The Clarendon Trading Company recently reached a huge milestone by opening its second store location at the Scarborough Town Centre which could signal the beginning of second-hand clothing stores entering top-tier shopping centres. The location originally opened in November but has been closed for the past few months as Ontario grappled with yet another lockdown. The Scarborough Town Centre is once again open to the public and with it, The Clarendon Trading Company is open for business.
“Our specialty is vintage clothing. We focus on a lot of highly sought-after brands that our demographic is really interested in,” said Colette Liburd, co-owner and co-founder of the retailer.
“We also have some older vintage items.”
The brand was founded about five years ago with her co-founder.
“We were both just really into thrifting and vintage clothing and we kind of just did it more so for leisure purposes and then after a while we realized that a lot of other people were really interested in vintage clothing as well. So we started strictly an ecommerce business and began selling online,” said Liburd.
The first store opened in Markham in an industrial, commercial part of the city.
Liburd said the retailer is located in a “pretty good” part of the Scarborough Town Centre beside Walmart and Foot Locker in a high traffic area.
“It’s a beneficial area for us,” she said of the location which is just under 1,000 square feet.
“We source from a variety of different sources. We do a lot of estate sales and stuff like that where we purchase our clothing and we treat it and make sure that everything is laundered and in good condition and ready to go for resale,” said Liburd. “We literally source every single day from 6 a.m. to about noon. Just getting new inventory and stock. But all of our inventory is purchased. We don’t like to take any donations.
“We also do a lot of purchasing from other resellers. We do purchasing from other individuals looking to get rid of some of their clothing. We have to be a lot more creative in how we go about getting our inventory. That usually just requires a lot more manual labour and a lot more searching and hunting for our stock and inventory which is one of the reasons why we do it literally every day.”
Liburd said it’s a fairly new venture for a second-hand clothing store to go into a mall.
“For a very long period of time, vintage and sustainable fashion and anything that’s used has generally had a bit of a negative stigma. In a lot of areas unfortunately sometimes you’ll see it in just like strip malls, thrift stores and stuff like that and not something that’s in a mall and generally celebrated if I could say that,” she said.
“So it’s really nice to be kind of at the forefront of that and be in an establishment like Scarborough Town Centre which is a high traffic mall and one of the largest malls in Canada. So it is really nice to see that at least the public perception in terms of vintage and in terms of thrifted clothing and sustainable fashion is changing. And there are a lot of people and a lot of customers that are into malls and different areas seeking something that’s not just the normal fast fashion and easily accessible and easily replicated.
“A lot of our customers are looking for a truly unique piece, a unique piece of clothing, that is made to last, that is made with quality hence the reason it was made 25 years ago and it’s still lasting and in good quality to this day. It is a new thing and we’re really, really excited about it. We’re just hoping it continues and people start to become more and more receptive and open-minded to sustainable fashion and vintage.”
Liburd said the trend is growing, especially now, for consumers being interested in sustainable fashion and vintage clothing.
“In the past, at least for myself personally, one of the reasons I got into vintage clothing and thrifting is because it was a lot more affordable than buying something brand new. I think even that perspective speaks to a lot of people nowadays. Especially living somewhere like Toronto for example the cost of living is really high. So a lot of people are spending a large portion of the money that they do make on their basic needs of housing and food and stuff like that.
“Sometimes clothing even though in some ways it is a necessity it becomes a luxury because so much of your money is being dedicated to other aspects of your life. I think now in the current climate a lot of people are looking for ways to stretch their dollar a little bit more and get a little bit more for their money and still feel good, still feel comfortable and fashionable in what they are wearing. That’s one of the reasons it does speak to a lot of people nowadays. Young, old, middle-aged. We have a wide variety of people that are interested in becoming more and more interested in whether it be vintage or sustainable fashion and thrifted clothing.”
Liburd said the company does see additional locations opening in the future.
“For us we’re really trying to change how people view vintage and change how they view particularly thrifted or sustainable fashion. That it isn’t something you do out of desperation, but it can be something that you actually enjoy and you actually seek out which is why we feel like we do exist and have a great place in somewhere like a mall,” she added.