Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Writer

Vintage-inspired gifts for the writer on your holiday list!

1. Beautiful Inks:
Ferris Wheel Press

ABOUT: “Located where the rat-tat-tat of the printing press meets the nostalgia of the carnival, Ferris Wheel Press is a Canadian heritage stationary company that creates extraordinary products that will be treasured for generations. Our timeless designs and thoughtful storytelling connect the world through art, writing, beauty and craftsmanship. Our mission is to help the world fall in love with writing again.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Established in Toronto, Ontario in 2010, Ferris Wheel Press continues to make their products locally, despite the recent widespread success they have found after being invited to set up a display at Harrods, perhaps the most iconic luxury department store in the world. They also have a “sponsored artists” program that consists of top artists from around the globe, who are given special access to their inks to encourage their artistic creations. As they say, “it’s important that we walk the walk when it comes to inspiring the next generation of greatness by supporting artists around the world”.

WHAT WE LIKE: Their inks are beautiful, come a range of enchanting colours, and having just bought some I can say confidently they write like a dream. I love that there is a high-quality product like this made locally!

2. High Quality Writing Paper:
Wonder Pens

<img src="https://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0458/9446/7737/products/L1007-2.jpg?v=1603792444&quot; alt="<center>Life – L Brand Writing Paper B5 – Ruled
Life – L Brand Writing Paper B5 – Ruled

ABOUT: “We’re a family-run shop located in Toronto, shipping across Canada and internationally. We carry fountain pens of all sorts, inks to match, pencils, stationery and notebooks and more. We have a lot of Japanese stationery supplies, including washi tape, Traveler’s Notebook and Classiky, as well as carry a range of Japanese fountain pens from Pilot, Sailor and Platinum. In this fast-paced and high-tech world, we are letter writers and journal writers, we take notes and make to-do lists by hand, and we are so thankful to have you along for the journey.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: This lovely little local shop is family owned and operated, and they carry high-quality items for a range of budgets. In addition to paper like that above, they have pens, ink, accessories – everything a writer could need.

WHAT WE LIKE: Seriously, have you ever seen a prettier pack of paper? Those of you who enjoy writing with fountain pens know that a quality paper is necessary to properly hold the ink. To not smudge, or seep through. There are several different styles and weights of paper available here, but the packaging on this one immediately caught my eye – who would’ve thought paper could make such a perfect gift?

3. Quality Office Supplies:
Squibb’s Stationary Store

ABOUT: “Since May 5th, 1927, Squibb’s has been committed to offering our customers excellent quality, service and price. We are a 100% Canadian, privately owned and operated business. Our mission daily is to keep to the original values of our founder, Arthur T. Squibb and then his son Gordon, building on what was created 90 years ago.

The original Squibb’s.

Our strengths are: product knowledge, ability to custom order and fair pricing.  We are proud to say that we are the oldest bookstore in Toronto and one of the oldest stationery stores in the GTA. 

We strongly believe that old fashioned and personal customer service is a lost art and that our clients appreciate what we can do for them.

We stock the following:

  • Books for all ages & subjects
  • Textbooks & Educational Material – our specialty!
  • All grade levels – K to 12, ESL
  • Bible & religious/spiritual books
  • Unique and fun gift items
  • Office/School/Art Supplies
  • Our own ‘Squibb’s Organic Honey’
  • and much more!

And, if we don’t have it in stock, we would be most pleased to order it in for you! This includes university and college textbooks.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a true piece of Toronto history, a small, family-run, specialty shop that consistently carries high-quality items. While they mostly stock new material, they have some old stock as well, so you can snatch-up some retro pieces for your office space.

WHAT WE LIKE: We lived in Weston for a few years and this store was just down the block. Unlike many new stores that go for a vintage “feel”, Squibb’s is clearly the real deal, in part because they are packed FULL of items. Every shelf is crammed full of all types of papers and pens and sealers and books, and while it may initially feel a little overwhelming, their staff know it like the back of their hand. You could put together a little writer’s gift basket (maybe throw in some of their honey to “sweeten” things a bit) and add a card about the history of the shop – I know that’s the kind of gift I’d love to receive!

4. An Old-School Typewriter:
Williams Design

Their stock is always changing, so give them a call or drop by to see what types they have in store.

