Collective Will is a thrift shopper’s paradise in Vancouver’s historic Dominion Building.
“The Dominion Building isn’t really a shopping destination, but we’re making it a shopping destination,” says Randa Salloum, owner of the thrift store. collective will. “A lot of people don’t even realize the front door is open. Anyone can enter!
In December 2021, Salloum moved into the brick-and-mortar store with R Denim after a year of exclusive e-commerce. The shared workshop is dedicated to vintage, consignment and second-hand fashion. “If you were to look at our collections side by side, they wouldn’t be the same, but they would be complementary,” she says of the two stores sharing a unit.
The found fashion movement is growing exponentially in contrast to the pre-existing disposable culture we have built. Fueled by environmentally conscious yet stylish Millennials and Gen Zers, the demand for designer, chic and refined spaces dedicated to shipping second-hand is a welcome addition to Vancouver’s retail landscape.
These aren’t your conservationists, they come dressed in oversized vintage blazers and recycled denim.
“I love seeing it grow,” Salloum says, but so far no one approaches second-hand shopping the way she does. “Dressing style is so different from everyone else, and everyone is different from each other. And I think it’s so cool to see more and more companies popping up because the more we can get people to buy used, the better.
It’s possible to find a pair of Cult Gaia mules or red python-print leather pants in the chaos of a Salvation Army or a Treasure Village, of course. Maybe even a matching vintage purple wool skirt and cropped jacket ensemble. But these are gems, part of the hunt. Step into Collective Will, and everything is a gem, right in front of you.
Salloum organizes the collective will from all over BC and around 30% consignment. The collections she builds are always timeless designs and one-of-a-kind pre-owned pieces that reflect her sophisticated, fashion-forward clientele who buy and sell through her.
“What I do is very different because it’s also rooted in the community,” she adds. Salloum has a long history with second-hand fashion in Vancouver, having co-hosted an event called Archive, Canada’s largest consignment warehouse sale for men, women and kids.
“I organized this with a friend of mine, then when COVID hit we couldn’t organize the event because it’s such a large scale event, like thousands of shoppers. And so I was looking for another avenue to fuel my love of the occasion,” she explains. “I wanted to find a way to give that purpose instead of just consuming for myself.”
The Collective Will takes the idea of Archive but gives it a distinct meaning Randa Salloum flair while engaging members of the community through a designer series that showcases local people with great style who are also making exciting contributions to Vancouver.
“I’ve built such a big network over the past 12 years as a media outlet in the city. I’ve been able to tap into my friends, my family, just my network in general to spread the word,” she says.
Salloum identifies her personal style as ’90s-inspired. “Everything from ’90s EMF to grunge to boyfriend shape and everything in between,” she says. “I know it when I see it. So it’s a bit difficult to define my style, but I stick to things that are timeless at the end of the day. It will be timeless. This is very much reflected in the clothes she acquires every two weeks for Collective Will.
It takes a lot of willpower not to keep a lot of coins she finds, but she promises that in the past year and a half, she’s only ever kept six coins she’s found; the rest she left to us.