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Local Business Spotlight: Très Normale

Posted by Luc / October 19, 2011

20111015_mmpix_tresnormale1.jpg I am by no means a Fashionista or Fashionisto (the male equivalent). I am not a connoisseur of fine clothing, or a post-post modern era street style expert. However, I am a major t-shirt enthusiast. I have two hoodies, one sweater, one plaid shirt and 30 t-shirts.

Looking to add to my t-shirt arsenal, I recently purchased two 'Urban Design' t-shirts from Très Normale, an online t-shirt boutique based out of Mile End. Both are simple color (one green, one blue), and depict a recognizable image of an intersection or street corner around Montreal. On one there is the intersection of Clark & Bernard, and on the other St Viateur street with a view facing the temple.

Behind these simple-yet-obscurely-cool shirts is local online business owner Joern Schmidt. Originally from Berlin, which apparently has a massive and competitive clever t-shirt market, Joern saw a major opportunity for his business when he arrived in Montreal 5 years ago. Setting up shop in a modestly-sized studio complete with all the necessary equipment to make shirts, he introduced Montreal (and the North American market) to Très Normale's signature product: a t-shirt line featuring famous Philosophers along with an ironic or hilarious quote pertaining to their more popular theories.

Need an example? Take his best selling item: a t-shirt with Ludwig Wittgenstein and the word 'Silence'. What's that? You don't get it? You're not alone. Joern believes the shirt sells more because of the handsomeness of its subject, rather than the obscurity of the reference.

20111015_mmpix_tresnormale2.jpg If Wittgenstein doesn't tickle your fancy, there are dozens of other philosophers available in various colors, from Chomsky to Plato to Neitzsche.

If the Urban Designs are more your thing, you can choose from a wide variety of scenes including Rachel street, the highway overpass along the Décarie, and hip Toronto neighboroods like Kensington and Roncesvalles.

20111015_mmpix_tresnormale4.jpg On top of being very normal, Très Normale's shirts also use water-based ink for silkscreening rather than PVC based ink, thus minimizing the environmental impact without jacking up the price. All shirts are made in Joern's workspace in Mile End, and sold online through the website.

20111015_mmpix_tresnormale5.jpg So if you're looking for Holiday gift ideas or simply long to be in with those hip philosophy majors, Tres Normale might have what you are looking for. Even if it's just a way to rep your city in a very obscure and discrete way.

About the Owner

Name: Jeorn Schmidt
Origin: Berlin, Germany
Currently: Mile End, Montreal
Favorite part about Montreal: The bilingual community and the overall transience of the city (how few people are actually native Montrealers)
Least favorite part about Montreal: The winter. Joern travels to South America and other adventurous locations during the winter season.
Other fun facts: His shirts have been spotted as far as Mendoza, Argentina, and he offers free shipping to anywhere around the world. Even though he lives in Montreal and the shirts only come in English, they sell extremely well in Scandinavian countries.

Do you own a small and local business, and want to have it featured on Midnight Poutine? Email Luc at



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