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Fashion Stores


Posted by Briony / Posted on November 2, 2009

Shared TorontoShared got no love for years in Canada, but the super-soft tees have finally come home, with the local line opening a wee shop on Bathurst.

There, people can pick up tees, cardigans, and hoodies spun from Shared's prized Supima cotton, which is the highest grade available in the United States. It's shipped to Toronto, where it's knitted, dyed, washed, dried, cut, and sewn. "We want to really control the whole process," said co-owner Carlo Colacci.

Shared TorontoBut people weren't so hot on Toronto-made tees at first. "We've been wholesale for five years now. People didn't want local before, so we sold in New York, Los Angeles, and Japan. Canadian customers are kind-of conservative and followers," says Colacci.

But once the trend for local wares started, Colacci and his partner Joyce Lo thought it might be time for a TO try-out. After a pop-up shop next to The Drake was successful, the two stuffed their new permanent space with a half-and-half mix of men's and women's shirts.

Tees start at $38, tanks at $30, sweatshirts at $88, and cardigans at $85.

Shared TorontoThe palette will change with the seasons, although neutrals will always be on-hand. My favourites were the slouchy teal tank, and the white tees with that perfect worn-in feel (without the unsightly stains). It's practically Shared's trademark--according to Colacci, they want people to buy tees that feel like you've already worn it forever. Success? Yes.

Shared TorontoI really dug the prints that the pair use on some of their tees: slogans include "Old Flames Are Dead Matches" and "Less Make-up, More Make-Out," and there was a lovely, spare math table gracing a few pieces. Shared hopes to start collaborating with local designers in the spring for some new designs. (Maybe you can pair 'em with the Ksubi jeans and Generic Surplus shoes also on sale here.)

But the best part? A full 50% of profits go toward charity. And when you buy something, you can write down your charity suggestion for where the cash should go.

Now that's sharing.

Shared Toronto
Photos by Eugen Sakhnenko.



ouch / November 3, 2009 at 10:44 am
38 bucks for a t shirt? That shirt had better make me a B.L.T. and take out my recycling.
Kwil / November 3, 2009 at 11:10 am
Half of the profits go to a charity, so really the t-shirt is 19 bucks... which isn't bad at all.
katie / November 3, 2009 at 11:32 am
I don't think it's that Canadians are followers so much as Canadians don't want to spend $38 on a plain white tee. Giving half the profits to charity (and how much profit is that, really - net or gross?) is nice but a sustainable business model that offers Torontonians a Toronto-made product at a competitive price would, in the long-term, be better for the local economy.
Cassiopeia / November 3, 2009 at 11:34 am
Yes, but what constitutes "profit"? I'm sure the profit margin is no more than 50% with these locally-made shirts, so it's really about $28.50 for a t-shirt, with about $9.50 going to charity. Though $19 is still pretty steep in my books.
Rico / November 3, 2009 at 12:05 pm
$38 for a frickin tshirt? Do I get the rubber womannequin that's inside it?
ouch replying to a comment from Kwil / November 3, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Kwil on November 3, 2009 at 11:10 AM
Half of the profits go to a charity, so really the t-shirt is 19 bucks... which isn't bad at all.
The profit is not 38 bucks.
The price is 38 bucks.
The profit is the mark up on whatever the shirt cost.
So no, 19 bucks do not go to charity.
And yes, 38 bucks for a t shirt is still a bit ludicrous, since there's no way on earth one of these fuzzy wuzzy t shirts cost more than 6 or 7 or 8 bucks to make.
Le_jenk / November 3, 2009 at 12:30 pm
You are forgetting to factor in the rent these dudes are paying for the store. Unless they are hocking their shirts from the trunk of a car then that must be factored into the cost of everything they sell.
Rico replying to a comment from Le_jenk / November 3, 2009 at 12:39 pm
Um, Le_jenk, that isn't the slightest bit the beginning of a business plan behind these guys. At the end of the day, fixed or variable costs involved, slightly south of $40 for a tshirt is outrageous. Similar businesses selling shirts I've found in Toronto can go for $5 or less. Every store downtown or otherwise, either owns their location or pays rent.
Denise / November 3, 2009 at 12:58 pm
Yes but, are those $5 shirts made in Canada, with Canadian minimum wage? Are they made of organic cotton, reducing pesticide poisoning to both workers and wearers of the shirts? Just like food, clothing has a "real" cost. Next time you buy a $5 shirt, ask yourself who made it, how much they were paid, and how many chemicals both of you are absorbing into your skin.
Luke / November 3, 2009 at 01:01 pm
On the one hand, even American Apparel, which has high-rent locations all over the city, charges only about $20 for a made-in-the-USA t-shirt. On the other hand, Canada's clothing manufacturing industry is all but dead, and the capacity to make clothes for a reasonable price locally just doesn't really exist in Toronto. Regardless of that, what Shared is selling is not a t-shirt, but a status symbol. Nice fabric, nice box, and the warm fuzzies you get from supporting charity. If you want cheap, Canadian-made t-shirts, go to the Bay and buy a 2-pack of Stanfields (made in Nova Scotia).
EMS replying to a comment from Luke / November 3, 2009 at 01:04 pm
Luke...I couldn't agree more. Well said.
Rico replying to a comment from Denise / November 3, 2009 at 01:09 pm
Nothing says we have to use Canadian anything. Nor organic. Nor cotton. Clothing has a cost, regardless of where it's from or how it's made. Our economy is based upon importation of items from countries that have little respect of the aspects you mention. The low cost of these items makes them affordable to many.

