Vans Vault X Modernica’s Collaboration Available online and In Rooney shop Store, 2019
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Rooney Shop, Montreal. Streetwear and skate culture in Notre-Dame Street

Having steered themselves away from brands that are known to mass produce goods, Rooney’s slow-fashion ethos has emboldened the business as an educator for the ‘pay more, consume less’ practice

The inception of Rooney Shop, Montreal and its evolution through time

When Rooney Shop, Montreal, a concept store located in the Notre-Dame St. established itself in the year 2006, owner Alex Danino explains that the business attuned itself over its period of existence into what it is today. Located within the confines of a thirty-seven square meter shop that features an extent in space from floor to ceiling, passersby and returning customers are enticed to enter the space. Though having adapted its internal identity to reflect its changes in style across a period of time, Rooney was founded with the intent to be a provider of up-and-coming clothing and concept items. Through this, the brand and business have become a staple and household name in the area of Montreal. The history of Rooney as a concept store has mirrored Danino’s evolution as a business owner and a purveyor of up-and-coming fashion and concept related goods. Danino states that his ardor for fashion dates back to his childhood. The interest in the field was brought to a state of cultivation when Danino acquired tutelage in a sample sale store upon the completion of his high school education: «My background in fashion dates back to my teenage years where I began assisting a sample sale store for the brand Diesel». While at his time in his tertiary education, Danino took on a part time role at Holt Renfrew, a department store renowned for selling designer goods. «At my time here, I was working under Gucci, assisting the brand’s sales and its retail related matters». 

Upon graduating from his time at university and his role as a sales assistant, Danino went to take on an assemblage of roles within the realms of fashion retail and marketing. He went on to work in the showroom of a brand that sold collections to buyers of department stores in Montreal. Danino then took on a role in a manufacturer of women’s clothing – to which this gave him insight to fashion retailers across the Northern American region. «As of this year, I am forty-three years old. I have held a collection of roles in the fashion industry for over twenty years. These experiences that I have gained over time are reflected in the veins of Rooney and what it is today». While he did not acquire a fashion-centric upbringing from his family as a child, Danino’s intention and career goal were to format an identity in the fashion stratosphere, one that he has since established with intent over the years. Finding exultation in the ability for fashion and design goods to act as a mouthpiece to art – through the use of fabrics, colors, designs – the owner of Rooney states that the visual design language is the pivotal captivating element that entrances him whilst working within the realm of fashion. As such, the transposition of Rooney’s internal identity has followed an adjacency in Danino’s interests over the years. «There is a desire to fulfil the voice of the creative elements that are prevalent within the realm of fashion here at Rooney». Having brought in a number of brands that are unfamiliar to the locale over time has allowed for Danino and Rooney to reflect the growth that the owner of the store has attempted to execute. 

Rooting Rooney Shop, Montreal: it’s existence and meaning

The history to the name of Rooney Shop, Montreal as a concept store, while founded on an ardor for up-and-coming designs, was derived from a work excursion that Danino made to New York City. While on his ventures as a fashion buyer in 2005, the owner stumbled upon a barber shop with the name ‘Rooney’s’. Having spent time formulating a name for the store and reverting to his peers in regard to the brand’s identity, Danino felt that ‘Rooney’ was one that would reverberate in a crowd of businesses adjacent to his. «The name stood out – in a sense that there was no association to a person or gender attached to it. Having discussed this with my peers, I then set forth to establish my vision of a concept store with this as its name». Residing in the province of Quebec, where the primary speaking language is French, Danino shares that there is a preservation of the French language and its heritage that is prevalent in the area. Being French Canadian himself, he shares that his decision to name the store ‘Rooney’ is independent of the culture of the locale as well – offering an opportunity for the concept store to stand itself apart. Being brought up in the city of Montreal, Danino states that situating Rooney in the area was not a choice that took him a period of time to consider. The familiarity of the locale and his understanding of the coalesced multi-cultural melding pot that is Montreal has given Danino an opportunity to build a rapport for Rooney and himself amongst the fashion connoisseurs there. Having founded Rooney with the philosophy to steer away from trends and brands that were kitsch and apparent in the 2000’s, Danino opted to implement brands that were not native to the fashion scene in Montreal at the time. «When it came to carrying brands for Rooney, I looked to myself as a guide – carrying goods and clothing items that I found a liking to». 

