2018 Street Sale (the final edition!)

The Saint-Laurent street sale begins this week!

Some of you may not know, but this whole shop project, which I’m wrapping up, began on that very street… and this edition may very well be my last.

Back in 2004, at the tender age of 21, I’d saved up some cash to travel around Asia during the winter months. I sublet my room, packed a bag, and headed to Bangkok with intentions to move around from there. Thailand has a very mercantile sensibility. People are buying and selling pretty much anything you can think of, on every scale. If you buy stating that you have plans to resell, you can negotiate a wholesale price without having to buy large amounts. The creations made by young designers I saw in the markets were so affordable and fun… I began to think “I’ve gotta do something with this!!”. I contacted my friends who ran Space FB on the main at the time, and asked if they could rent me out a little spot during the street sale that coming summer. When they agreed, I had to switch gears and get a job in Bangkok because my savings were going into buying my first lot.

I found a decent (and very cheap) guesthouse just off Khao San road and created a job for myself. Fetching potential customers was my gig. Thing is, the best time to do that was when buses travelling all night originating from the north around Chiang Mai, or southern islands, arrived at the final stop, in my neighbourhood …and that fell between 4am and 6am. There I was with the street cleaners, ladyboy sex workers, strayed drunkards, bar staff and street vendors closing up shop in the last hour of nightfall. Cruising around looking for dozy backpackers apprehensively sleep walking around in search for a room to stay. I’d walk by and make conversation, then propose they come sojourn where I was. It was a win-win scenario as I saw it. They got a decent place to stay, the guest house filled up, and I got a free room, food, a base salary (of about 5$/day), plus a little extra for every room rented. It was enough to keep me going and provided an insiders perspective on the scene. Meanwhile I was getting deep with the local street dancers, going to cross city competitions, practicing in parcs or metro stations, and busking. In the years to come I began working with a fashion magazine, djing, and co-producing events around the city. Trips every other month resulted in my thai life coming to mirror the one I lived here in Montreal. For a time at least. My buying choices brought me elsewhere once ibiki got going, and my thai-style lifestyle was replaced with other places.

…Back to that first trip.
In my spare time I scoured the city looking for the best designers and vendors. I felt compelled and inspired to select and assemble. I sought out markets of all types and tried to get a handle on how, and what, people like to wear close to their bodies. Being so far away from my home culture, it became somewhat of a socio-cultural study. The whole process was a huge learning opportunity which I embraced.

The cheapest way to ship was by boat, which took longer, but I had time. Shipping goods is no picnic however, and I had zero experience with it … I eventually got a handle on it but it took some serious trial and error to figure out let me tell you!

During this first trip and some of the next, I went through Tokyo on my way back and picked up a few things there as well. Eventually I migrated towards Hong Kong looking for goods, which led me some years later (roughly 2010) to Seoul.

I managed to haul one first box plus a suitcase down to the main in June 2004, and for the very first time set up shop. The street sale was a success, and I decided to reinvested the profits. It also meant going back to Asia to spend more time there. Especially during the winter months. Keeping on with this racket as a side thing, I participated in pop-up sales around Montreal, held “sales meetings” in my homes, and of course, regularly attended the street sales until 2006 when I opened OLDgOLD Boutique. It was a signless hole in the wall on Mt-Royal (with if course more street sales).
Some years went by and my buying expanded into Europe, the US and Canada of course. In 2011 I upgraded to the current local, and returned to my yearly Street sales on the Boulevard that got me started (in the neighbourhood that raised me, in part).

So there you have it!
This thing has come full circle as they say.

From June 7th to 17th we’ll have an outdoor sale zone set up (I dug out every last box in my storage for this), as well as new digs inside of course (lots of shorts, tees, tank tops, dresses, shoes, swim suits etc etc). There isn’t room to put it all out at once so new things will go out daily.

Myself and the fantastic group of people which compose the staff really hope to see you there!

*Photo credit:Yves Klein 1960


Versions ss18

For this seasons drop I invited Gerald & Fatine to shoot some of the gear. The images are a mix of ss18 Versions, other shop clothing, and Gerald’s own stuff. Not all items are shown here, but the collection includes cut and sewn pieces, along with prints and artisanal tie-dye. One print named “The Rave” by Pascale Mercier and some other print designs by Alexis Coutu-Marion and Myself.

Photos: Fatine Violette-Sabiri
Model: Claire
Styling: Gerald Lajoie
Versions: Jonah Leslie
Location: White Wall Studio

Coming to a close

I took the decision to close the shop this July 31st 2018. I’m not selling it, and I don’t have any plans to re-open elsewhere. It’s just time for me to turn the page on this project.

