Hamilton Day event supports local businesses in the city.

On Nov. 5, the city held its second annual Hamilton Day event, a one-day vendor event focused on showcasing and supporting local businesses. 

The event was first held in 1931 by the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce during the Great Depression in order to help the economy and the city’s people. It has now evolved into a strong symbol of staying strong during hard times.  

After working with the Stoney Creek & Flamborough Chambers and the 13 Business Improvement Areas in 2021, Hamilton Day was even able to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event supports all types of businesses, from cafes, bars, theatres, retail shops and florists to gym, fitness studios and independent artists and musicians. 

For the special day, many businesses offered specials or collaborated with other businesses to promote local shopping. They also received a free three-month membership to GetintheLoop, Hamilton Day’s official partner, to gain access to various resources and be featured on the online map

Katie Stiel, the project manager at the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, participated in the organization of last year’s Hamilton Day event and was excited to plan it again as there was an overwhelmingly positive response last year.  

“People flocked to [Hamilton Day]. They were so keen to share where they were supporting [and] who people should go check out in the city,” she said. 

“People flocked to [Hamilton Day]. They were so keen to share where they were supporting [and] who people should go check out in the city."

Katie Stiel, project manager Of Hamilton Chamber of Commerce

Business owners also shared it was also one of the busiest days of the year. Many had special promotions for Hamilton Day and worked together with the community to stir up optimism and enthusiasm for local small businesses. 

In addition to showcasing businesses that have permanent locations, the Hamilton Day event wanted to focus on pop-ups or marketplaces that sell to customers. All the different businesses that come out and partnerships with so many industries are all part of what makes this event unique to the city. 

The variety of options and markets part of the event are what makes it different from anything else in Hamilton. From the Ottawa Street Farmers Market to the BIPOC market at Afrolicious, there is bound to be something for everyone on Hamilton Day. 

Stiel explained the event was a great opportunity for McMaster students to explore the city of Hamilton and see everything the city has to offer. The event allows people to see other communities that they may not be normally exposed to and learn about the people who make up the city and its surrounding neighbourhoods.  

“It's a great chance for students to get to know their neighbours, know local businesses, see what's here and see all the amazing things their city has to offer,” Stiel explained. 

In the future, Stiel hopes Hamilton Day will grow and expand into an even bigger venture. By taking feedback from businesses and consumers, the event can improve to create the best possible experience for everyone. 

“It's a great opportunity to for patrons to explore the city. And it's a great opportunity for businesses to raise their hand and use a platform to engage with the community...I would just encourage people to make the day their own,” she stated. 

All the available businesses that participated in the event can be found on the website. Hamilton Day is the perfect choice for a fun outing with friends while still supporting the city at the same time. 

Photo C/O Katie Benfey

A year ago, a magical supply shop filled to the brim with tarot cards, spell supplies and a general sense of wonder was born. The Witch’s Fix (6 John St. N.) is a small slice of the arcane set against the backdrop of John Street. The inside of the shop is cozy and inviting, with fairy lights dotting exposed-brick walls, and every table piled high with unexpected curios. A small room at the back hosts tarot, oracle and tea leaf readings, for those interested in seeing into their future. 

The shop is run entirely by the owner, Lauren Campbell. For the past year, Campbell has been challenging the culture around magic and witchcraft.

“I love traditional witchy shops, but I also go into them, sometimes I feel a little bit overwhelmed or I feel silly asking questions. I feel like there's a lot of places that there's just a sense that you already need to know your stuff before you go in. I really wanted to create a space that was more encouraging to people just starting out, and fun and I want people to . . . ask questions and be curious and feel a little bit childlike. And really, it was just about creating an accessible, safe space to come explore the unknown,” said Campbell.


Campbell says that her store is popular with students; they frequently visit the shop to spend some time with their friends. Many of them come in search of information and guidance on their future and the choices they should make while they’re away from home. Campbell says that she didn’t know what to expect when she opened the shop.

“I didn't do all the things you're supposed to do when you open a business because I was just following my gut, and it could have easily been a total failure … It was sort of like that Field of Dreams ‘If you build it, they will come’ thing. All these people came out of the woodwork that were so enthusiastic about it. And, you know, it's now as much a part of them as it is me, and it's just become so much bigger than I thought it was going to be,” said Campbell. 

