Ottawa is often considered to be kind of a boring, old, political town; I’m not going to lie. What many don’t know is that Ottawa is actually abundant with hidden gems in the depths of many corners and it takes a little exploring to find them. There are a lot of incredible places around the city, with a good handful of them being influential clothing stores. Not just the regular retail chains you can find in any mall, but genuine, home-grown shops with quality merch. I could probably go on and on about the awesome stores we have, but here are my top five locally owned clothing stores in Ottawa that are definitely worth checking out…
1. Milk Shop
A really nice and low-key spot found on William Street. It’s a tad hidden, but make sure you pop down there the next time you head over to the Market. Very lowkey and hella local. This store’s down-to-earth vibes remind me of what it really means to be comfortable, yet uniquely stylish at the same time. The prices are good and the selection is even better. Not only do they carry different takes on the cutest trends every season, but they also have a great blog with tons of DIY, street-style photos, and even recipes that’ll make you swoon. I promise.
For those of you into streetwear brands like Raised by Wolves, Stüssy, Cheap Monday, and Wildfox, I highly suggest you hit up NRML. Honestly, does this store even need an introduction? NRML is easily one of the leading streetwear stores on this side of the country, and by far the biggest in Ottawa. Locally owned and employed, NRML’s vast range of brands and styles never seem to fall short. There’s definitely something there for everyone, so run down to Rideau St. or Westboro ASAP and check them out.
This little skate shop is a huge recommendation from me to all the young go-hards out there who want to delve into some well-made skate brands. HUF, Vans, Thrasher, and the like can be found in this rad store found on the corner of Florence. There’s something very refreshing about this one. I don’t know what it is; maybe it’s the impressive selection of skateboarding videos constantly streaming on the TVs set up in shop or the dim lighting and gloriously minimalist displays. Whatever it is, this one’s worth it so make sure you take a look soon!
schad and its womanly counter-brand, schad blu, dons a slightly more sophisticated aesthetic than the first few stores mentioned. Primarily owned by Wolf & Zed Footwear, they’ve entered the field of clothing as well; carrying garments by the likes of Alice + Olivia, Helmut Lang, and
Rag & Bone. A little on the pricier side, but all in the name of looking good. This store’s heavily influenced by the style flourishing throughout uptown New York, which sounds cooler than ever but don’t just take my word for it. Head on over to Sussex Dr. and see what impeccable pieces schad has to offer!
Last, but definitely not least we have Victoire. It’s a pretty well-established boutique that has been styling the fashion-savvy for over a decade now. This place reaps immense amounts of individuality and creativity. They house numerous brands of trinkets, jewelry, pins, and novelty items created by thriving artists. A few notable ones would be Rifle Paper Co., In God We Trust, and Fresh Tangerine. No word of a lie; this is just about the closest you can get to a cute Etsy shop in person. Victoire can be found on Dalhousie, so make your way on over the next time you’re in the neighbourhood.
As of late, these stores have been the very backbone of Ottawa’s local clothing market, catering to young adults all over the city. Without a doubt, I can say a lot of us are proud of these places; personally, it really gives me a sense of comfort knowing that there are all of these cutting-edge, innovative stores in a place that I call home.