Montreal: Shopping up-and-coming names at the Smart Design Mart

Last weekend saw the first-ever Smart Design Mart (smartdesignmart.com) unfold in a building on Casgrain Street in Mile End. The fashion, art and design event “was put together in one month,” says Angie Johnson who, along with her B.F. and business partner, Tyson Bodnarchuk–they are the duo behind Headquarters Galerie + Boutique–hooked up with five like-minded pals to organize a gathering of 50-plus exhibitors. Said Johnson, “Nobody needed another arts and crafts fair. Our idea was to put together a mini-boutique.”

Read a round-up of our favourite finds after the jump.

A vendor herself, Johnson presented her one-of-a-kind fashion pieces alongside an eclectic jewellery line under the label Norwegian Wood. (You may remember her feather necklace from our November issue.) Maxi-length fringe and feather earrings ($35 a pair) were her newest offerings. (And should you find yourself in the U.K. between now and Christmas, you can check out Johnson’s wares at Topshop Oxford Circus, who invited the Montrealaise creatrice to be a part of their EDIT program, a small group of up-and-coming designers handpicked from around the globe to show at their store.)

Other enviable accessories included play-with-me magnet necklaces from Colorblindsmarties, kitschy but oh-so-sweet needlepoint baubles from The Pin Pals, weighty silver bling by Brazen Design–I loved the hand-carved Lock and Key Lariat($120)–the four style themes organized by character (Lucie, Luv Machine, Stella and Hayden) by local stylists’ fave Uranium, laser-cut wooden two finger rings ($25 each) by Aria and feather or shell pendants by Mireille Boucher, the silversmith responsible for the coveted bracelets at Denis Gagnon’s Spring 2009 runway show under the name Harakiri.

For design nuts, there were modular tables by Bipède and sleek alarm clocks (from $88) in mahogany, walnut and beech by Furni. Similarly, across the way, ex-intern Jonathan Pitoscia showcased his alternative to the typical business card holder (from $35), which was cut from the same three types of wood.

Last but not least: On the clothing front, I chatted with Marie-Eve, the pixie behind Betina Lou who says her eight-piece collection is based on “classic styles.” (Think sexy secretary.) Round the corner was Audrey Cantwell whose collection made of leathers and recycled furs in asymmetrical cuts was urban and edgy without compromising femininity.

Similar to the Souk@SAT (December 11 to 13, sat.qc.ca), Smart Design Mart offered an easy-going, artsy atmosphere for home-grown designers to promote and sell their wares. (By the way, did I mention there was a wine bar and baked goods?) Imagine what they’ll be able to swing next year, when they’ll have 12 months to prepare.

Click the image below to see a gallery from the show.

EARLIER: Harakiri’s killer jewellery

Amherst Street’s design headquarters