69 Vintage Collective brings together second-hand fashion and a sewing studio
Toronto’s vintage queen, Kealan Sullivan, has expanded on the success of Queen Street’s 69 Vintage and the recently shuttered Buy the Pound with 69 Vintage Collective, a larger space in the rapidly developing Bloorcourt area.
Open since December, the shop carries pay-by-weight second-hand clothing and the fine vintage pieces Sullivan is known for, but there are also rooms on the upper floor, where independent vintage dealers showcase their clothing and accessories on a rotating basis. The basement is home to both a craft market and the Make Den, a sewing and alterations studio run by 69 Vintage manager Irene Stickney, who’s also a member of cycling brigade–design collective The Deadly Nightshades. Stickney will lead a roster of creative sewing classes; on the schedule in March is one inspired by Lady Gaga’s avant-garde style.
But Sullivan’s flair for sourcing eminently wearable pieces in near-perfect condition is at the core of the operation. There is a wide array of beautifully tailored coats, day dresses, ladylike accessories, immaculate mohair and angora sweaters that would look perfectly at home on the set of Mad Men, and a long row of leather boots in various colours and styles—at $50, they’re the store’s best-sellers.
Sullivan, who is constantly sourcing new vintage pieces, gets much of her inspiration from clients. “It’s not like a store or a brand that’s trying to dictate fashion. I’m responding to what I can find, what girls are wearing,” she says. “You never have any idea who’s going to come in the door. And the things they choose, it’s a constant surprise. It’s like when two people fall in love—it’s chemistry.”
69 Vintage Collective, 1207 Bloor St. W., 416-516-1234, 69vintage.com.