ABOUT: “We have been collecting almost everything for years, and stockpiling cool furniture, lighting, pottery, art, and architectural salvage in our warehouse and barns.

Our little store is small, hence this website to show the scope of our inventory and to act as a resource for those on the hunt for a particular piece.  Speaking of that, if there is something that you are looking for, please let us know.  We may have it or know where to find it.

In 2015, Williams Design was named seventh of the Top 15 Salvage and Reclaimed Furniture Stores in Toronto by blogTo!

Launching soon, is our own line of handmade furniture.  We have been re-inventing, re-using and re-claiming lost pieces for years.  Now, we have decided to design our own modern pieces with the intention of using only antique lumber or fallen trees from our own forest.

We are happy to rent to film or television productions.  In the past we have rented set pieces to Orphan Black, 12 Monkeys, Rookie Blue, It, See, Heroes Reborn and many more! If there is something that you would like to rent, please contact us in advance so we can ensure that the item is available for pickup for your schedule.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: Locally run shop that sells quality used-goods and salvage pieces, how sustainable is that? Some people really love the clicking of old keyboards or typewriters, and they can be a green gift as they don’t require the use of any energy (except that you generate yourself – typing on these is tiring business!)

WHAT WE LIKE: These local guys really know their stuff, and they are oh-so friendly. Go in when the owner’s there and you’ll find yourself chatting for hours, but regardless of you who see you’ll be able to get some good advice in finding whatever you’re looking for. They are one of my first stops when I need vintage school or office supplies, especially old desk chairs.

5. Classic Wax Seals:
Artisaire

If you don’t want to commit to making your own, you can buy pre-made adhesive wax seals, like these.

ABOUT: Based in Victoria, BC, this online shop carries everything you need to create those gorgeous, classic wax seals you can add on your letters or documents.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: The products are handmade in their studio in Victoria, using materials sourced from North America. Even their melting spoon is handmade!

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve been on a real wax seal kick lately, because we got talking about our company’s official seal as we are in the process of doing our charitable registration. So I’ve spent a LOT of time looking at stuff like this the past few weeks. There aren’t a lot of Canadian made wax sealing kits, so I recommend making this your first stop. If you’re buying for a letter-writer, what could be sweeter than their own seal to mark their correspondence? How very Victorian.

Have something you think should be on the list?
Let us know in the comments.


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Vintage-Inspired Gifts for the Homemaker

Vintage-inspired gifts for the homemaker on your list!

1. A Mini History Lesson:
Radical Dishtowels

ABOUT: “As a family, we’ve always been interested in the amazing stories of history’s radical thinkers and campaigners, and how much hope these stories can inspire relative to the politics of today. We didn’t have much business experience. But we realized that there must be other people with progressive values out there who wanted to give gifts that actually mean something, make you think, and give you hope. We all loved the idea that you might come across a design in someone’s kitchen, and that it would spark a conversation about an idea or philosophy. As a teacher, I imagined that children might see a design and ask, “Who was she?” Together we made the decision to start our very own Radical Tea Towel Company. We do all the designs ourselves, and get them manufactured in the UK with ethical partners.” Read the full story, here.

PRICE RANGE: $

SOCIAL IMPACT: Made ethically in the UK, the main impact is in the message on the towel. What a fun way to strike up a conversation about something important, even controversial.

WHAT WE LIKE: This is such a unique idea. I’ve seen some cool tea towels, but never anything like this. They cost a bit more than the average tea towel, but are still inexpensive enough I could justify buying it if I had a place to have it visibly hanging in my kitchen.

2. Placemats and Doormats Inspired by Vintage Tiles:
Hidraulik

Tusset Floor Mat.

ABOUT: “The first hydraulic tiles were produced in Barcelona in the mid nineteenth century.   The creativity and durability of these attractive yet functional handmade floors caught on quickly and their use spread across Europe and beyond.”

The brand is carried by Locus Vie, a distribution company for home decor products in North America.  They focus on small European design companies that are looking to make an entrance into the North American market, and you can find local retailers via their site.

PRICE RANGE: $$-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: The site says that they are “phthalate-free and recyclable, for an eco-friendly conscience”. While made in Spain, there are many local shops, usually small ones, that carry some of these designs.