Located in the downtown area of Montreal that has been preserved for its culture, Danino states that the area was not what it once was when Rooney started its business. The owner states that the area, while having remained a tourist site over the years, was not one that offered a sense of community. Having a lack of living spaces and social spots like restaurants and stores of sorts, Rooney was the first of its kind to set roots in the area. Over time, apartments were erected in the area, and this was followed by the integration of cafes, supermarkets and eateries that offered a variety to the area – as compared to the historical attraction that served as a flocking area for tourists. «The aesthetic of the area today is similar to Soho in New York, with the absence of the commercialization of known brands or stores. The city regulations work in the favor of self-sustaining businesses like Rooney where we are given an opportunity to thrive». Residing in the confines of a space once used by an antique store, Rooney has utilized antique items that have been restructured into furniture goods, some of which remain used in the space. Separating the women’s and men’s clothing on either side of the store, Danino explains that he has since adopted a Scandinavian minimalist aesthetic to the design of the store.  

Our legacy's book, a retrospective exploring the legacy of the brand, and the Reigning Champ ultra soft blanket
Our legacy’s book, a retrospective exploring the legacy of the brand, and the Reigning Champ ultra soft blanket

Fashion and concept items in Rooney Shop, Montreal

When the store was established, Danino shares that his curated inventory for Rooney began as a concept store rooted in the accessible nature of fashion – serving streetwear items and commodities that were priced to attract individuals of varied backgrounds. As the owner states, he began his inventory with brands like Stussy and Nike along with esoteric brands that were unfamiliar in the area. «We do not consider ourselves a high-end concept store. While some of our brands are known within the fashion realm, our intention to serve the masses accessible goods is how we continue to lead the store as we do today. This objective has been a pivot that we have followed whilst Rooney’s internal identity – in the clothes and items we carry – have altered over time». Danino explains that having established Rooney in the vein of streetwear and skate culture, the concept store has coalesced staple and sought-after fashion goods from known brands. Danino’s interpretation of the style of clothing that is sold at Rooney is one that is infused with the modern air of cuts and prints with the essences of streetwear culture – one that Danino was familiar with while in his twenties. 

«Fashion has made a full-circle. Brands are now integrating streetwear into their clothing lines and offering it as their central commodity. It is eye-opening to witness brands that we have been selling over the years to become sought after as they have gained traction in style». Selling menswear and womenswear clothing, Danino has been assisted by his wife since the inception of the concept store in its planning and curation phase. Operating in their physical location and on their online platform, Rooney propounds brands like Commes Des Garçon Play, A.P.C, Ami, Études and Our Legacy for their clothing line. To complement their customer’s purchase and as a means to offering goods to varied crowds, Rooney has since constructed a segment of concept goods from brands like Grown Alchemist, FRAMA and Boy Smells whilst adding a segment of literary goods. «Our intention in selling magazines and periodicals was to offer a variety of goods that customers could consider viewing or purchasing that are not clothing ware or known concept items». In an effort to extend their offering, Rooney has allowed for their objectives of being inclusive to be met through for anyone visiting the store. Some of the reads that are sold at Rooney include The Gentlewoman, Purple Magazine, Ark Journal and 032c. 

Rooney and its approach to sustainability

Having kept the practice of inclusivity in mind since establishing themselves, Rooney has urged and effectuated for a sustainable consumption in fashion goods as well. Having steered themselves away from brands that are known to mass produce goods, Rooney’s slow-fashion ethos has emboldened the business as an educator for the ‘pay more, consume less’ practice. Danino states that while the prices of the items sold in Rooney vary, certain clothing and concept items are more expensive than the next item. This does not deter Rooney’s customers from their support in purchasing from the concept store. Having advocated for consuming less, items sold in Rooney stand the test of time. This is apparent with their line of clothing merchandise as well, which are produced in manufacturing plants in Europe – utilized by fashion brands. As such, Danino states that the customers who frequent the store do not mind paying for highly-priced items as the value of the item is paid for in quality – where goods do not degrade over time as compared to fast fashion brands. «The brands that we carry have a stringent supply chain in ensuring their workers are compensated well and that their working conditions are suitable». While certain brands do not practice the slow-fashion ethos, Danino works to curate a selection of goods to restrict the store’s footprint in over-consumption for themselves and their customers. In an effort to remain sustainable, Rooney adheres to the guidelines set by the city to ensure that recyclable waste is disposed of with the assistance of the city’s waste removers. Moreover, Danino is looking forward to using Rooney as a plateau to collaborate and further explore the realms of fashion with creatives and collaborators in the near future. 

Rooney Shop Montreal

395 Notre-Dame St W, Montreal, Quebec H2Y 1V2, Canada

A curator and purveyor of designer and concept goods, Rooney is a concept store that offers an array of items for men and women within the confines of its physical and online space. Rooney’s intent is pivoted to offering designer goods to consumers that are accessible while inciting the practice of sustainability in consumption. 

Pravin Nair

The writer does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article.

check and buy on Prototipo Store
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Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us

check and buy on Prototipo Store
item collections in limited edition
crafted according to our editorial search

Hemp / made in Italy
Lampoon is working to restore
Hemp production in Italy
as hemp is the one and only
natural vegetal fiber sourceable in the country
for more info, please email us at [email protected]

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