Hamilton has an ever-increasing number of small, independent businesses. James Street, Locke Street and Ottawa Street are well-known destinations for local shopping. However, with rent in the city on the rise, it can be difficult for small businesses to stay open. For example, art galleries are struggling to keep their doors open on James Street. Stores are opening and closing all the time, and even the iconic Hamilton favourite O’s Clothes, a store that has been on James for 8 years, has had to close its doors.


“We’re lucky in Hamilton that so many people in the community are committed to shopping local, and I’ve been fortunate to experience a warm welcoming from customers who are eager to support my shop. I definitely worry about when the time comes to renew my lease, as with so much development happening downtown so quickly, rent is bound to go up. I’m hoping it’s a manageable number, but if it isn’t, I’ll have to figure out what will become of my business at that time,” said Campbell.

As popular and successful as The Witch’s Fix is, there is always a chance that rent will rise too high to continue running the store. However, Campbell remains optimistic, and is looking forward to what the next year has in store. 


“It’s disheartening to see other small business owners closing their doors as a result of high rent, but unless you own your own commercial building, it’s always a possibility that lingers over the horizon. I don’t think people realize how much product you have to sell, as a retail store, to simply break even each month. It can be challenging, but so far I’ve been enjoying the process of learning how to run a business,” said Campbell. 

Campbell has plans to continue expanding the number of workshops and events that she offers, allowing even more people to become involved with the shop.

The Witch’s Fix is a shining example of how a business that has stayed strong despite the odds. The shop is a cozy, welcoming meeting place that’s open to everyone, regardless of their level of experience. Whatever is in store for the store, it’s sure to be magical. 


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Photo C/O Unsplash

By: Katie van Kampen, Contributor

Finding the perfect gift while holiday shopping is hard and will likely be time consuming, nerve wracking and frankly, stressful. Clothing, in particular, is nearly impossible to get right. What size is the person you’re shopping for? What styles do they like? Do they prefer fitted or oversized? With so many variables to consider, you’re overwhelmed. To help you find gifts that everyone would appreciate, here are fashion items that you could buy for anyone this holiday season. 

Let’s Sock n’ Roll

Price: $

There has been a recent resurgence in sock subscription services and an increasing demand for trendy sock designs. A well-picked pair of socks can complement your outfit while adding a splash of personality. A great place to find a variety of socks within the city is floorplaysocks (194 Locke St. S). They have walls filled with socks, neatly organized and displayed for easy browsing. One reliable brand that the store carries is Stance—. my favorite brand for fun and durable socks.. They have many different designs to choose from that’ll be sure to appeal to anyone on your holiday list. 

Green (T-Shirt) Sleeves

Price: $$

T-shirts are one of the best gifts you can give someone. Just like socks, they come in a variety of shapes, colours and designs. As trends in 90s fashion re-emerge, it’s becoming cooler to wear oversized t-shirts or to tuck them in. So, go out there and get your Secret Santa their favourite band t-shirt or a comic graphic t-shirt, and don’t worry if it’s a size too large. There’s lots of ways you can style a t-shirt — perhaps through a french tuck, layering the shirt with shorter items or by rolling the sleeves. Omnes (191 King St. E)  has a selection of second hand vintage shirts from brands like Adidas to Guess. Or, you can take a walk down James Street and browse through boutiques like The Pale Blue Dot (240 James St. N) to find the perfect t-shirt for whoever’s on your list.

The Holiday Sweater

Price: $$

‘Tis the season! What’s better than an aggressively adorned holiday sweater for those office parties, unbearable family events, or themed parties. Holiday sweaters vary in their design from “My Grandpa made this in the 1970s” to “Minimalistic snowflake” and can be found at a variety of stores. Depending on what you think they’ll like or how much you actually want them to wear this sweater, there’s a variety to choose from. The McMaster Campus Store carries their own McMaster Christmas sweater so you can get some Mac swag while also purchasing a festive gift. If your friend won’t buy one  for themselves, and always complains about not owning a holiday sweater, you can easily fix this situation. They’ll soon be sporting their new sweater to every holiday event. 

Backpack, Backpack, Yeah!

