Consignment shops used to be a place to simply drop off unwanted clothing and make a few dollars, not to acquire new finds. But these delightful, and fashion conscious, ‘C-shops’ across the country are making what’s old brand new again.
LAB Consignment – Toronto
It’s one of those hip hidden gems that the coolest girls around town know about. Walk into the Ossington Ave. store (hidden behind Silver Falls vintage) and you feel like you’re walking into the closet of Sofia Coppola or Kirsten Dunst. Owner Lauren Baker – herself one of the most adorable and stylish ladies in Toronto – stocks her store with Marc by Marc Jacobs, swoon-worthy French lines like A.P.C. and Isabel Marant and true vintage finds like Yves Saint Laurent.
Baker’s diverse customers (many of whom are also her consignors) are, “many different women…who love the thrill of the find, discount designer hunters, vintage lovers, fashion enthusiasts, and regular gals,” she says.
Where: 15 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Extoggery – Toronto
Fashion editors swear by this place meaning their to-die-for pieces often end up in the upscale vintage emporium (for 60% off the original price!). Meditate on that for a moment. Every day hundreds of new items come in – think vintage Missoni to channel Sienna Miller’s boho vibe or Banana Republic and Coach if you’re feeling Angelina.
All items are ready to wear, clean and in season (and always less than two years old). The other major plus – they carry men’s ‘toggery’ too.
Where: 1640 Avenue Rd. and 10 Brentcliffe Rd., Toronto
Front and Company – Vancouver
Many an afternoon (an entire afternoon!) can be spent in this large trend-setting and contemporary consignment cauldron of goodies and rare finds. You’ll feel you’re in a specialty department store in this mid-Main, Van-city stomping ground for artists, celebrities and neighborhood folk looking for a dapper discount. Knowing that fashion is not just what you wear, but how you live – the covetous consignors at Front and Company sell accessories, beauty, home items and baby and kid accessories too. Heaven!
Where: 2772 Main St., Vancouver
Redeemed Consignment Place – Winnipeg
Currently there are a pair of over-the-knee black snakeskin Gucci boots (that retailed for $3000 and are on sale for $749) on the Redeemed Facebook page. So hot were the boots, they made us consider a flight to Winnipeg…in November. It is precisely these kinds of high end deals that make this consignment boutique a must-visit. Names like Manolo and Prada don’t hurt either. Bonus for consignors – you will receive 30% off in-store purchases when you use your account. Deals for everyone!
Where: 410 Academy Rd., Winnipeg
Changes – Calgary and Vancouver
This Calgary store, owned by Barbara Davis and Diane Foster, was so popular they headed west and opened one in Vancouver too. Now both locations offer style for the career minded woman with a designer discount flare. In addition to gently used garments the store offers new items from clearance sales of over 20 women’s wear shops in B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Fun fact: they host ‘Celebrity Friday & Sundays’ where you can bring a photo of your fave celeb style and they’ll re-create it for less! (Be honest: How many of us secretly have Rachel Bilson and Kate Bosworth pics ready for this precise thing?)
Where: #202 – 2136 33rd Ave. SW, Calgary
Where: 4454 West 10th Ave., Vancouver
Put Me on Consignment – Halifax
Often when we think of consignment we think basics, but PMOC offers a bit more off-the-beaten-track and artisan items (think NSCAD art student turned eco-architect with a side-life as a drummer for an all-girl indie band). Owner Pamela McInnis moonlights as a Haligolian rock star under the name ‘Pamela Underwater’. A large selection of local jewelry, and her clothing line called Cranky, makes this a worthwhile, if not unusual, shop.
Where: 1532 Queen Street, Halifax; (902) 492-2572
Tip sheet: What you need to know before you hit the racks:
1. Many stores offer an online shop, so be sure to check out the websites first.
2. Consignment doesn’t always mean vintage or used – many items come with new tags.
3. A potential consignor can expect to make between 30 and 40 percent of the eventual selling price.
4. All potential consignors should check the rules and policies of each store as most are different.
5. Seasons are key in the consignment world. Most shops only accept the following season (ie: by late winter they’ll only accept spring items).