WHAT WE LIKE: They have a vintage vibe but are super practical. They make great door mats or a runner for a high-traffic hallway, they are easy to clean and can cover up ugly rental flooring. They are a bit on the pricey side for the larger ones (I saved up and watched for sales for years before I finally got one), but a set of the placemats could make a lovely gift, and they work well inside or out!

3. Textiles Based on Traditional Indigenous Designs
Indigo Arrows

Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow
This Copper and Black Moons Lumbar Pillow is currently sold out, but it’s my favourite and I had to share.

ABOUT: “For thousands of years, Indigenous peoples in Manitoba, including my Anishinaabe ancestors, created beautiful patterns to adorn their pottery collections and host of bone tools. Most of the surviving pieces are held by museums now, but I think the world needs more than exhibition- we need these patterns in our homes provoking thought; we need them bridging gaps; and, we need them inspiring our loved ones. The Indigo Arrows line picks up where my ancestors left off.

Destiny Seymour is an Anishinaabe interior designer based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. She graduated with her master’s degree in Interior Design from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Manitoba. She worked at local architecture firm in Winnipeg for over 10 years as their interior designer before starting her own design business in 2016.

Destiny started designing artisan textiles for interiors that respectfully reflects local Manitoban Indigenous peoples and their history after struggling to find materials that she could incorporate into design projects. Her company, Indigo Arrows, now offers a range of table linens, pillows, and blankets that showcase patterns from local Indigenous pottery and bone tools that date from 400 to over 3000 years old. These patterns are picking up where her ancestors left off.

Destiny formed Woven Collaborative in 2018, an Indigenous led design studio with fellow designer Mamie Griffith. Their design practice takes a critical look at the representation of Indigenous cultures within spaces. Their design mission is to respectfully reflect local Indigenous cultures & identity within architectural forms, interior spaces, furniture, and textiles. Their design process acknowledges community engagement, inclusiveness, and collaboration when creating new works.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: These beautiful linens are handmade, individually hand-printed in Winnipeg, Manitoba on 100% linen using non-toxic ink. This Indigenous-run company is making something that is simultaneously modern and traditional: these designs look like something you’d find in a magazine today while many of them are actually thousands of years old. Destiny names them in her ancestral language, Anishinaabemowin, and the pieces have a little description of what the word means and its significance, so it’s a nice little learning moment as well.

WHAT WE LIKE: If I had seen these without the context I would have thought they were totally modern, but when I read the history I knew they were perfect for this post: vintage-inspired doesn’t have to mean “old looking”, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect reproduction of something either. It also made me realize that a lot of the modern “boho” things you see in chain stores have (whether intentionally or not) designs that were used historically in Indigenous art, and so why not support the maker who shares that history? Promote the use and creation of something that comes from generations of artisans rather than buy a knock-off mass produced in China? And honestly, while some fellow artists may not have the money for a $100 decorative pillow, I think we all know that given the work that goes into it, that’s a steal. A lot of these are less expensive than things you’d find at Crate & Barrel or West Elm, and you can shop guilt-free knowing you’re supporting the artist who made them, not some faceless corporation.

4. Retro Canadian Pillows:
Persnickety Designs

Each pillow features a bright, bold design on each side: it’s like 2 pillows in one!

ABOUT: Peggy McEwan is a Toronto-based artist with a background in classic animation. These pillows are what she calls “comfortable art”, and they come in a range of retro designs – Toronto landmarks, old movie stars, vintage maps – there’s something for everyone.

PRICE RANGE: $-$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: You’ll be supporting a local female artist!

WHAT WE LIKE: I’ve been eyeing several of these for years, but found they were usually a little out of my price range. However, that was when I came across them in stores – I just realized you can buy from her site at about half of what I’d always seen them for before, and I may have to redo all my cushions! I love pop art but you don’t find a lot of it locally made, so I’m happy to add these to my already massive pillow collection.

5. True Vintage Serving-ware
Ethel 20th Century Living

This mid century piece is a great way to hint, “invite me over more!”

ABOUT: “Ethel – 20th Century Living is a vintage furniture, lighting and accessories store in the East Danforth neighbourhood in Toronto.

