Pop-up shop arrives in Hamilton

May 18, 2011

Text by Justine Woolcott.

Photos by Rhonnie Cockshutt.

A monthly art crawl in downtown Hamilton received a fashion facelift with the arrival of a pop-up shop this past weekend.

Six stores from across Ontario banded together to bring Canadian and international fashion to the James Street North art crawl.

Held in a large donated space, the aesthetic of each store fit in nicely with the space. White tiled ceilings, hardwood floors and an exposed brick wall complemented the collection of soft and edgy clothing that shoppers were able to find.

Preloved, a store based in Toronto and Montreal, offered visitors clothing made of reworked vintage fabrics. Shoppers were also picked through Fieldguided’s unique collection of totes, YarnOverMovement’s vintage-inspired knits and Victoire’s collection of Canadian-made clothing and jewelry.

Event attendees received large discounts on merchandise from past seasons, and stores, such as Robber, offered brand new clothing that hadn’t yet been brought out to their Toronto store.

Some shoppers also received an extra gift for braving the rainy weather. The first 25 people to visit the pop-up were given gift bags courtesy of Hamilton-based shop White Elephant, which is located across the street from where the event was held.

The new addition to the art crawl appeared to have been a success for all the participating exhibitors.

“Saturday was so busy with people coming through to … see the shops together,” said Régine Paquette, co-owner of Ottawa-based Victoire.

Customers headed to the event from all over the province.

There was a lot of interesting overlap too. For example, YarnOverMovement’s owner Tara-Lynn Morrison said some people told her they had bought her pieces in Victoire’s shops in Ottawa, while Robber co-owner Erin Hall said she recognized several groups of people from Toronto.

The two-day event was a result of Victoire’s online friendship with White Elephant. Paquette and co-owner Katie Frappier visited Hamilton for the first time in March to see a similar art crawl.

“Holly and Jane from White Elephant were so keen to show off the city to us. And we just fell in love with it,” said Frappier.

“It’s just so amazing to be in a city that is so supportive and so excited about things happening in it.”

While the girls were touring the city, they said they were eventually shown a space at 118 James St. N. and that is when they knew they were coming back.

Tim Potocic, co-owner of Sonic Unyon, loaned the large storefront to the shops for the weekend, says Paquette. Sonic Unyon is an independent recording label that is located around the corner from the pop-up shop’s location.

Although Paquette and Frappier said the initiative began as their ‘brainchild,’ they added that it quickly turned into a team project.

“Fieldguided did the poster design, while Preloved and Robber worked the Toronto press angle,” said Frappier.

After a successful weekend, Hamilton shoppers can expect to see a similar event in the future. Most of the stores involved said they would love to come back to the city, as it was a fun event and the visitors made the inaugural pop-up shop a hit.

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