The motivation behind this conclusion is a personal one… running a business comes with an unimaginable amount of work, responsibility and sacrifice. It’s relentless, and requires a lot of administrative work, which I’ve carried on banefully for the 12 years since I opened the first shop in 2006.

Right now, I want to live lighter, simpler. Have more time, possess the freedom and fluidity to be involved in other ventures. The industry has shifted quite a bit in the last years, heading into a direction I have difficulty identifying with. For these reasons, and many more (which I will gladly discuss with you down at the shop in the coming months), I must put this thing to rest.

There won’t be a closing party. Instead I’m announcing this with ample time for you to come and have some one-on-one with me and/or the shop.

This season’s buy was done with an even higher amount of one-off items, which means new stuff coming out weekly. We’ll be doing the street sale in June as usual. And I will be selling everything you see in the store at the very end, so let us know if there’s stuff you’re interested in –  pre-sales on the furniture have already begun!

There’s still a good 2 months to be had though, so let’s not get misty eyed just yet!

*The photo above is a still from a dance piece of mine named “6 Figures”, 2015. You can view it here.

04, 2018.

Paloma Wool

Come see what’s new from Paloma Wool this season!

BaseRange SS18

Baserange has been producing healthy undergarments since 2012, the year we started working together…
They always have unique and creative visual material, which I recommend you look through on their website. Below is information as to why you might want to invest.

Baserange is underpinned by a strong belief that sustainable products should not be a luxury. This philosophy has led to the affordable pricing of the label.

We work exclusively with small family based factories, whom we’ve built a close, trusting and lasting relationship with.
All Baserange underwear, t-shirts, and sweats are produced in small towns around Porto in Portugal. This area is very near Toulouse, where our company’s head office is based. This enables us to make regular visits and reduce the time, cost and carbon foot print of transporting the garments.
Our woven garments are all produced in a small town called Odemis near Izmir. Odemis sits in one of the richest fertile valleys of Turkey. Here, our supplier produces garments made from only natural fabrics such as silk, linen and wool, with an old knowledge of natural fabrics and processes.

In selecting the fabrics, we place a lot of importance on the production process. We consider to what extent this process impacts on the environment, for example the amount of water used in production and most importantly the chemical used. Working sustainably is very much a process of always doing the best you can and trying to push things in order to get a product as “clean” as possible.

When organic certifications or sustainable solutions are not possible, we seek to work transparently and consciously, providing our customers with as much information about the production process in order that they can make an informed decision on their purchase.
Natural fibers such as organic cotton, recycled cotton or wool, natural silk or linen and bamboo are used at the heart of Baserange’s fabrics.
Baserange uses only certified Öko-tex dyes or GOTS. It consume a lot less water in the dying process and does not utilise any heavy metal dyes or toxic elements that are still used by a many large garment producers outside of Europe.
A big part of Baserange’s product group is raw or ecru (off white). Meaning that there has been no dying or chemical bleaching processes on these products

Bamboo: We have choosen the bamboo fibers for our underwear and t-shirts because of its softness and lightness. Bamboo yarn is not as cotton, a mechanical produced yarn, the bamboo needs a chemical treatment for the spinning, so it can not be organic certified. Stil bamboo is considered sustainable as it needs very little pesticides and agrochemicals. Water consumption is very small too, and it needs very little land space to grow, unlike cotton. Naturally disease and pest resistant, bamboo is also fast growing. Compared to trees, certain varieties of bamboo can grow 1–4 ft long per day, and can even branch and expand outward because of its underground rhizomes.

Bamboo also helps mitigate water pollution due to its high nitrogen consumption, making it a solution for excess nutrient uptake of waste water from manufacturing, livestock farming and sewage treatment.Cotton: All of our cotton garments, are 100% organic certified cotton. Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic pesticides or fertilizers. Methods such as beneficial insect releases, strip cutting of alfalfa and new weeding machinery help reduce the environmental impact of cotton crops. Third-party organizations certify that organic cotton farms use only these approved methods and do not spray toxic chemicals on their crops. We also find that organic cotton products are softer and easier on your skin Wool and Silk: This natural fibers comes from animals. The yarns are done mechanically, so with this type of fibers our only concern is the dye and finish. We also look at the origin to make sure it does not flight all around earth.”

Closed For Easter Sunday

Back Open Monday April 2nd!

09, 2017.

Nicky (Part 2)

Subject: Nicky
Photos & Direction: Jonah Leslie
Location: White Wall Studio
Clothing: ibiki