Price: $$$

A backpack is a necessity for students, so why not take the opportunity to turn it into a fashion item? Even if they already have a backpack, having different styles and different sizes to choose from can be useful if they ever want to downsize their daily carry-all. Pair it with the right colours and it can be easily integrated into any outfit. Check out the Campus Store for a variety of backpacks featuring designs by Hershel and Fjallraven.


Price: $$

While it is a bit chilly for denim jackets, they can prove useful and fashionable during the warmer months. As I said, oversized clothing is in style. Buying someone an oversized jacket can help elevate their style as they can experiment with layering other fashion pieces. Jean jackets come in a variety of linings and colours. Some non-conventional colors to check out are grey, white, black and olive. Denim jackets are a great item to find at a thrift store, especially since they’re quite durable and timeless. One close option to Mac is Deja Vu Used and New (262 King St. W). Here you’re sure to find different styles, colours and sizes of jackets. If you want a vintage, retro aesthetic you can take the trek to Ottawa Street and visit Out of the Past (308 Ottawa St. N). Whoever you’re buying for will surely appreciate this item as it can be styled in  many different ways, creating a great addition to their wardrobe.

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Where to find cheap, close and creative clothing

By Katie van Kampen, Contributor

Learning to become a more sustainable shopper is not always easy. Although there are lots of thrift shops in Hamilton, many pieces might not be the right match for you. To help you along your journey, we’ve compiled a list of thrifting spots— each unique in their own right. Using the categories below, you may just find your perfect match. Happy shopping!

Best aesthetics

Out of the Past (308 Ottawa St. North)

Price: $$

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As you walk into Out of the Past, there is a smiling cat in the window to welcome you. That same cat is stamped on the sale tags. Yet, underneath the grinning feline is the word “Woof”. You see, Out of the Past is a paradox. The store has very specific alternative, punk and grunge vibe supported by a curated playlist of new wave, late 70s music. Somehow, there is something for everyone here.

The walls are covered with different clothing articles, ranging from a Halloween section to a rack of black band shirts and a cabinet dedicated to steam-punk inspired goggles. The owner handpicks the store’s clothing from used clothing factories. All of the pieces contribute to a unique aesthetic within the store through both its décor and the items offered.

Cheapest prices and best cause

New Horizons Thrift Shop (520 James St. North)

Price: $

While unassuming from the outside, New Horizons has a variety of clothing for men and women at very reasonable prices. I saw multiple Danier Leather jackets priced below $30, which can retail for well over that price.

New Horizons is a thrift shop that reinvests its revenue back into the program and services of Welcome Inn Community Centre, such as in their after school and senior programs. All donated clothing is and unsuitable clothing is donated back to the Diabetes Canada Association. If you want to shop on a budget and support a charity while you’re at it, this is the thrift shop for you.

Most bang for your buck

The Thrifty Designer (203 King St. East)

Price: $$$

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From the outside, this looks like a trendy boutique clothing store with a dark minimalistic exterior and impeccably dressed mannequins. However, inside there is something more unique waiting. Owner Leslie Smith-Aragon upcycles clothing, giving the clothes a new chance at life. She also picks out forgotten and previously loved items such as scarves, sweaters and other fabrics to create entirely new and individual pieces.

There is a large selection of formal wear such as blazers, vests and dresses at reasonable prices considering their quality. For example, a blazer was priced at $60 and looked like new. If you are in the market for more formal attire, this is a perfect option as you will be purchasing something unique and sustainable from The Thrifty Designer.

Most Variety

Hamilton Antique Mall (233 Ottawa St. North)

Prices: $$

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Walking past this building, you wouldn’t know that there are three floors of antique clothing, furniture, toys and other items waiting to find a new home. The Hamilton Antique Mall is a collection of booths — all rented to various collectives. You’ll have to search around to find the clothing booths, but that in itself is an adventure that could fill an otherwise uneventful day.

Much of the clothing you will find here has a vintage style but are all previously worn pieces. Each booth is unique with a specific theme in mind. I found one booth with darker pieces reminiscent of the 90s grunge era, but also a more cheerful booth with pastels and clothing reminiscent of the 50s. Hamilton Antique Mall is a perfect way to spend an afternoon trip on Ottawa Street, hitting up the many restaurants along the way and having a browse through the many booths you can encounter — you’ll be sure to find something!

