When one thinks of Winnipeg, the first thing it’s associated with is isn’t usually high style. Frigid temperatures (during winter, Winnipeg reaches temperatures akin to the surface of Mars), self-loathing indie music, and experimental film, sure, but not necessarily fashion. But all that is changing thanks to a teensy new vintage shop located in the basement of a former residential home, Chip’s Vintage (173 Lilac Ave).
“I was always interested in fashion, so the question [I would get from people] was always, ‘When are you moving? Are you going to move to Toronto or Montreal?,’” says proprietor Andrew Chipman, who was once dubbed “Winnipeg’s only relevant fashion blogger” by VICE. But rather than leave his home city in favour of a bustling fashion capital, Chipman committed himself to creating the kind of resources he wanted to see in the community. “Winnipeggers sort of have a mentality to complain about it but stay here. My thing was always, ‘Oh there’s nothing here, there is no good vintage shopping.’ Well then I’m going to [create] it.”
Chipman parlayed his lifelong love for thrifting – his first job as a teen was at Value Village — into handpicking the quirky, nostalgic merch that populates the racks. “I was apprehensive to even have the word ‘vintage’ in my name, because I’m not necessarily doing authentic vintage from the ‘60s,” he says. Instead, the edit is focused on contemporary trends; think aggressive Harley Davidson tees and the winking irony of a pale pink John Deere shirt reading, “Farm Angel.”
It also happens to be arguably the cutest store in the middle of the Prairies. Inside you’ll find soothing pink walls, neon signs and bags of Old Dutch chips doubling as décor. Chipman can often be found manning the counter alongside his adorable pup Joey aka perpetual Employee of the Month.
Since opening in February, Chip’s has become the kind of a community space creative people in Winnipeg flock to. Chip’s Vintage served as the pickup point for tickets to the Real Love music festival, and will be hosting a party for a friend of Chipman’s who is publishing a book of poetry. “I’ve spent my younger years building a community here [in Winnipeg] and getting to know people. It felt silly for me to leave that to try to pursue something in another city.”
Ask nicely and Chipman might throw in a bag of Winnipeg’s finest, Old Dutch chips with purchase.