To thank our supporters for all of their help this year, we have offered to conduct interviews with them that we will post in the weeks prior to the event. For our first interview, I’d like to introduce you to Tiffany from Quartier Mode, who has hosted a fundraiser for us and has offered us to use her shop as a drop off point for all of your donations.
" Everyday comes with its own challenges. But what I like best is the immediate reward, when a customer is really happy" - Tiffany from Quartier Mode
Quartier mode is located at 4276 St-Laurent, and dropoff hours up until July 22nd, are:
Mon – Wed: 12pm – 7pm
Thurs – Fri: 12pm – 8pm
Sat – Sun: 11am – 5pm
Quartier Mode is located at 4276 St-Laurent Blvd.
When would you say are the fashion world’s peak moments during the year?
I don’t follow too much the “fashion world” anymore. I’ve been mega focused on our own little local fashion community. I haven’t really been obeying the typical Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter calendar’s either. Some of our designers make items as they are inspired. I try to treat each month as its own different little fashion season. For me, every time I found a new, talented designer, or when they presented themselves to me, or anytime a customer said, “Oh, I don’t know this one” and I could introduce them to something new in the local fashion world, those were big peak moments for me.
I did however feel like Jeannie Becker retiring was a big thing. I had been watching her since I was a child. I was inspired by designers and it helped me see outside my small town, making me think that being a designer was attainable. So that was big. I guess people have to retire sometime.
What’s your definition of sustainable fashion?
I think of it like this: If we lost all contact to the outside world, like outside Montreal, and we had to rely on only our own resources, would we be able to still make it? I think self-reliant structures are key to sustainability. We have all the talent we need here to produce everything, we should be using it. It employs our local people, makes our local economy stronger, and makes us masters on a global playing field.
Do you consider Quartier Mode to be an eco-friendly boutique? If so, how?
Yes I do. A lot of our 37 designers tend to use eco fabrics anyhow. They maintain sustainable fashion practices by making their items locally. Our whole mission is to support the local designers and local production; so Yes, we are an eco-friendly boutique. Plus, they are all very friendly aside form being eco, so very eco-friendly.
How would you like to see the fashion industry change over the next ten years? How do you think they should do it?
I want more production done locally, so that more local designers are encouraged and supported to make it to the customers! I want consumers to realize the impact that their purchasing choices have on their community and how supporting local could help so much. I would like to see people move to quality, not quantity and being responsible for what they do with their clothing when it’s done, either by swapping it or recycling it instead of hucking it in a land fill. There is so much waste, with clothing being one of the top items filling up landfills since they are mass produced items that break in two weeks later, or fade quickly. It is so pointless and disappointing.
We should all learn how to take proper care of our garments too and learn how to mend them so they last longer. Our grandmothers can teach us these things or someone in our community who knows how to. It all has to do with buying local and supporting local businesses really, such as the tailor on the corner, the designer in our neighborhoods, etc. That is why I used Quartier Mode. They are the ladies riding by us on their bicycles on the street, or those who we pass in the grocery store, it’s neighborhood fashion.
What’s a day In Quartier Mode like?
I start by checking emails, filling on-line orders, and drinking a huge coffee then I open, and greet customers as they come in. I always have list of thing to do, but no matter it is always a wild card kind of day. I never really know who I will encounter or what styling challenges I will face. There is always something new to learn or someone new to meet.
I love finding a new talent and giving them valuable feedback from customers to designers. I also love talking to people and helping them find the right item based on their life, finding who they are, and making people feel beautiful. Everyday comes with its own challenges. But what I like best is the immediate rewards, when a customer is really happy. I love connecting with people and helping them define their personal style or helping someone overcome a personal issue with their body by putting them in the right fit. When I start to know a customer well enough to see new styles coming in and knowing the ones they will like, I get excited. I want people to be happy and I want to be apart of their happiness in some small way. I want to give the support I always wanted as a designer and as a shopper.
