N.B. vintage clothing shop embraces gender neutrality and body positivity | Canadian

A vintage clothing store in Moncton is carrying on the legacy of the previous owner by doing away with men’s and women’s clothing sections in a celebration of gender neutrality.

“The shop is set up just clothes. So here is the shirt section and there is no gender on a tag. Clothes are whatever you make it,” said Caitlyn Rye who is the new owner of SDV Vintage Shop in Moncton.

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You won’t find any men’s or women’s sections at the shop. “A shirt is a shirt,” said Rye, who sells a wide selection of mostly vintage clothing for every and all body types.

“Wear the clothes that you want. It is not that you don’t fit the clothes. It is just that the clothes are not a good fit for you,” she said.

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It’s a legacy that she said she is carrying on since she bought the store earlier this year after the previous owner, Stephanie Dawn Vautour, passed away suddenly in August 2021 as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Rye said that Vautour was a beloved community advocate for 2SLGBTQIA+ rights who once posted gender and body -positive notes around the store.

“I thought that that was a really important aspect to continue on.”

“I had a local artist continue with the same notes and decorate a set of lockers that I have, so those kinds of body-positive messaging and gender inclusivity are still continued through the shop,” Rye said.

It’s been an eye-opening experience for Rye’s mother, Judy Rye, who donated some of her own vintage clothing that her daughter once used for dress-up.

“The people that we have met while we have been helping her here, and the community that I really wasn’t aware of, I think it is wonderful,” her mother said.

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Rye said that she wants everyone, regardless of their gender identity, to feel at home in her shop and would like to see more retail shops across Canada do away with gender tagging and create safe spaces to celebrate not only fashion, but individuality.

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“If they are trying on a dress for the first time, well, I am happy to zip you up and have an exciting moment with you when you are having that gender-affirming moment.”


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