Vintage clothing stores have become increasingly popular over the past few years. According to the blog My Vintage Secret more than 25 vintage clothing stores are open in Toronto. But aside from the relatively cheap prices and unique products people are interested in the story behind the clothes.
“It makes a lot of people happy when you have something that looks good and feels nice, and if I can tell them the story about it that’s even better,” said Steward Scriver, 70, the owner of Courage My Love located in Toronto’s Kensington Market.
Scriver has been in the vintage business since 1975, following his interests in fashion and history.
“Fashion and clothing is a way to tell history,” said Scriver’s daughter Cece Scriver.
Over the years the father-daughter duo have come across an assortment of interesting and historic items.
Scriver describes a hundred year old silk black mourning cape from the Victorian era. They found the cape in the bottom of a box from an auction in Bellville, Ont.
Scriver can tell the era of the cape because “black was really in because when Queen Victoria wore all black everyone started wearing all black,” she said.
Scriver is referring to 1861 when Queen Victoria wore all black as a form of mourning her husband, Prince Albert.
Scriver believes that culture and fashion have an interlacing relationship.
“Pop culture and fashion are two and one. It’s all very intertwined. You can tell what was going on in the world you can also tell what is going to happen,” she said.
But not all vintage shoppers are aware of the unique history of the items.
Alex Godlewski, 19, has been shopping vintage for the past two years but has “never really thought of it before,” but says it does “seem cool.”
“Not everybody’s interested in history. If people are interested then I’m more than willing to tell them. It is just something extra,” Stewart Scriver said.