La Vegan Baddie Montreal vintage thrifting

La Vegan Baddie founder Shanique Morris

Montreal vintage resellers and upcyclers allow locals to thrift for gold

We spoke to the founders of la Vegan Baddie and Poison Thrift about making dreams come true during hard times.

When the pandemonium hit, the popular pastime of thrifting was rudely interrupted, forcing many young shoppers to find new ways of getting their vintage fix.

When thrifting kings and queens fell into despair, platforms like Depop and Instagram’s new shopping feature were there. According to ThredUp’s resale report, 74% of 18-29-year-olds would rather shop more sustainably, which brings us to vintage reselling. 

This vacuum allowed many vintage resellers to thrive despite the pandemic. Not only was it becoming trendy to shop more local and second-hand, but it was now the only way of getting your hands on vintage gems. When I say local, we are speaking in broad terms — the main way of shopping is still to buy from major companies such as Nike, H&M, Zara, ASOS and other popular online retailers. 

Currently, there is a concentration of young people looking towards resellers, mainly those from their own country. According to the latest Statista report, the second-hand market in 2020 was valued at $22-billion U.S., while the resale market sat at $10-billion U.S., a 29.4% increase in size since 2017. 

Montreal thrift vintage thrifting
Ivy Dewar of Poison Thrift outside Floh Market (Montreal vintage resellers and upcyclers allow locals to thrift for gold)

Reselling isn’t necessarily a new form of shopping. Depop and Poshmark launched their platforms in 2011, and ThredUp has been around since 2009. But what has shifted is the sense of accomplishment from the customer — when you find the perfect piece without contributing to the planet’s inevitable doom. 

These new shops also sometimes gear themselves towards a specific aesthetic. Shanique Morris, creator of la Vegan Baddie — an online store that concentrates on styles from the early 2000s — focuses on celebrating and bringing back brands that Black fashion icons like Beyoncé, Lil Kim and Alicia Keys have made popular. Some of the brands you can find on the shelves at Morris’s booth at MarktFloh include Bebe Phat, Juicy Couture and Apple Bottom Jeans. 

La Vegan Baddie carries “everything that was basically made in the late ’90s or early 2000s and was created by Black entrepreneurs.” This includes fashion entrepreneurs such as Kimora Lee Simmons, who created Bebe Phat, Telfar Clemens, who started his businesses in 2005, and Jay-Z and Damon Dash, who co-founded Rocawear in 1999.

For Morris, it is important to have an emphasis on the origin of the style. “I was actually born in that era. For me, it’s a little bit easier to connect and talk about (this style) or know about it more. You know, the Black culture popularized a lot of trends.”

“Anything that’s Bratz-inspired, kind of anything that’s from my childhood. That’s what I try to manifest a lot, because that’s what I try to base my shop off of,” says Morris.

After finding success in recent months, she quit her two jobs to focus on la Vegan Baddie full time. At the same time, her colleague was quitting her job to concentrate on her own brand, Poison Thrift. 

Ivy Dewar, better known on Instagram as Poison Thrift, draws inspiration from old-school tattoos and has a more ’90s-casual-streetwear vibe to her shelves. She is always on the lookout for authentic vintage pieces from brands like Doc Martens, Levis, Nike and Point Zero.

Montreal thrift vintage thrifting
Montreal vintage resellers and upcyclers allow locals to thrift for gold

The shop is a reflection of her closet: anything and everything that she would want to wear. But she doesn’t only thrift, she also upcycles items found on thrift runs. Upcycling is when you take a piece of clothing that may be boring or plain and turn it into something fun by getting crafty, doing things like cropping, painting something or screen-printing.

The first lockdown gave her time to perfect her craft. “That’s when I put a lot more time into upcycling. I travelled, too, and I was quarantined for 14 days. And I did so much upcycling then because I couldn’t really do anything else. I’ve been collecting all these blank items that are vintage that I wanted to upcycle, but I haven’t had the time. And I just took that time to really work on those and find a community.”


Most people who shop in these circles know there is a lot of hate towards resellers, particularly from people who have a problem with the pricing model. Because retailers source their items from places like Village des Valeurs or Fripe-prix Renaissance, many customers get upset about the resale price mark-up and the supposed “lack of good stuff” left for them when visiting the thrift store. 

