Montreal is arguably the most effortlessly and uniquely stylish city in North America. Here are the boutiques that make it so
Montreal is home to a ton of iconic fashion brands, and we bet you don’t even know the half of it. Local brands seen all over the world include Aldo shoes, m0851 bags, Naked and Famous jeans, Want Les Essentiels luggage and Mackage parkas – they’re all based right here. A constant new stream of new designers adds to the bounty; for instance, UNTTLD, winner of the Star Wars fashion competition at the latest (and evidently last) Toronto Fashion Week.
Much of these labels still do their manufacturing here. Put it all together and you’ve got an extremely style-rich city characterized by original and affordable prêt-à-porter.
So if you’re travelling to Montreal soon, set aside some extra space in your luggage. This crop of shops – which prominently or exclusively feature pieces from local brands and designers – will not only give you a taste of the local flavour, they’ll tempt you to bring home a wearable souvenir or two from this stylish city.
Dubuc is a favourite of distinguished dressers both male or female who are in search of perfect tailoring. A master suit-maker, he creates clothing in classic textiles like tweed, wool and silk, and champions mineral tones. He focuses on cuts that endow their wearers with a certain stature and formality, and also designs a playful range of accessories, including gloves, bowties and even a line of teas. He sells out of his beautiful boutique on Rue Saint-Pierre in Old Montreal.
417 Rue Saint-Pierre, 514-282-1465
Tavan & Mitto
From their bijou store in Mile End, these two designers create classic, feminine clothing with a focus on dresses, blouses, deconstructed blazers and sleek dress pants aimed at the dashing professional woman. Their signature style has a Tippi Hedren flavour – midi pencil skirts, cinched waists, three-quarter sleeves – in a palette that ranges from charcoal grey to jewel tones. The more formal items share shelf space with flowing sweaters and draped tops for a more relaxed look.
5334 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, 514-279-1212
Tavan & Mitto
Frank & Oak
With a women’s line on the cusp of launching, this brand is about to expand on its specialty of shirts and suits hip professionals actually like to wear. The Montreal flagship store on Mile End’s St-Viateur Street is a great place to grab a coffee and browse the signature check shirts in both long- and short-sleeve, the narrow pantsuits and the beautiful range of house-designed bags, whose combination of rugged canvas and thick leather has made a local favourite.
Three locations in Montreal
Created by the owners of internationally known luxury brand Want Les Essentiels, Montreal-based purveyors of fine leather bags and travel accessories, Want Apothecary is a jewel of a store in Westmount that houses their own designs and more, including clothing by Acne, Maison Kitsuné and Filippa K, as well as a wide range of cosmetics by the likes of Astier de Villatte and Ursa Major. You’ll probably end up filling your new Want bag with things bought in-store.
4960 Rue Sherbrooke Ouest, 514-484-3555
Born in Jordan, Hourani is a self-proclaimed citizen of the world who grew up in Montreal and now also calls Paris and New York home. We like to appropriate him as a homeboy though, and he did choose Rue Saint-Paul in Old Montreal as the location for his first worldwide eponymous boutique. His sculptural, monochromatic line of clothing is unisex, and characterized by bold, simple lines that transition as seamlessly from man to woman as they do from body type to body type.
31 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, No. 100, 514-274-7794
This leather goods brand now has stores everywhere from Paris to Tokyo to Hong Kong (and Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary), thanks to the beautiful made-in-Montreal craftsmanship of its goods, by artisans who have worked for the Mamarbachi family for decades. The no-sweatshop mentality surprisingly doesn’t lead to excessive prices. Every year brings a new palette of eye-catching colours, and in addition to the bags and travel gear, there are coats and clothes perfectly suited to any season.
Four stores in Montreal
This fun and friendly women’s clothing store in Mile End specializes in eminently wearable independent designer clothing at an affordable price range. Alongside the fun Swedish and American brands, you’ll find a focus on local goods, especially pieces by the likes of Eve Gravel and Valérie Dumaine, makers of beautiful little dresses and effortlessly chic two-piece sets. The range of Montreal-made jewellery is really original here and great for easy gifts; or for something a bit more luxurious, check out the selection of stylish knapsacks by Montreal brand Woolfell.
5135 Boulevard Saint-Laurent, 514-544-2828
Courtesy Bianca Des Jardins/Woolfell
Shop for Woolfell’s made-in-Montreal bags and accessories at Unicorn
With two shops in town, this unisex boutique covers your bases for international goodies including Cydwoq shoes, Vivienne Westwood dresses, Stella McCartney tees and an amazing array of fragrances by Comme des Garçons, but it’s also your spot for Mackage and Soia & Kyo jackets, both designed right here in town. Find something stylish for any season, even Montreal’s deadly winter, and word to the wise: The sale rack is worth the visit every time.
215 Rue Saint-Paul Ouest, 514-508-7704
This store, nestled in the Phi Centre arts complex (an amazing place for indie music shows), is a go-to place for local-fashion hunters. It unites exclusive pieces by young designers who may not have their own storefront. From Des Rosiers to WRKDEPT, Anastasia Radevich and Travis Taddeo, you’ll find impeccably made, fun-loving streetwear or all sorts here, as well as silly phone cases, blingy jewellery and art-printed scarves that make fantastic gifts.
407 Rue Saint-Pierre, 514-225-0525
Courtesy Jean-SÃ©bastien DÃ©nommÃ©/Le RhinocÃ©ros by Phi