Canadian Queer-owned Boutiques and Brands to Know
Thirty days just isn’t enough time to celebrate the LGBTQIA2S+ community. Luckily, what started as Pride Month in June has blossomed into Pride season with celebrations taking place across the country all summer long. And if you’re looking for a surefire way to show your support, apart from attending all the events, we suggest shopping Canadian queer-owned brands and boutiques. From vintage treasures to parade must-haves, here are a few of our favourite companies to check out.
Toronto’s upcycled gender-fluid clothing brand Gorm, designed by Bianca Daniela Nachtman, is a favourite of club kids, art school queers and drag performers. Gorm manages to be both provocative and demure, with its pillow sets turned mini-dresses and a collection of fringed cowboy hats that even musician Orville Peck would covet. If you’re looking for an outfit that channels your inner dancing queen, Gorm’s got you covered.
Chip’s Vintage is owned by Andrew Chipman, a former fashion blogger who turned his love of thrift shopping into a career by opening this beloved Winnipeg boutique. The shop is filled with vintage clothes for folks of all genders and curated with an eye for streetwear trends. Chipman regularly drops branded merch ranging from upcycled and embroidered workwear to the Chip’s Cowboy Tee 2.0, which features a pair of cowboys embracing à la Brokeback Mountain. What says Prairie Pride better than two hunky stockmen framed by a heart twirled out of a rancher’s rope?
Vancouver’s Peau de Loup was well ahead of the curve when it started selling gender-neutral clothing back in 2012. Ten years ago, founders Adelle Renaud and Erin McLeod created their own fit system that favours body shape and size over gender. While the boutique caters to all, its approach has made it a favourite of lesbians, non-binary folks and trans men whose needs and bodies aren’t often considered by mainstream menswear brands and retailers. Think of it as borrowed from the boys but without any notions of patriarchal dressing.
Andrew Coimbra started in menswear, but the Toronto-based designer is now helping male shoppers step outside their comfort zone with adventurous designs that embrace both masculinity and femininity. In fact, he’s done away with menswear altogether, opting to split his designs into womenswear and genderless collections. Watch for Coimbra’s Spring 2022 assortment, which includes Pride-ready turtlenecks in terrazzo prints.
Designer Evan Ducharme’s ethos is to meld Metis iconography with contemporary made-to-order garments that are created in the historic Metis community of St. Ambroise, Man., in Treaty 1. The fiercely political talent draws on their ancestral ties to the Metis, Cree, Ojibwe and Saulteaux peoples to create clothing that aims to celebrate contemporary Indigeneity, honour the environment and reclaim Indigenous sexualities. While their offering ranges from ready-to-wear to accessories, Ducharme’s eveningwear is worthy of a Pride gala or even a queer wedding as the custom bridal designs are exquisite!
Designed by a queer couple in Prince Edward Island, Ureshii’s creations are carefree and cozy. Whether you are soaking up the summer sun at a backyard Pride BBQ or bingeing Queer Eye on the couch, the label will make a custom fit just for you — you even get to choose the fabric. As a nod to the community, Ureshii also offers a sewing pattern for a binder (a compression undergarment used to bind and flatten the chest) to download from its site free of charge.
All that glitters
Whether you’re out at a fabulous Pride party or making a style statement at a drag brunch, Mayer’s luxe looks will make you shine like a disco ball. The Toronto-based non-binary fashion house recently collaborated with American television host and personality Ross Mathews on a set of sequined confections. The collections were designed by Ross Mayer (who also has an eponymous womenswear line), and the proceeds from each will go toward helping the charity Rainbow Railroad’s mission of bringing queer refugees to safety worldwide.
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