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The Best Way To Shop Vintage In Montreal, According To A Vintage Store CEO

Co-founder AND CEO, thank you very much.

Two customers pose outside of Club Theos Montreal. Right: Merchandise inside Theos' sister store, Thea.

Two customers pose outside of Club Theos Montreal. Right: Merchandise inside Theos' sister store, Thea.

Montreal's fashion scene is renowned for a reason — the creativity and dedication of style-savvy people across the city. Two such people are behind one of the city's most Instagram-famous vintage and streetwear stores, and one co-founder had a lot to say about the scene in Montreal.

Rudy Rabanera, David Rabanera, Raymond Malong and Michael Cadano co-founded Club Theos Montreal, which focuses on selling streetwear, sneakers and vintage pieces in the Plateau. There's also a sister store, Thea, but both sell clothing to all genders. In a phone call with MTL Blog, Rudy, who serves as Club Theos' CEO, said the stores' blend of archival items and brand-new designs draws inspiration from the scene in New York.

Like other small brands, Theos started out selling at Marché Floh , a vintage- and streetwear-oriented market that offers space for resellers. One of Rudy's favourite stores in the area also got its start at Marché Floh. It's called Palmo Goods, and it's only a few blocks away from Theos' storefront.

"They always did great work," Rudy said of Palmo Goods, "[...] great branding and marketing and it shows in their store right now."

Palmo, like Theos, is pretty new — but that's just a reflection of Montreal's vintage and streetwear scenes, according to Rudy. "It's pretty young," he said, crediting much of the creativity and vibrancy of Montreal's fashion scene to its "melting pot" of cultures, including European, Canadian, québécois and American influences in one close — and "avant-garde" — community.

"I think that just creates an incredible hub for fashion to thrive," Rabanera added.

But fashion isn't a monolith: it's made of individual people making their own creative choices. When asked his advice for shopping thrift and vintage, Rudy emphasized that personal touch. "Don't follow the trend," he told MTL Blog. "When you're shopping these unique pieces, shop what you like."

The bottom line? "It's better to be happy than well-dressed."

As for the future of Montreal's vintage scene, Rudy is hopeful, seeing parallels between the Ville Marie and San Francisco. "It's a mix of resell and recycling, reusing," he said. "The cycle of clothes is just extended." The process he envisions involves people buying new, high-quality pieces, then selling to resellers, who pass the clothing on to another person, who then reintroduces the piece into the vintage ecosystem. "The cycle of that piece will just keep going," he said.

"You're supporting less of the fast fashion industry and giving a life to all these really, really good materials," Rudy added.

"It's not only about the environment. It's also about these pieces that last."

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