montreal vintage store
Photography courtesy of Instagram/@partnersandbabe. Design by Kayleen Dicuangco.

This New Montreal-Based Instagram Account Lets You Buy and Sell Vintage Pieces

Partners & Babe supports “vintage consignment for the socially distancing”.

In the 2019 version of its annual resale report, ThredUp projected that the second-hand clothing market would double in the next five years. More and more people are curious about buying used garments and accessories than ever before as statistics about the impact of new clothing production and our consumption habits are revealed, and there’s no shortage of platforms to help us purchase and sell used fashion pieces from around the world. The success of this emerging model of business is what encouraged Partners & Babe founder Emily Watts-Luciani to launch an Instagram feed for Montreal-based vintage vendors.

After the COVID-19 crisis shut down the city’s second-hand stores including Local 23—a multi-vendor shop where Watts-Luciani’s brand, Amie Amie, counted about half its revenue sales from—and put a halt on local flea markets and other vintage-focused community events, she took inspiration from these sites to create a “gently curated” centralized place for her peers to sell their wares while we’re all socially distancing. “I was looking for a way for us to come together as vintage vendors and re-create that experience of shopping at a market, but online,” she says.

But Watts-Luciani realized there was also the potential for people looking to sell items they have culled during spring cleaning, for example, so she established Partners & Babe to be open to anyone whose pieces fit the criteria laid out to ensure customers find goods of “a certain level of quality and condition,” she says. Terms for selling includes the era of the pieces (pre-2000s items only), that they must be currently in-season, and there’s a fee of $2 per item sold.

Watts-Luciani is keeping things fairly loose, though, to appeal to a broad range of vendors and customers, and you’ll find flowing spring dresses, leather mini skirts, fun slogan t-shirts and perhaps the most covetable second-hand pieces of all—beautifully broken-in denim—as you scroll through the feed. “I want it to be as diverse as possible, and to ensure that people have a good experience whether they’re buying or selling from it,” she says. To facilitate ease in the buying process, each post comes with detailed information from sizing to condition to care instructions, and even the brand that made the item (if such information is available).

While Watts-Luciani sees businesses like Partners & Babe as the future of vintage vending, she urges customers to be mindful of supporting local retailers when they’re back up and running and while in quarantine, to keep spending their dollars in their own communities however they can. “We’re self-employed, mostly women and we’re running our businesses out of our apartments,” she says of her network. Just a few more reasons—in addition to environmental ones– for making your next purchase a vintage one.