If you live in Hamilton or have even visited you have most likely passed by the bright pink shop with the eye catching window displays nestled in the International Village on King St East. The opening of Girl On the Wing, just over a year ago, was an exciting moment for the community as it marked the beginning of a new identity for the International Village. What once was a somewhat forgotten section of the city is now bustling with coffee shops, book stores, barber shops, amazing food and plenty of young new residents.
Girl On the Wing is owned and operated by the absolutely beautiful Whitney McMeekin, a Hamilton native with an inspiring passion for all things nostalgic. From a young age, Whitney was infatuated with a world of imagination, whimsy and dreams and having been raised in a bookstore, her creative nature was free to roam. As time went by she learned to express herself through dance and then during her teenage years, Whitney went thrifting with her sister and stumbled across the reality of her imagination – vintage. She discovered a time of classic beauty, of glamour and femininity and a time where quality and care were priorities. From that began a passion that she would carry through her education in Fashion Communication at Ryerson University and her years working in the Toronto fashion industry. Whitney would spend her free time searching high and low for little vintage treasures and when her collection grew to be too much she came to the realization that it was time to share her passion with the people around her. That realization then turned into what you see today, a physical embodiment of her collection and the dream world in which she lives.
When you walk through the doors of Girl On the Wing, you are instantly transported into a world of nostalgia, where you are surrounded by furniture, knick knacks, clothing, shoes, and novelties all authentically vintage or inspired. Whitney made the choice to separate herself from other stores that specialize in vintage by offering a more relatable approach. Along side her collection, she has hand picked items from all over the world that replicate vintage aesthetics in a modern medium while still relaying the ideals she hopes to portray. It has always been incredibly important to Whitney that her store be unique, as she herself is a unique soul and her goal is to offer unique and cool items to people in an affordable and approachable manner. It is intended that Girl On the Wing be the place for discovering the magic in the old and celebrating it in a new and completely personal way. To her the beauty of vintage is not just the story behind it but also the story that will be created, and that is exactly what Girl On the Wing accomplishes. The shop is bright and airy and the atmosphere is very relaxed but there is also a hint of lingering excitement, because to Whitney and her customers it is an experience. Every person is welcome to be completely individual in how they see the store and what they make of the products inside. The idea of vintage is no longer overwhelming as everything is offered in a way that is applicable to the everyday person, even those who have not ventured into the world of vintage before.
Chatting with Whitney is really a treat as she has such a beautiful outlook on the world. She is an inherently positive person who is inspired by everything around her. She views fashion as an expression of art or creativity and sees the beauty in the smallest of things. She appreciates design in all forms and tries to share that with her community, whether it be colour and pattern, textiles, fashion or paper goods. Girl On the Wing, truly is a direct extension of Whitney and the experience of being in her store is nothing short of amazing. In the few times I have visited and the day we spent talking I have grown to admire and respect her greatly. I appreciate her love for the past as well as modern fan culture and I can not go into her store without spying something I need to add to my own personal collection.
I truly think that Girl On the Wing is one of the best shops in Hamilton run by one of the loveliest souls I have ever met. If you get the chance, please stop by and experience your own trip down memory lane.
Girl On the Wing is located at 181 King St. East in Hamilton Ontario
Apologies for all the photos, everything was just too stunning!