After helping to establish “Retro Row” in Leslieville 20 years ago, Ethel was starting to show her age. After the store changed ownersip in October 2009, it conducted business in the original location for 3 more years, and in May 2012, Ethel moved to Corktown. In the fall of 2016, we decided to close our bricks and mortar location at 327 Queen St. East, and now, two years later, we have a new home at 1781 Danforth Ave.

Owner Shauntelle LeBlanc has re-established Ethel’s brand as a store for outstanding vintage modern furniture, lighting & accessories. The store’s focus is on affordable vintage because you should enjoy your furniture, feel free to put your feet up on it and certainly not feel like you’re living in a museum (or magazine spread…unless that’s your thing, and in that case, Ethel is cool with that too).

We’re a proud Canadian indie boutique, and along with classic American & Scandinavian design, you’ll also find Canadian Mid-century pieces here. Sure, we all love Eames, Nelson & Knoll, but have you heard of Russell Spanner, Lotte Lamps or Clairtone? 

Vintage is nearly always one of a kind so our merchandise is constantly changing. You might find a complete Brady Bunch kitchen in here, or maybe a film noir detective movie set, complete with tanker desks & typewriters. Ethel has a little bit everything, from gondola sofas and teak dining sets to oddball pieces like 80s Russian propaganda posters and vintage tiki mugs.

Along with 20th century furniture, lighting and accessories, we also carry new products by RetroVerte, Umlaut Brooklyn, and more.”

PRICE RANGE: $-$$$

SOCIAL IMPACT: A local, female-run boutique selling vintage – sustainable in many ways.

WHAT WE LIKE: There are MANY vintage shops in the city (though sadly, not as many as there once were) and I have my favourites for various things. Ethel’s is where I go for mid century. You can rely on finding a lamp, vase, serving piece etc. from the 50s-60s there, likely in whatever colour you’re looking for. She often has a selection of small retro furniture as well, like card tables and chairs.

Have something you think should be on our list?
Let us know in the comments.

How To Find The Perfect Vintage Lingerie

Get some tips and tricks for finding the perfect vintage lingerie for this week’s #sustainablesunday!

If you’re a fan of true vintage clothing, chances are at some point or another you’ve tried something on, and even if it fits, thought “something isn’t right…

Chances are, the thing you’re lacking is the right underclothes.

Vintage women’s clothing was made with the assumption that you were wearing specific garments underneath – chances are this included a corset or girdle. While the styles changed with the decades, the desire to shape the female form into something it was not stayed fairly consistent through the 20th century (and before). You can read about the changing styles in our previous post, here.

A late 1930s girdle advertisement.

The same can be said, though to a far lesser extent, about men’s clothing. If you’ve ever tried to put on a pair of vintage trousers over some baggy boxers, you’ll know what I mean. Similarly, a lot of shirts look strange without an undershirt underneath as their fabric is too transparent, and even then it is clear they assumed you’d wear a jacket or blazer, otherwise the outline of the undershirt is clearly seen.

When we did The Rear Window back in 2019, we visited Gigi’s House of Frills to learn all about vintage underthings, and I can tell you the difference to silhouette is incredible. While the dresses already looked lovely on our actors, the addition of a bullet bra and girdle stepped it up to Hollywood glam levels.

There are many places in the city and online where you can find authentic vintage lingerie, but I highly recommend your first stop be Gigi’s. She is not only lovely and knowledgeable, she carries the widest range of sizes I have ever seen for underwear and lingerie. If she doesn’t have true vintage in your size she will have a modern alternative that is sure to work.

When it comes to buying vintage lingerie, there’s a few quick tips I would share to make the process go smoothly;