Closest to Campus

Deju Vu New and Used (262 King St. West)

Prices: $

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Deja Vu New and Used has been operating in the heart of downtown for the past 36 years. Walking in, you can immediately appreciate the diversity of the store — with an entire rack of sunglasses, leather jackets and jeans. The store is well-organized with every item having its own home. The walls are aligned with notable pieces from an astronaut Halloween costume to handbags and sweaters.

Clothing is sourced from multiple places, mostly Toronto suppliers, but all are picked with diversity in mind. For a wide selection of used clothing via a fifteen-minute bus ride from campus, this is the best place to go if you want to get out of that Westdale bubble but have to make it back in time for your next midterm!

Photos by Matty Flader / Photo Reporter

Last August, The Pale Blue Dot (240 James St. North) ran their first clothing swap. It turned into a huge success, with a lineup out their door. On Oct. 7, they will be running another one, this time at Grain & Grit brewery (11 Ewen Road). The Pale Blue Dot is a sustainable, eco-conscious store named after the 1990 photograph of the Earth taken from space. Mary Luciani, the owner of The Pale Blue Dot, emphasizes how important it is to be mindful of where and how we get our clothes.

“The reason we wanted to start it was because we wanted people to realize that there’s a different way to go about consuming clothing,” said Luciani. 

The Pale Blue Dot strives to provide support for people trying to live an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

“I really wanted the space to be a community hub as well, that was one of my major goals, to make the Pale Blue Dot a place where people could come and ask their questions, learn about new ways that they could live a low waste lifestyle or a lifestyle with a low impact. More than just a little general store of earth friendly goods, I wanted to have different workshops and events going on in the space that showed people how they could make a difference,” said Luciani.

The clothing swaps initially began as the brainchild of Luciani and her friends Kayla Whitney, Pam Huffman, Monika Benkovich and Liz Enriquez. Together, they created Good Habit Events, a collective that organizes affordable and eco-conscious events and workshops. 

“Through Good Habits, we reach out to different missions, different services, different locations in the city. We chat with them to see who’s in need,” said Luciani. 

All clothing that is not swapped is donated to those who need it. Admission to the event is $5, and the money raised will go towards environmental initiatives in the community.

“We want to make sure those funds get allocated into projects that will benefit the city, and benefit the environment at the same time,” said Luciani.


This year the clothing swap will feature curated Halloween sections, with different costumes set up. There will also be regular clothes available, depending on what clothing is donated.

Participants can bring in their clothing to either Grain & Grit or The Pale Blue Dot from Oct. 1 to 6 ahead of the swap on Oct. 7 at Grain & Grit. Each item of clothing is worth one ticket, and one ticket can then be redeemed for a different item of clothing at the event. The full list of rules is available on the event page and on both of the brand’s websites.

The textile industry is a huge contributor to pollution. Environmental sustainability has become a major topic of discussion among Hamiltonians and the greater community. Those who are looking to combat climate change and help protect our pale blue dot can count on this event to be a first step towards building a better future. 


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Photo C/O @florahue

I’ve always struggled to give special and personalized gifts to those I care about without breaking the bank. One of the best ways I’ve learned to navigate this is to find unique creators for holiday shopping. Etsy is a hub for original products that make great gifts and by choosing local stores, you lower your shipping cost and support local creatives. Check out these local Etsy shops that sell great products for under $30 (including shipping!) The best part? You don’t have to trek through the snow.


The Blonde Orphan


If you know someone who likes light-hearted quotes or gold foil, then consider getting them a gift from The Blonde Orphan. The store is owned by Daniela Stajcer, a self-taught graphic designer who calls Hamilton home. She incorporates real gold or copper foil in many of her prints. Her home décor prints are a pretty addition to the wall of a friend likes positive pick-me-ups or quirky quips. She sells instantly downloadable prints for as little as $5. Actual prints start around $13 with $3.35 shipping within Canada.


The Pendulum Shop


The Pendulum Shop sells simple but stunning crystal jewellery. Hamilton-based store owner Lana Burley is a crystal lover who makes the pieces herself. In addition to the unique earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and pendulums that she creates, she also sells a crystal guide that she created with her production partner Cetina Farrugia. Her jewellery makes the perfect gift for those in your life with a simple and refined style. Shipping is $4.50 within Canada. While some of the pieces are above $30, there are cute rings and earrings closer to $20 and cute pieces in the clearance section of the shop.


