients are students in their teens and 20s who are well aware of the environmental costs of the fashion industry. As a scientist, sustainability is a big part of her motivation, but she also considers it an achievement when she can convince someone to add a little color to their wardrobe.

“Ottawa is very beige, neutral,” she said, “so I was quite surprised that there are more adventurous people. I thought no one would buy from me because I’m weird; it’s like a paintball was thrown at my stand. But some of the really weird clothes are sold out pretty quickly. ”

lsaxberg@postmedia.com

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