Calgary: New to you

Prada in the Prairies by Bonnee McLachlan

There’s a time in every woman’s life when she contemplates her closet. Yesterday was my day. I graze my fingertips over each and every piece of clothing, discovering old gems and envisioning where and when I’ll wear it again. I can’t think of a better time to do this than when the weather is turning. Knowing that there’s someone in Calgary who could use an extra layer this winter, I take what’s fallen out of rotation and drop it off at a local women’s shelter.

As I stand in front of my clean closet, I can’t help but think of ways to fill the empty spaces. Buying something brand new doesn’t seem entirely practical, so before I know it, I’m strolling down 17th Avenue in the direction of my favorite secondhand boutique, Junk Star Vintage (12-718 17 Avenue SW, 403-245-0222). Nathan Redekopp and Derek MacDonald opened the eclectic store nearly five and a half years ago and have been filling their racks with revamped, pre-loved pieces ever since. Redekopp enjoys sitting back and watching his clients create their own look, instead of what he calls “prescribed styling” (preaching what pants go with what shirt).

Fashion recycling isn’t only a business for these two; it’s grown into a passionate endeavor. Collaborating with Toronto-based Snap Clothing (, a company that deconstructs and reassembles clothing, has given both Redekopp and MacDonald an opportunity to create their own works of art. By mixing and matching fabrics and textures, Snap performs “reconstructive surgery” on recycled garments, giving a fresh spin to discarded threads. These reworked jewels can be found at Junk Star year round. Just another reminder that one woman’s oversized, plaid cowl-neck jumper is another woman’s chic handbag.

Prada in the Prairies appears every other Thursday. Read Bonnee’s bio here.