Blind Pig Press


Greg Smith is behind Blind Pig Press, which specializes in letterpress and sells various notebooks, posters, prints and books. Blind Pig Press is actually a private press in Grimsby, Ontario that has been around since 1991. The Etsy store provides a place to buy these letterpress products, such as notepads starting just under $7 and posters just over $20 with $4.10 shipping costs. These items would make great gifts for those in your life who are frequently drawing or jotting down things.


Moon + Co


If you know a nature lover, bring nature indoors to them with this Kitchener-based Etsy shop. Shop owner Laur Erickson is a self-taught artist mixing her love of animals and nature with her love of art. She sells watercolour and mixed media prints and cards. Her prints start as low as $12 with free shipping and cards can be picked up for $6 with $3 shipping. She also sells adorable stickers for $3.50 a piece with $3 shipping.


Flora Hue Naturals


Flora Hue Naturals is a Hamilton-based Etsy store boasting “love infused offerings inspired by nature.” Store owner, Kristen Taylor, uses all natural ingredients in creating the soaps, candles, face and aromatherapy products that she sells. These items make the perfect gift for those in your life that relish new scents and natural beauty products. Check the “Gifts Under 20” section for affordable gifts. Shipping costs are generally under $12.


Diana Watters Handmade


For a truly unique gift for the creatives in your life, check out this Toronto-based Etsy shop that sells cross-stitch kits and patterns. Shop owner Diana Watters is a designer and metal fabricator who loves to cross-stitch in her spare time. She sells original cross-stitch patterns and kits, taking the form of holiday ornaments, keychains, instantly downloadable patterns and more. While there are many affordable kits, be sure to out the sale section. Shipping is generally $6 or less.

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Photos C/O Marta Hewson

It’s been said that art is meant to be seen. However, for young and emerging artists, finding spaces to be seen in is not always easy. Cadillac Fairview Lime Ridge Mall wanted to change that. In partnership with the Hamilton Arts Council, the mall hosted its first Youth and Emerging Artists’ Art Exhibition from Oct. 24 to Oct .28.

The exhibition was set up near one of the mall’s entrances, the free-standing white walls making the 122 artworks impossible for shoppers to miss. Any style of work was accepted and so paintings, illustrations, photography and mixed media work were showcased.

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The 65 participating artists hailed from across southwestern Ontario. The call for submissions was issued to local secondary and post-secondary students as well as recent post-secondary graduates in southern Ontario.

CF Lime Ridge first proposed the idea of the exhibition and approached the Hamilton Arts Council for their help in making it happen.

“My inspiration was… giving the youth a platform so they can showcase their work, especially the young emerging artists… Within our community here in Lime Ridge Mall, the retailers [were] extremely proud because they know that they’re working in a place that is giving back to the youth,” Liem Vu, the general manager of CF Lime Ridge, explained.

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“[T]he arts normally don't get up here, up in the mountain…So bringing arts to the mountain and especially accessible…to the shopper, you got a completely different audience…[I]f you were to go down to the art gallery, you have that just the artists, the people that love art…Now you bring it for everybody to see,” Vu added.

The theme for the exhibition was Cadillac Fairview’s brand purpose: “Transforming Communities for a Vibrant Tomorrow.” The artists manifested this theme in numerous different ways, from depictions of nature to portraiture to representations of pain.

On the opening night of the exhibition, four artists whose work best aligned with the theme were awarded. A jury consisting of representatives from Cadillac Fairview, the Hamilton Arts Council, First Ontario Credit Union and Earls Court Gallery determined the winners.

“I think that if there's any opportunities for us to bring…youth and emerging artists together to help support their career, to me that's what our mandate at the Hamilton Arts Council is…to advocate and to create opportunities for professional development for artists,” said Annette Paiement, the executive director at the Hamilton Arts Council.

Sarah May Coward was selected as first in the Emerging Artists category for her acrylic on canvas piece The Peoples Dance. Karolina Bramwell Rousseau achieved second for Strength in Biodiversity, a piece done entirely in pen and ink. Brian Kellam was chosen third for his oil and acrylic piece titled View from the Porch. Trynton Fisher, who had two pieces in the exhibition, won the youth (under 18) category with his digital piece True Beauty.  

