05/05/10 – By EMARY JOHNSTON
Three floors of hidden treasures are among Bloordale’s growing variety of quirky, diverse businesses.
69 Vintage Collective opened in the neighborhood in December 2009 and is home to items from era’s ranging from the early 1900’s to the 1990’s.
“Basically, you can walk into this place and find the dress worn in the original Cleopatra movie, or a great pair of Levi’s- you can find anything,” said Katrina Waterton, a vintage shopper and Fashion Arts student.
The used clothing store, located at 1207 Bloor St.W. contains the word “Collective” in its title because there is a selection of unique establishments within its walls: 69 Vintage Collective, Rozaneh, Ransack the Universe, and a few other independent vintage boutiques.
The upper, main and lower levels of the house-like building are all different stores owned by individuals who practice their passion under one roof.
Emma Doll manages the store and rarely wears something that isn’t used.
“It’s great to reuse and recycle. There is so much clothing out there already, it doesn’t make sense to keep producing new things,” she said. “I also value the inspiration I get from the pieces, and the feeling I get when I wear them.”
Marilyn Hartley, The owner of Rozaneh, says she values vintage clothing for what it can teach her.
“What fascinates me the most is that it’s a continuous learning experience. You’re always discovering something new; you’re always researching something different for example, you find out the reason behind an idea someone had for a piece.”
The interior of the store is very unlike a conventional retail store. Its style and creativity evoke vintage in almost every way; even the change rooms are composed of old wooden doors. The two front windows of the store have a display of mannequins posed in 1950’s style kitchens and reflect an elegantly old vibe to the public passing by.
“When people come in here they are amazed at the space itself,” said Doll. “Its funky, fresh, and it really highlights what you can do in here. There’s something for everyone; you can create a contemporary look or do a flashback from the 50’s. People seem to love trying on fun, colourful things and sometimes they find something that’s absolutely perfect for them- something they’ll never find again.”
A recent graduate from a fashion program at Humber College, Stephanie MacMillan, has a high appreciation for 69 Vintage, and stores alike. She has been buying used clothing since she was in high school and says that the advantages of vintage are endless.
“Fashion is a revolving door and things are always coming back into style. Vintage stores make trends accessible to people before the styles hit retail stores.” MacMillan said. “The standard of quality is always going to be better as well. Today, everything is made in China. Old companies that made clothing didn’t go offshore.”
MacMillan also says that Vintage stores are not only helpful, but essential to a fashion enthusiast such as herself.
“It’s the only way to be fashion forward without going really high end and spending lots of money. Every person who’s into fashion shops vintage,” she said.
As Vintage clothing fits into fashion, the 69 Vintage Collective store fits in well with Bloordale’s edgy, up and coming neighborhood.
Doll said that with rent increasing in areas like College and King, people are migrating to Bloordale for affordability.
Marilyn Hartley, the owner of Rozaneh, enjoys being part of the evolution that’s taking place in the neighborhood.
“Since I’ve lived here it’s been really nice seeing the neighborhood building up in a positive way,” she said. “And I think ultimately, stores like this become neighborhood stores,” she said.
69 Vintage Collective is open 12pm- 7pm, Tuesday to Sunday and welcomes anyone who is interested in wearing a piece of history on their back.
For more information about the Collective and what it has to offer call (416)516-1234.