“Kids are not getting it. They just feel like, you know, we’re just taking away from them!” says Morris.

In reality, there is no shortage of clothes to source from thrift stores. The average Canadian throws out 81 pounds of clothing each year, material that ends up in landfills. This is despite the fact that most of these items are reusable or recyclable; some could even be donated and bought off the racks of Village des Valeurs. However, of the clothes we do donate, only 10% get sold. While some of the remains are recycled into rags or household insulation, most of it ends up overseas in landfills dedicated to the overflow of donated clothes from North America.

Frequent shoppers will have noticed that prices at the average thrift store have risen, but not for the reasons you may think. Although the rise in popularity of thrifting may have incentivized retailers to increase their prices, there is no reasonable financial explanation for this uptick. As previously mentioned, it is not a question of supply and demand. Clearly, there is no shortage of donated clothes, so the argument of increasing prices because of limited stock cannot be made; supply still greatly outweighs demand in most markets.

Not unlike other private ventures, when faced with a rise in popularity and growth of their clientele, companies such as Village des Valeurs will price their items higher just because they can — they are capitalizing on a revenue opportunity as willing-to-pay has increased. They are taking advantage of the rise in ethical consumption.

But it would be wrong to blame normal people who are either making a living curating thrifted clothes for resale purposes or trying to ethically consume in an age of fast fashion and 20-second fads. 

Most of the hate these businesswomen receive comes in the form of comments asking why their prices are so high. Dewar recently experienced someone calling her out on Instagram. “They called me out because I had forgotten to take one of the Renaissance tags off of a pair of shoes. And the tag was $18.75, and my price for the shoes was $85,” says Dewar.  

This is the model that sellers have been using ever since resale platforms became popularized. “I’m not hiding the fact that I’m buying my stuff at a thrift store and flipping it,” she says. In fact, part of the appeal of shopping from specialized resellers is to avoid the lengthy digging for good finds in thrift stores, and guaranteeing you will find your desired look — not to mention the convenience of a one-stop-shop curated vintage store.

“All the time that goes into getting all the items, curating them, washing them, researching them; you have a whole list of things you have to do before you can actually even put it on the floor to sell.”


Even with the negative backlash, both women are sure they wouldn’t want to do anything else. Ever since she was young, Morris collected clothes from the thrift store, not really knowing what their future purpose would be. “The only way I could express myself was through, you know, going to the thrift and finding pieces that I may not see other people with.”

Montreal thrift vintage thrifting
Shopping at la Vegan Baddie (Montreal vintage resellers and upcyclers allow locals to thrift for gold)

A couple of  years ago, Morris didn’t even know of the reselling industry, but she was always collecting interesting pieces to add to her own collection. “I didn’t know that people were (reselling thrifted clothes). I was just (thrifting) because, you know, being a student and working a minimum wage, you know, it’s kind of hard to have nice clothing.”

When the opportunity to open a virtual store presented itself in the fall of 2019, Morris jumped at the chance, selling on social media platforms and at pop-up events. When the decision came to quit her day job, she knew it was time. “The owner of MarktFloh contacted me saying that she had an opportunity for me if I would be interested in selling in the shop, and I was like, ’Yeah, for sure.’ Like, that’s awesome. That’s what I really wanted — I manifested it.”

Dewar, on her end, always dreamed of investing herself in Poison Thrift full-time. “I said, ‘Maybe one day’ for six years and now my business is two years old. It could have been eight years old. I could have been way further in.”

Before going solo, Dewar had two business partners, and did reselling and upcycling part time. “As triple threat thrift, we were essentially us three, we’ve been friends for over 10 years. […] We all wanted to do this.”

The three shared a booth at Floh Market before going their separate ways. “We used to meet and we’d have creative days together, we would all upcycle together, obviously before COVID.”

When walking into the Floh Market store on St-Denis now, you’ll find a cozy atmosphere, with creatives everywhere. The Poison Thrift and la Vegan Baddie booths are located at the top of a large industrial staircase. You might just find the perfect pair of Doc Martens or Apple Bottom Jeans. ■

This feature originally appeared in the April 2021 issue of Cult MTL. For more about Montreal thrifting hotspots la Vegan Baddie and Poison Thrift, please visit their Instagram pages (here and here).

For more, please visit the Arts & Life section.