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“[M]y one piece over there, it's called Sadness. So it's a portrait of an artist…[that] had passed away. [H]e made songs about sadness and depression so it's just to speak out on that, that…[it’s] okay to express your feelings. So this is me expressing my feelings through art,” explained Fisher.

Fisher operates the @asap.tf Instagram account but appreciated the opportunity to get involved with the community and show his work to a greater audience. There were several other artists featured who had had no or few opportunities to show their work in an exhibit before.

The exhibit provided an excellent introduction of these artists to the public, with several of the pieces that were for sale garnering attention from attendees. For this reason, there are already discussions in place to run the exhibition next year, only bigger and better.

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Thousands of fans sporting their Arkells and Hamilton is Home shirts will be gathering at the Tim Hortons Field this Saturday for The Rally. The Arkells are playing only one summer show in the Greater Toronto Area and the occasion has turned into the biggest party, right here on the band’s home turf.

Hamilton Flea has been tasked with putting together a free market prior to the show and have announced over 20 vendors that will be selling art, handmade products, vintage, records and treats.

We’ve highlighted a couple must-see vendors for market-goers, some of which are recognizable to Hamiltonians while others are in the city just for market, so catch them while you can!

Local favourites

All Sorts Press


Sara Froese will be bringing letterpress printed cards, prints, notebooks and totes. Her unique and one-of-a-kind designs are handmade out of her Cotton Factory studio right here in Hamilton. She uses antique techniques to print on a human-powered Chandler & Price platen printing press from 1910.

Group of 7 Billion


Group of 7 Billion create unique and vintage collage art that has graced the walls of Hamilton galleries and art spaces for nearly 10 years. Sift through Hamilton-based collage artists Eady and Gadoury’s collection to find a one-of-a-kind piece just for you.

Hello Baked


Got a sweet tooth? Jessica Lee’s art is disguised as sugary treats. The McMaster Alumna specializes in sugar cookies and has designed a colourful set of Arkells themed bullhorn and foam finger-shaped treats for The Rally.

Foundry Ice Cream


Cool off with some rich diary and vegan French-style ice cream produced right here in Hamilton. Foundry Ice cream will be popping up at market and offering original and inventive flavours of ice cream made using in-season fruits and locally sourced ingredients, such as Detour coffee, for a true taste of our region.

Into the Abyss


Head over to the Into the Abyss booth for some good vibes and a diverse range of records. Strike up a conversation with the owner Brad Germain on all things music while going through vinyl, both new and old. The Into the Abyss collection includes some popular albums, sought-out vintage records, ambient, avant-garde and music from Latin America and Africa.

Must-see vendors

Outpost Vintage + Thrift


The Guelph-based shop shop will be setting up a trailer filled with vintage and thrifted pieces that’ll complete your summer wardrobe. Dresses, rompers, overalls, colourful sunglasses and exclusive drawstring backpacks designed in collaboration with Gillian Wilson are just a few items to expect at the vendor.

Rosehound Apparel


Check out the Rosehound Apparel booth for a cool new tee, some trendy accessories, pins and patches to add to your growing collection. Toronto-based fashion designer and Hamilton native Megan Campagnolo’s collection was inspired by cult high school movies and shows from the 90’s, while her brand inspired a girly trend on pin and patch culture.

Cabin Journal


The small Toronto-based stationary and home goods company will set up shop at the market and will be selling posters, art prints, cards and small towels. Expect to see colourful and bright designs, summer floral and fruit illustrations and typography inspired by the illustrator’s vintage collection.

The Rally Market is free to the public and will be open on the Tim Hortons Field from 1 to 5 pm on Saturday June 23rd.

Find out more info about the rally here.

By: Daniella Porano

While the term “ethical fashion” can be ambiguous and individually defined, it really pertains to the process of clothing production and the subsequent advertising and retail used to sell products. I think it’s more useful to individually understand and define what dressing ethically means to you. Sweatshop free? Organic cotton? Fair trade? Animal-friendly textiles? How about corporate responsibility in all aspects of a business model, from advertisements to the retail stores? Each person has a different moral code when it comes to socially-conscious fashion

Take a moment to consider the ever-changing nature of the fashion industry and the implications of this constant evolution. Each season, retail chains rotate their entire stock and import new shipments of clothing in mass quantities. As the majority of the large retailers do not build clothes to last longer than a year – sometimes no longer than a handful of washes – the majority of “fast fashion” ends up in landfills as the trends fade.

