In a recent comment, LC of Naturally Cycling: Manchester made a great point, saying:
I have made a conscious decision of buying less but buying good quality and ethically made. So I would be happy to pay more for an item of clothing if I know (and it’s certified) that it’s made ethically, for example the workers are paid a fair living wage, the materials are of certified origins (i.e. organic cotton, fair trade etc).
If the price tag is high just because it’s ‘fashion’, then no, I am not willing to shell out so much money. But if it means workers have not been exploited then yes.
I totally agree with this philosophy. Buying fewer things that are high quality and ethically made makes sense all around. Although I sometimes slip up, I try to apply this reasoning to all my purchases. (I sort of get a free pass at thrift stores, which is one reason thrifting is so fun.)
In this spirit, while visiting Marche Bonsecours in Montreal, I purchased a dress that was designed and made in the city. The price was high compared to a mass market dress, but I was willing to pay more to support a local Montreal designer. Plus, bicycle print!
The designer is Eve Lavoie. I could not find much about her online, except this shop that sells her clothing.
Do you have a shopping philosophy?
En route home to Chicago from Dublin, I had an unexpected side trip to Montreal. My flight from London was delayed, causing me to miss my connection from Montreal to Chicago – the last of the day. Air Canada comped my hotel and meals, so although I was exhausted and ready to be home, I embraced the opportunity to see Montreal for the first time.
In the morning, I woke early and Mr. Dottie and I set off to spend three hours wandering around downtown before we had to catch the 1:45 flight home. The weather was perfect – warm and sunny. Armed with a map, complete with Bixi bikeshare station locations, we planned to pick up Bixi’s at Parc LaFontaine and ride along a protected cycle track to the Old Town area, ending at Marche Bonsecours.
We arrived at the park and wandered around looking for the Bixi station for a good 15 minutes. (Montreal peeps know where this is going…) We were so confused, standing exactly where the map said the Bixi station should be. Finally I asked a woman walking by with a bike where we could find the station and she informed us – oh, the bike share? – Bixi does not open until April.
Sad about not being able to ride a bike (no time to track down a bike rental store), we instead walked the planned route, which was also a great way to take in the city sights.
The feel of the city is unique. The old buildings and French language contributed to a European feel, but overall it felt more like Chicago than Paris. I imagined an idyllic bicycling paradise, while in reality it was more…real. A big city with a lot going on. There were many cyclists and some cycle tracks, but also a lot of motor vehicle traffic. The number and types of people bicycling seemed similar to those in Chicago.
Since I could not ride a bike there, I compensated by buying a bicycle t-shirt. It says in French, “Ceci n’est pas une bicyclette,” which Trisha assured me is an arty little meme, nothing dirty.
I also bought a lovely bicycle-print dress at Marche Bonsecours that was designed and made in Montreal. I love the dress and I’ll definitely post about it later.
I enjoyed the unexpected side trip to Montreal. I only wish I had time to plan ahead, see more of the city, ride a bike, and meet up with some locals. Next time!