  1. Sizes Change: sizing hasn’t always been standardized, and when looking at vintage patterns or clothes sometimes the number can be a bit of a shock to your system because you’re judging it by the sizes we use today. If you can’t try something on, make sure to at least read the measurements and not assume that the number listed will give you an accurate idea of fit. For example, this helpful article explains how someone who was a size 14 in 1937 would be a size 8 in 1967 and a 0 today.
  2. Most People Were Shorter: we tend to think that everyone was smaller “back in the day”, but that’s not really true. Just as slim men and women today get more representation in the media and in stores, the same could be said for the 1920s, 40s, 50s etc. So while data suggests that there are more overweight people now than there were then, that isn’t to say that everyone was super tiny like the actors we picture from golden age Hollywood. Rather, the materials we have left today are more likely to be what was most produced then, and so it’s easier to find pictures of slim people, and clothing in smaller sizes. It’s really a numbers game. What has increased across the board (in Canada at least) is people’s average height. This means when you are shopping for vintage stockings or girdles, if you’re on the taller side (as I am), it can be hard to find something with the right fit. I often find my torso is a bit too long for pieces I would otherwise be able to fit. I don’t have any great advice for this other than to just remind yourself that there’s nothing wrong with you if you’re having trouble finding something that works, it was just made for someone at a very different time.
  3. Fabrics Were Different: those of you old enough to remember the days before lycra in jeans will have an easier time with the unmovable, unforgiving fabrics from days of yore, but today most clothing is made with so much stretch we don’t have to give much thought to the fit provided it is in our size. Compared to Spanx, vintage girdles can feel like a bit of a torture device, but when you get used to getting them on and off many people find the fit not at all uncomfortable, and I think they do a FAR better job at shaping, if that’s what you’re going for. If you’re new to vintage shape wear go for something that is adjustable, whether with lacing or multiple hooks, as even something that “fits” can be a bit extreme for someone new to the game. And if you see something that says it was “cut on the bias”, that’s a good thing. That’s the old-timey way of making something have a bit of give, and is the closest you’ll find to stretchy material in a lot of vintage wear.

So there you have it! A quick rundown on vintage underclothes. They’re fun, they’re glamourous, and they’re sustainable because as we always say, the most sustainable item is the one that already exists. So shop vintage.

Sustainable Sunday – Mend & Make Do

Fast fashion is killing the planet – learn how to “mend and make do” to get the most out of your clothes.

When I was a kid, my mom bought everything about 10 sizes too big – “you’ll grow into it!” she’d insist over my groans, and I would head off to school with about a foot of denim rolled at my ankles.

I really am only exaggerating a little.

It may have been an annoyance then, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found the value in making things last as long as they possibly can, and have realized that that habit was passed down not just by my mother, but from hers who grew up during the depression, and my grandmother’s mother who grew up at the turn of the (last) century, and likely for years before that.

Mothers have been following the “mend and make do” adage for generations.

You’ve likely rolled your eyes after hearing someone older say, “they just don’t make things like they used to!”, and admittedly, there are many things we have today that are better than what we had a generation ago: clothing is not one of those things.

Fast fashion is killing the environment. And no, that’s not as outrageous as it sounds when you break it down:

  • North Americans send over 10 million tonnes of clothing to the landfill every year, 95% of which could be reused or recycled
  • One trillion kilowatt hours are used by the global textiles industry every year, which amounts to roughly 10% of the world’s global carbon impact
  • It takes 2,650L of water to produce one cotton t-shirt, which is basically the equivalent of 28 baths
  • It is estimated 17-20% of total industrial water pollution comes from textile dyeing and treatment

Personally, I’ve always been someone who washed my stuff in cold and hung it to dry. I take care of my clothes and that’s why, at 30(+) I still have things I wore at 14 that are in great shape. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for some of what I’ve bought the past few years, much of which has barely lasted a season. And it’s not about the quality, or, at least not the price. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried to buy better quality items in hopes that they will last, but really I have found that rarely do price and quality have any clear connection. A lot of the time, a shirt I’ve spent $60 on falls apart faster than one I’ve bought for $10.

So, what do we do?

For my part, being a vintage fan, I think there are 2 great ways to go – buying vintage clothing and mending what you already have.

This week we’ll focus on mending.

Don’t worry, I’m not much of a sewer myself, so I’m going to do a brief run-down of how to determine what can be mended and how, and then maybe at a later date I’ll get someone more skilled to show how you can really step it up a notch.

The first thing you need to do is identify what needs to be done.