The problem is the way we’re targeted as consumers. We’ve been groomed to accept that paying twenty dollars for a pair of jeans is normal, a steal even. If you think about the cost of materials, production, and payment to labourers both at the production and retail points, how can this be so? The answer is simple: it can’t – at least, not without exploitation on all levels of production, at the expense of labourers.

This leads to the next issue of sustainable and ethical fashion: the price. I’ve consistently found the constraints of availability and price to be the most problematic aspects when trying to find ethically-sourced fashion. While one of my favourite designers, Stella McCartney, has managed to champion animal-friendly clothing, her designs are completely unattainable to the average student. Aside from high end fashion houses with luxury production shops in France and Italy, where does labour-friendly fashion come from, and more importantly, how can we access it?

While being an ethically-minded consumer with a limited budget is certainly a challenge, it is not impossible. There are many ways to find quality and socially-conscious clothing.

Vintage and thrift stores are incredible; buying pre-loved is always the best option. Not only does it prevent clothes from being thrown out as waste, but it can also be a goldmine for fashion finds that would otherwise be inaccessible. I’ve found amazing clothes at thrift stores, including denim jackets made in Italy, cozy knits made in Britain, and my personal favourite, a vintage Nina Ricci bag. High quality brands of jackets and coats can also filter through thrift stores, an important concern for all of us as winter approaches.

Another important tip is to check labels. Within massive corporations, stores can have a wide range of outsourced labour from all over the world in the same retail location. While some sweaters are handmade in British shops, others may be made in horrendous sweatshop conditions in Bangladesh. Checking labels for where the item was made is important as it can assist in distinguishing fair-paid and quality pieces from exploitation. This does not mean that well-made fashion only comes from the Western world, but in a corporate-dominated capitalist society, the exploitation of developing nations is embedded in many major retailers’ clothing.

Other large stores that sell a variety of brands can be fantastic for ethical finds. For example, I’ve found plenty of American-made designer denim at Winners – always at a quarter of the original retail price. Additionally, there are many adorable small shops and specialty online stores that cater to selling locally produced, vegan, or fair trade products (sometimes all three). Online tools like The Guardian’s ethical fashion directory, the Ethical Consumer website, and the Ethical Fashion Forum help provide resources and in-depth information about ethics in corporations and socially-conscious alternatives. These sites reinforce the idea that you are making a choice every time you purchase an item of clothing, or in other terms, voting with your dollar.

The easiest way to create a formula for ethical shopping is by following the words of legendary designer Vivienne Westwood, “buy less, choose well, make it last.”

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McMaster students can avoid some of the daily problems of student life by bringing a bit of glamour to campus. As the snow melts, the nice shoes come out and wardrobes begin asking for more attention. What’s popular for girls right now is black and white, pastel colours, and floral prints. There are a lot of wide-legged hippie-style pants right now, crop tops and headwraps (headbands that look like scarfs or just wearing scarfs as headband). For guys, there are more floral prints too but also colorful Aztec prints. The spring season brings spring closet cleaning, stay as fresh as possible by shopping at popular stores while staying on top of that measly student budget.


Ardene has infinity scarves with bright colors and floral patterns. Cheetah and Aztec print harem pants are also donned by a few mannequins. T-shirts with funny prints were also popular among the mall crowd. Dogs/cats as celebrities and shirts plastered with ‘fashion blogger’ are good for a laugh. Sweatpants for comfort with Los Angeles emblems keep you dreaming.


At Bluenotes you’ll get your super stretch jeggings and super soft stretchy denim. For guys, a pair of dark wash jeans, a collared flannel shirt, a blue hoodie and black jacket will keep you looking cool.


Avoid Sirens. If you get one of their long sleeve shirts with stupid prints like ‘#CRAYCRAY; Party Sleep Wake Up Naked’ or ‘The Higher The Heel The Closer To Heaven’ you deserve the worst adjectives to describe your life choices.

 Urban Planet

At Urban Planet, girls can get cute skirts with black and white patterning, and trendy grunge denim vests. Pastel-coloured spring dresses will definitely make you feel nice, and you might want to pick up a floral pattern blouse and put a white wool sweater over. Long sleeve shirts with awesome cityscape prints of Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Berlin will make you feel like an all-star.

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