At night I stay late and re-stock and/or lately making patterns for clothing and think about the day. Knowing that I tried my best and was true to my morals and our mission makes me happy. Then, I drink Valerian tea and try to leave work at work.
What designers do you sell in your boutique?
To name a few, we had Meemoza, Remy & Mercy, Rififi, Camz, Sandrine Devost, Kollette, Mizdragonfly, Naike, Alice & Alishka, Les Enfants Sauvages, huard et associes, noujica, atelier b, Birds of North America, Dfly, Et isemerie Crea, Self made, cocolilly, pattern recognitions, preloved, Jennifer Glasgow, Hanami, atelier make, Genevieve savard, deborah adams, JJ louis, blank, sosiesosie, allison wonderland, ramonalisa, Les ballades de florence, Aria bijoux, Missy industry’s Black Light collection, Virginie Millefiori, and Noir de Mars. Plus in the Fall, we are launching a few new designers, such as Dawcy & Ella, Dear Dawcy, and we are also getting Paper People clothing, Broken Doll and more.
We opened in September with 13, now we have about 37 local designers and more from independent designers across Canada.
What sales or deals do you have now?
We have hand bag designer Noir de mars’ new collection and launch party coming up on June 28th! Also in the last weekend of august, we have discounts on local designer past season collections, and of course our spring/summer end of season sales. Every month we have different events!
Tell us about the history of your boutique. How was it founded? What was the idea behind it? How did u start working here? (if the interviewed person is not the owner/founder)
It was founded by myself and a co-worker day dreaming, we were both working in between jobs and making our designs at night. We both moved here over a decade ago and we’re still trying to make it. We knew a lot of designers who were struggling like us, unable to break in and find financing to make enough stock to supply stores to even get really started. So the name came from trying to find a name for some sort of event to promote local designers. We started doing pop-up shops in other people’s stores to promote local designers.
When I got laid off, I took it as a sign and I started the SAJE program, a business development program. The business plan took on many forms over that year. I spent a lot of time obsessing and researching. But in the end, based on all my research and thinking long and hard on how I wanted to spend my days and on how I wanted to spend the rest of my life, and what was really important to me, I came up with the store/web store/blog concept.
I must have presented to about 15 different organizations until I got enough financing to start the store and it has been go go go ever since. Since then my friend who helped come up with the original idea, finished her textile degree and will be launching her first big collection by the end of this month in the store. She also works here part time.
What plans do you have for the future?
Just building our customer base and selling more for the designers. I started working with a great team to make the web store huge; reaching international markets that will sell a lot more of our designers items and really get them out there. That is coming along. I aim to do bigger events in the future for our designers as well, and build the blog up more to promote them even better. I am also still working on my line of clothing slowly too, within that I have lots of things going on.
If you had all the power of the world how would you change the fashion world?
If I had all the money in the world to change it, I would keep doing what I am doing. The only thing I would like is to reach our goals more quickly by hiring on the right people for our team so that we could do a lot more in a quicker way and bring on a lot more designers! I would also start supporting new designers by funding their first production runs and offer mentoring to get them going! I would love that!
What is your favorite fashion star? Who inspires you?
My grandmother. She has such lady like elegant style and makes all her own clothing, she used to sing on CBC radio and has all sorts of elaborate pieces she made to her normal ensembles.
Also the ladies who come into the store. From their feedback, or what they have on, and how they wear items. I always keep a sketch book near by. They get my wheels turning. I am constantly thinking on how can I improve or build on this, looking at vintage fashion. I design based on construction and how to make cuts most flattering on the body. All the designers in the store also inspire me, they all have such unique styles of their own. It is nice to see the depth in which they delve into their concepts and how they will re-invent it every season or with each creation. No one can be anyone else, so I am so inspired by all their different evolutions too.
Describe us your ideal customer. Who is your boutique for?
All types of women. We have customers ranging from the age of 18 to 65. But also, a woman who enjoys quality and loves to feel beautiful.