Made in Montreal | A blog series: Episode 1, The Chabanel
Episode one focuses on the center of Montreal’s legendary garment industry – the Chabanel. Though many recognize it as a hub of Montreal fashion, few Montrealers actually venture out to explore this neighbourhood; a sign of the industry’s decline in recent years.
Nevertheless, a core group of garment makers remain - industrious manufacturers who navigate the waters of a new economic environment. We were thrilled to meet three makers whose businesses simultaneously embrace innovation, while holding on to the traditions of high-quality, local production.
Meet Our Makers:
Isaac Kuperstein is a New-York native who immigrated to Canada in 1967, quickly getting work in the then thriving “schmata” trade. Moving away from the “cut-and-sew” milieu, Kuperstein started a business in knitwear. Quelle surprise! Making toques in Canada paid off!
Today, Kuperstein’s Ideal Knitwear ships millions of hats, scarves, and hockey socks across North America. At the age of sixty-eight, Isaac has no intentions of retiring. Why would he? Business is too good!
Irving Rothman runs Exclusive Button specializing in custom-made buttons and button colouring. This small but impeccably organized operation draws in a diverse clientele attracted to the company’s unique products lines and personalized customer service. We loved touring this old-timey atelier, with its rows-upon-rows of button boxes, its in-house dying station, and one pretty cute dog!
Jarrod and Irvine Shawstack comprise the father-son team running the century-old Magill Hats. Making everything from traditional fedoras to ten gallon hats, these men have an encyclopedic knowledge of headwear, and their knowledge and passion comes out in the work.
Using machines that date back more than a hundred years, the Shawstack’s are milliners (that’s a fancy word for hat maker!) who combine traditional craftsmanship with modern marketing.
A true visionary, who’s well aware of his manufacturing roots, son Jarrod has taken the helm and expanded the company’s market into the US. We were pretty impressed, and his father couldn’t be prouder.
About us: Made in Montreal
Made in Montreal is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting and supporting local manufacturing in Montreal.
This series highlights the fascinating cast of characters who make up the historically rich, multi-cultural, multi-lingual fabric of Montreal’s manufacturing industry.