A variety of vendors were out in full force at the third installment of Hamilton Flea on Oct 22. Carefully curated vintage stores set up booths between stationery designers and unusual record collections.
However, some of the busiest booths throughout the day were those selling lapel pins and iron-on patches, including Matt Darling, Rachelle Letain and Rosehound Apparel.
These accessories, often referred to as “flair,” are having a moment in the spotlight. Tiny details such as a wilted flower carefully pinned to a shirt collar or a stick-and-poke tattoo merit badge can add a touch of the unexpected to a simple outfit.
Megan Campagnolo launched Rosehound Apparel following her graduation from Ryerson University’s fashion program in 2013.
“During my last year at Ryerson, it really kicked in that I wanted to design my own clothes,” she explained. “I’ve always been obsessed with cult high school movies and TV shows from the 80s and 90s… A hybrid of kitsch and classic pieces is what I strive to create in everything I do,” Campagnolo added, explaining where she draws inspiration for Rosehound’s clothes and accessories.
A Hamilton native, Campagnolo was a familiar face at October’s Hamilton Flea. “I did the Hamilton Flea last November and it was such a great success that I couldn’t wait to do the next one.”
Although she explained that she now travels extensively with Rosehound merchandise, Campagnolo has no intention of abandoning her roots.
“I think there will always be a special place in my heart for events like the Hamilton Flea… There’s nothing like being able to go home and see the first people who have supported you,” she said.
Campagnolo’s history with Hamilton Flea organizer and Girl on the Wing owner Whitney McMeekin dates back to her early post-graduation days.
“I think it’s important to support local artists specifically because so much of fashion is made in other parts of the world,” McMeekin explained. “Knowing that you’re supporting an actual person, that has a face, and you know about their actual company [is great].”
McMeekin was quick to cite another Canadian pin and patch vendor she supports: Stay Home Club, owned by Montrealer Olivia Mew. While Stay Home Club was missing from the lineup at this edition of Hamilton Flea, Mew has set up shop at previous events.
After posting the Stay Home Club logo on Tumblr to positive response, Mew quit her administrative job at a law firm to work on the line from home, something she had always wanted.
To create the lush floral patterns that are part of SHC’s signature style, Mew finds inspiration in varied textures.
“I have favourite historical periods I go back to for aesthetic inspiration often… I particularly love the arts and crafts movement, and have recently been looking at a lot of Chinese embroidered textiles,” she said.
While both Mew and Campagnolo are engrossed in companies they love, both women identified specific challenges they face in their work.
“Because most of what we do is online, convincing people to trust us enough to buy the items without seeing them in person… [is always] a work in progress,” Mew said.
Conversely, Campagnolo admitted that time management is a skill she has had to hone since launching Rosehound.
McMeekin highlighted another challenge both Mew and Campagnolo have faced: plagiarism.
“I know both of them have dealt with their work being copied, or have had their ideas stolen, so I think it’s really important to support them firsthand.”
Fans of both Stay Home Club and Rosehound Apparel are eager to see how their lines develop, and so is McMeekin. “I think it’s important to support independent female designers… They do such hard work and they do such great stuff. So I’m always happy to carry designers like that.”