Braderie de Mode Designers To Watch
The Braderie de Mode is a huge fashion sale featuring an exclusive mix of apparel for men, women and children made by Quebec designers. Composed of samples and inventory surplus, deals slash anywhere from 50% to 80% from retail prices.
Scheduled twice a year, in April and in October, the Braderie de Mode features over 100 designers, with most based in Montreal, including the following favorites I insist you check out.
Braderie de Mode Designer Spotlight #1
One of Canada's greatest sartorial success stories, Mackage's reputation precedes itself. Its coats are coveted by the rich and famous, though word-of-mouth claims the hype has died down south of the border and it never was clear if said rich and famous were buying these coats out-of-pocket or if they were having them thrown at them, free of charge. Anything to get a jacket in a paparazzi shot, right?
Either way, is it any surprise? Name me a brand that doesn't throw itself at Hollywood's hottest in the hopes its designs will get noticed. Besides, you almost have to. Fashion is such a fickle industry, from its insiders to its consumers. A close friend of mine, who would probably bitch slap me if I revealed his name, recently asked me, “is it just me? Everyone I know who works in fashion is miserable!” My reply, “of course they're miserable. What do you expect from an industry that goes through trends and it-people faster than a roll of toilet paper? Everything, everyone, is disposable.”
But whatever. I'm digressing again. Back to Mackage. Anyone who's seen a Mackage jacket up close knows the line is fabulous. Gorgeous. Top end. And it's gonna cost ya, anywhere from $400 for a standard trench to to $600 for a lather jacket to $850 for a down-filled winter coat. So when the chance to get them half off at Montreal's Braderie de Mode presents itself, savvy shoppers beckon.
Just one thing.
Another friend of mine bought this jacket. About a year and a half old, it's made of buttery leather and is covered in metal studs. On sale, it cost about $300. But it's an investment piece, right? It's okay to splurge if the jacket will look that good for years to come, n'est-ce pas? Well, this particular design hit a snag. I noticed the entire length of the foldover collar, which is hidden when zipped up, but in plain view when zipped down, was worn and flaking off. It looked like the metal studs were causing the damage and it wasn't helping that the leather, however buttery, high quality and stunning, is too delicate to handle the friction. It's likely a design flaw overlooked in production, but eek, for $300 on sale, it should be able to at least make it to the three-year mark. So just keep this little anecdote in mind if you intend on spending big bucks. Look closely at the Mackage jacket you're drooling over. Is there hardware on it? Will the hardware rub against the leather? Is the leather thick and sturdy or buttery and delicate? Purchase accordingly.
Braderie de Mode Designer Spotlight #2
How did I not know about this super adorable sustainable clothing brand before??? Noujica specializes in convertible apparel (tops that turn into skirts that turn into belts), items featuring recycled leather, bamboo and hemp canvas. I like almost everything of their line. Even their silk-screened glass pendants are lovely. And they never go over the top with patterns, tempering the latter with solid color so nearly nothing in the line looks too busy. And if prices are already within reach at regular retail rates –- think $50 for a convertible top/skirt/belt to $175 for a leather/silk convertible bag -– then imagine the steals you can score at the Braderie de Mode.
Braderie de Mode Designer Spotlight #4
Braderie de Mode Designer Spotlight #5
Tokaya is a Montreal brand I discovered at the Montreal Food Expo in March 2013. Composed of bamboo, which has antibacterial properties and is more absorbant than cotton, they only make five items: Tokaya the dress (photo above, yes, that's me with Tokaya co-founder Karine Lemelin), Tokaya the top, Tokaya the maternity dress, Tokaya the scarf and Tokaya the baby wrap (above). But those five items can be transformed into dozens of different pieces. The dress alone can be draped in 15 alternate ways.
Regular prices are set in the $120 range per piece, so expect some pretty decent deals in person at the Braderie de Mode.