Bohème Friperie - Bohème Vintage
By YP Contributor

For the Love of Good Clothing

In Montreal’s trendy Mile End neighbourhood you can find a number of thrift stores, but Bohème Friperie was the first one on the block. Lorraine Levesque opened the store in 1997 because it seemed like the natural next stop in a long time passion for good clothing that began during a trip to India in the early 80s. While she was there, she began to experiment with designing and creating her own clothing.

“I had so many ideas because in India there is a tailor at every street corner. I was able to transform my ideas into reality, and having loved the experience I came back home with a collection of my designs and the desire to go to school and actually learn the trade and become a fashion designer," Lorraine says. She enrolled in fashion design at College Lasalle in 1984.

Before opening Bohème Friperie she gave birth to her son and started looking for second hand clothing to dress him. While doing so, she started finding beautiful and interesting second hand clothing and accessories for adults and the idea of making a business out of it started to arise. When her son was old enough to start school, the time was right to open the store and by then she already had a lot of clothing to fill the racks.

I love people, and my interest is in helping them find the treasure they're looking for. I can help because there are a lot of treasures here! - Lorraine Levesque
Second hand clothing, vintage, accessories, bags, boots, shoes, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, coats, shirts, pants, jackets, hats, jewelry, suits, dresses, skirts, evening dresses, designer clothing, fur, sheepskin, wool, natural fibers

High Quality at Fair Prices

Everything you find at Bohème Friperie is unique and well maintained. Lorraine takes great care in making sure that all her merchandise is up to her high standard. It’s a small store packed from floor to ceiling, but even though she carries a lot of stock, the store is still well organized and it doesn’t feel overwhelming trying to find the perfect thing among the dense racks.

“I've been here a long time and I know about fashion and clothing. Having been trained in fashion design, I understand how things are made and can explain to people the differences between something that is well made and something that is not," Lorraine says. "In the store I hold things that were made 20 to even 80 years ago, back when clothing and accessories were made with good quality materials and workmanship. Sadly, today the garment business focuses on profit at the detriment of quality and almost everything is made in China or Bangladesh.”

Second hand clothing, vintage, accessories, bags, boots, shoes, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, coats, shirts, pants, jackets, hats, jewelry, suits, dresses, skirts, evening dresses, designer clothing, fur, sheepskin, wool, natural fibers

Prime Real Estate

When Lorraine opened her store in 1997, the Mile End was much different than it is now. There were a lot of old rundown shops and it certainly wasn’t the hub for young creative types that it is today.

“[When I opened the store] I had the choice between three vacant stores between Saint-Laurent and Parc,” she says. “Now you don't see anything vacant. When people leave you don’t even see a for rent sign because it gets taken right away.”

Lorraine also says she is opening an online store on Etsy to expand her business, and get up to date with how things are done in the 21st century. The online store is called Lorene Bohème Vintage.

“When people come in it’s like I'm greeting them in my home,” she says. “I love people, and my interest is in helping them find the treasure they're looking for. I can help because there are a lot of treasures here!”

Second hand clothing, vintage, accessories, bags, boots, shoes, men’s clothing, women’s clothing, coats, shirts, pants, jackets, hats, jewelry, suits, dresses, skirts, evening dresses, designer clothing, fur, sheepskin, wool, natural fibers
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