Aaron Bakker and Cam Geddes are the co-owners and operators of DugOut Vintage, a sustainable clothing store on Dundas Place. We sat down with them to learn more about the story behind this Downtown London business.
The pair got together in October 2018 and began running their business out of their basement, selling their vintage clothing through the DugOutVintage Instagram page. “In highschool Cam and I would always go to thrift stores and pick out cool items, not even necessarily vintage items. But we wondered why there wasn’t a store specifically for this?” said Aaron Bakker, one half of the DugOut duo. A year later, the business opened its brick and mortar store at 207 Dundas Place with a grand opening that had customers lined up down the block.
The pair were born and raised in London and grew up in Wortley Village. They remember their childhood in downtown London, visiting the Galleria Mall and spending time at the movie theatre. “Growing up in London we always felt there was a need for something cool like this,” Bakker said, “getting a storefront was something we always wanted to do”. Vintage and thrifted clothing is a trend that most fashion brands are currently trying to emulate, so they say the timing of their grand opening was ‘just right’.
DugOut Vintage had two weeks in their new location before the global pandemic started. Provincial lockdowns closed their storefront, but that didn’t stop the pair from planning Vintage On the Block, a vintage festival held on Dundas Place this past September. “We have gone to a bunch of events like that, but putting on our own literally in our front yard was pretty awesome. We worked with Filthy Rebena and Dundas Place. We got the vendors together, mapped everything out, did the promotion… It was great to see how easily we can bring that to London”.
When asked why they chose Downtown London for their store, Geddes explained that “with the history of London, a vintage store fits in super well. Why not have old clothes with beautiful architecture? The old brick buildings are incredible. It’s kind of a vibe”. They agree that every business plays a part in bettering the downtown, each with little initiatives for the community and bringing traffic to the core.
DugOut Vintage has partnered with Rezonance Printing for a sustainability project. They upcycle old sweaters to make their branded merchandise and donate 10% of the proceeds to youth initiatives here in London. “At the end of the day, promoting sustainability is something we are all passionate about. Why not buy used clothing? It’s just a no brainer to us. It helps water conservation and helps the landfills from filling up with millions of pounds of clothing.”
So why is it important to Keep London Local? “‘Why not?’ is the question I would ask.” Geddes replied.
You’re supporting your neighbour. There are so many big corporations out there that are supporting fast fashion, but why not try and support your neighbour and help them feed their kids the next day? Let’s try and grow the local economy here in London.” “We preach sustainability and we are bringing a style people want to London,” Bakker added. “We are trying to provide what people would go all the way to Toronto to get – now it’s in their backyard.
- Cam Geddes, DugOutVintage
Neither Cam nor Aaron had any formal business training prior to starting their company. The pair reflect on the support their families, and the community, have given them in their business venture: “When you’re in your twenties and don’t go to university and do something that is kind of off the beaten path, it’s just incredible the amount of support your families can give you … the love is just crazy.” says Geddes.
At the end of the day, the messaging that DugOut Vintage wants to share with their customers is to just enjoy their lives and have fun. “Don’t take anything too seriously. Because at the end of the day if you’re not happy, then what’s the point? Be yourself, dress the way you want to, don’t be worrying too much about what someone else is doing.”
Visit their website: dugoutvintage.com
Address: 207 Dundas St., London, ON