What Needs Fixin’

Sounds obvious, but I don’t just mean find where the tear is. Think about what you really need to have repaired, and why. Got a hole in your jeans? Does it matter? Some people pay extra for that. Got a hole in a blouse? Do you wear it under a sweater or jacket? Maybe a quick fix to stop it from getting worse is enough. Is it something that will definitely be seen? A better quality repair is needed. Sure that it’s beyond repair? Think about whether someone else would feel the same (can you donate it to a thrift store, or a theatre company?), whether you can reuse it in another way (cut up could it make a cute headband? a pillow?) or how you can recycle it (like through our Value Village FunDrive).

On The Mend

Once you’ve determined the spot that needs fixing, you need to figure out what kind of fix it needs. Are you going to be adding material to create a patch? Stitching to repair a hem or a seam? Doing an invisible mend by darning? To determine what path to choose you need to know, a. the end result you want, and, b. the material you are working with. So let’s break some of that down.

mending silk

How to Mend Silk Lingerie in 2 Steps (Without Using a Needle and Thread!)
Use fusible material to repair delicate silk

Silk is a delicate, natural fibre harvested from the cocoons of silk worms. It’s breathable, beautiful, and notoriously difficult to repair. But if you find yourself with some damaged silk, don’t despair. While the chance of a totally invisible repair is slim, fusible fabric placed on the inside of the garment can save many pieces, like the vintage lingerie in this article. Fusible interfacing is not a difficult thing to use but can still be an easy thing to mess up: make sure you read the instructions twice, watch the temperature of your iron, and take your time so you don’t make the damage even worse. If you have a steady hand and some sewing experience, you can try to take a hidden piece of fabric from your garment and patch it with the same, but don’t try this if you’re not a sewer, it’s finicky work. Along with rips or tears, snags are a common problem with silk: this post gives a detailed breakdown of how to fix them, and why you should do that before it turns into something bigger, like a hole.

MENDING denim

Jeans Tips: Easy Ways to Patch Your Jeans - WeAllSew
Creative denim fix with embroidery

Pure denim is a very sturdy material, created in the mid-19th century for use as workwear. But most of the denim we get today is a blend, often containing lycra or some other flexible material to make them stretchy and form-fitting and that has the unfortunate side effect of being more prone to damage. This article shares several ways you can repair your denim, whether you want to try to stitch an invisible seam or play up the patch with some sashiko embroidery.

mending knits

Mending A Knitted Sweater - PermAdventure
Darning can save a damaged knit

You’ve likely heard someone talk about “darning socks” but if you’re under 40, there’s a good chance you don’t have a clear vision of what that really is. Out of all the clothing I buy socks are easily what I have to replace the most, and it’s frustrating because it feels like I need to buy them every year. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to my favourite clothes, and as nearly all my socks have some kind of strange pattern or design on them, I really do hold on to them until there’s nothing left (some are basically anklets by the time I throw them out). But back when our socks were a little bulkier and knit it was not uncommon to patch up those holes to make them last another season. This site explains how to darn, fix a tear with felted wool and mend with thread – great advice for anything from socks to sweaters.

mending cashmere

REPAIR - Invisible Mending of Cashmere | Our Blog
Invisible repair on cashmere.

Like silk, cashmere is delicate and expensive, and until recently I would have thought there wasn’t a good way to fix it – then I came across this YouTube tutorial on how to repair cashmere with fusing powder and chopped up fibres from elsewhere on the garment. Pretty cool stuff.

***

There are countless other fabrics out there but I think this range will give you a good idea of the basic mending techniques available, and what types of materials they work best on. Basically you can patch it – with either an invisible, or a visible, decorative patch – or stitch it – with an invisible stitch or embroidery. I have a pile of mending I’ve been meaning to get to for ages, so when I finally pull it out I’ll be sure to record my progress, regardless of how it goes.

Have any of your own tips for mending garments?
Let us know in the comments.

Modern Vintage Style (The Sustainable Way)

Can’t find the real thing for your authentic vintage look? Check out these modern retailers who are working to keep the style alive while keeping sustainability in mind.

Can’t find the real thing for your authentic vintage look? Check out these modern retailers who are working to keep the style alive while keeping sustainability in mind.

Besame Cosmetics

Created by artist and cosmetic historian Gabriela Hernandez, Besame has a line of truly beautiful reproduction makeup. From authentic period styled false lashes to collections celebrating icons like Marilyn Monroe, you can be sure to find a little vintage something to dress up your vanity and your face. The best part? Besame is creating with sustainability in mind, so you can replace makeup pans without tossing away a whole plastic compact. Plus, their makeup is cruelty free: read their blog post to learn more about that and why it’s so important.

LBCC Historical Apothecary

This company’s motto of “live natural, be historical” truly is the best way of describing their shop. LBCC creates organic, eco-friendly makeup, skin and hair care products based off historical recipes dating from the Regency Era up the the 1930s. Their work is meticulously researched and perfect for anyone who truly wants an authentic vintage experience. Their products feature copies of the original labels, so they look very sweet on a vintage vanity as well. Because they have few ingredients, they tend to be good for those of us with sensitive skin – I haven’t had a reaction to anything I’ve bought from them. And the prices are incredible, they are clearly a group doing this for the pure love of it.

Sheertex

There are times we’re lucky enough to stumble across a vintage pair of thigh-highs, and if you’re like me you wince every time you pull them on, worrying that they will snag and run. By and large stockings and pantyhose are not as common as they once were, but I think most of us who wear skirts or dresses have a pair or two tucked in the drawer for certain occasions. That’s where Sheertex comes in. Yes, they are very expensive, but these babies WILL NOT RIP. You can see on their site the many trials they put them through and I don’t know what magic they’ve used, but I’m here for it. The best part? They make a sheer, backseam thigh high that’s perfect for us vintage lovers.

Sustainable Communities – Kanata Trade Co.

Kanata Trade Co. is an Indigenous run Canadian organization that sells products design by Indigenous artists, and donates profits to help support the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

Likely, when most of us hear the word “sustainable” we picture solar panels and wind turbines, keeping plastic out of the ocean and other sorts of “green” practises: all of these are important, but sustainability is about so much more.

The United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals are targets made to lead our world towards peace and prosperity for all, and while that may feel like a colossal task no one person could take on, it’s actually really simple for all of us to take small steps that can help lead our community down the right path. Today we’re going to focus on the community aspect of the SDGs, but you can see our entire commitment laid out on our website.

Kanata Trade Co. is an Indigenous run Canadian organization that sells products designed by a range of Indigenous artists. On their site, it reads;

Indigenous communities in Canada are a central part of our history. At this unprecedented time they are uniquely effected by Covid-19. Our community wants to help everyone.
Our proposition is simple; buying a mask keeps you safe and the profits support Indigenous communities.

Not only does this mean Indigenous artists are getting royalties for their work, but the profits are going towards Indspire, a registered charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. Kanata Trade Co.’s founders write:

We are twin Inuit sisters both attending Queen’s Univeristy.  Our journey has been made possible thanks to the help of Indspire.

Like many indigenous students,  Indspire supported us through their bursary program and also through their mentorship.  We were able to have a much fulfilled college experience as a result of their assistance.

Now that we are nearing the end of our studies, we would like to give back to Indspire so that more indigenous students can also have the opportunity to attend colleges and universities.

Indspire is an Indigenous national charity that invests in the education of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people for the long-term benefit of these individuals, their families and communities, and Canada.

All profits from the sale of the masks will be going to Indspire (www.indspire.ca).  Our supplier will also pay royalties to the artists for the use of their artwork on the masks.

Please purchase an indigenous art face mask and share this site with your colleagues, friends and families so that we can together support indigenous students together.

Kanata Trade Co.

Personally, I think the patches are my favourite, they feature beautiful designs by artists like Sioux Native Artist Maxine Noel and Yellowknives’ Dene Native Artist Dawn Oman. But they also offer beautifully designed masks (like it or not, we’ll be wearing them for a while still, might as well invest in a nice one!), puzzles, shirts, pins, cards, hats and eco-friendly bags (I’m hoping the John Rombough one comes back in stock).

Quality education is a key to a sustainable community, and that’s what charities like Indspire, and the groups that support them, like Kanata Trading Co. are helping to provide.

When we support the artists in our community we give them the opportunity to expand and grow, and that in turn feeds back into the community they came from. So if you’re looking to treat yourself to a new book or accessory, or you’re starting to think about holiday shopping, be sure to check out Kanata Trade Co. You can find them on Instagram and Facebook – be sure to give them a follow & a like, help spread the word and support your community for #SustainableSunday!

E.