Next time you see a $5 shirt, ask who is buying it and if they actually need clothing. I, have 3 biology degrees with an MBA. I've pretty much studied this most my academic lifetime, and I own companies that put stuff on the market. I've done nothing but ask myself these questions, and several you've never even thought about. Raising the cost of a tshirt to $40 isn't an option for a lot of people.

And tshirts don't necessarily have to be manufactured. Ever know how much second hand clothing is actually available? You know how many old tshirts are actually out there, not owned by individuals? You'd be amazed.
mondayjane / November 3, 2009 at 01:24 pm
Yes, but you probably think nothing of blowing through $40 worth of pints on a Saturday night, or a weeks' worth of Starbucks. <br><br>
To me, $38 to support a local with 50% going to charity is great value on many levels. I would totally check out their shop and buy a tee. <br><br>

ps: Stanfields is great for wearing UNDER things.
Rico replying to a comment from mondayjane / November 3, 2009 at 01:32 pm
Starbucks no, but beer, quite often. Tshirts are tshirts. I don't buy fluffy toilet paper either. My ass has never complained. %50% of profits. You don't know how their numbers are structured. As they say, "Statistics lie".

See you at the pub, Jane!
Le_jenk / November 3, 2009 at 01:35 pm
Rico do we need to attach our CV's now with our comments?

Obviously you are a true "expert" and "business man".
Rico replying to a comment from Le_jenk / November 3, 2009 at 01:38 pm
No, but having perspective always helps. To condemn or support something like this 100% is so Western thinking.

Also if you don't like input, the Internet might not be for you.
chron ron / November 3, 2009 at 01:44 pm
so we're supposed to stay in opinion-limbo to steer clear of western thinking?
Rico replying to a comment from chron ron / November 3, 2009 at 01:51 pm
Supposed to? No, it's a discussion. Comments. You can have your opinions, but it's helpful to know all options before making a decision.

Is everybody supposed to take your approach to things? This all started with someone making a comment that $38 was too much for a tshirt. I think that's a pretty valid approach considering we're in a recession, don't you think?
GG replying to a comment from EMS / November 3, 2009 at 04:27 pm
I definately agree with you luke,

Also american apparel is now a worldwide brand who sells everywhere.
Its called economies of scale, 20 T-Shirts vs. 200 000 T-Shirts.

Do the math...
Soma replying to a comment from EMS / November 3, 2009 at 04:32 pm
Just Reading through, and how many crazy people purchase those 500$ + Fendi, LV, Gucci Bags, that are made in china and cost only like 20 bucks.

Some people buy it cause they like it irrelevant of cost.
Elf replying to a comment from ouch / November 3, 2009 at 06:45 pm
Really? There's no way that knitting, dyeing, cutting, and sewing a garment from raw cotton could take someone more than an hour?
guido johnson / November 3, 2009 at 06:52 pm
ignorance is bliss....
Question / November 4, 2009 at 09:18 am
If this crap is going to charity, do i get a tax receipt???
BANGZ IS NUMERO UNO / November 4, 2009 at 10:02 am
if it's too expensive go somewhere else. seriously why are people still bitching like anyone cares what they think?
PracticeWhatYouPreach replying to a comment from BANGZ IS NUMERO UNO / November 4, 2009 at 10:11 am
"why are people still bitching like anyone cares what they think?"

Heed your own advice, no?
Gus / November 5, 2009 at 04:33 am
I'm so excited for this place! how soft are these tshirts exactly? I hope they have creative graphic art.
Gus / November 5, 2009 at 04:34 am
I'm so excited for this place! excited to see how soft these tshirts are exactly. hope they have good graphic t's.
a / November 7, 2009 at 01:16 am
Ugh...Torontonians are so cheap. It is for this reason and for lack of general style that when you walk around Toronto, if you're lucky, you'll find one person amongst a plethora of people who are atrociously dressed that has put together a decent outfit. $38 for a tee is an EXTREMELY reasonable price. Go to New York or Paris and you'll see that the independent designers are selling their tees for upwards of $90. If $38 is unreasonable to you, don't buy it. Simple as that...and it'll show. You wonder why there are maybe two good stores in Toronto? It's because almost nobody here is willing to pay the money for the good stuff.
kc / November 9, 2009 at 11:47 am
Well said, a.
YaThatsWhy replying to a comment from a / November 9, 2009 at 12:10 pm
That or most people here aren't as pretentious.
If a fancy t-shirt is your idea of being "cool and hip" the more power to you. Thankfully 99.9% of the population here see a bit more clearer on such things.
J / December 16, 2009 at 04:25 pm
i fully agree with a. YaThatsWhy: how rude. spending money on quality (and, honestly, i've spent more than 38 on a t-shirt) doesn't make me pretentious. and i don't do it because i think it's "cool and hip". you're being pretentious just saying that the way you did.
YaThatsWhy replying to a comment from J / December 17, 2009 at 08:34 am
You truly believe $38+ on a t-shirt is getting you "quality" and has nothing to do with you wanting to be trendy???
Come on...even you're not that slow.
Patrick / January 13, 2010 at 05:23 pm
Haha oh man, if it weren't for all the name calling this would be an amazing discussion! BlogTO commenters! I am this close to being proud of you guys!

Seriously though, I think the discussion that has spawned is fantastic and there are a lot of good points being made. The debate about the potential motivations behind purchasing one of these items is especially interesting- whether it be motivated by a desire for genuinely higher quality garments or to show solidarity with Torontonian labourers and designers, or whether it would be a hollow gesture with either knowingly or ignorantly is motivated only by a desire to feel somehow superior. Interesting stuff you guys!

The questions about sustainability are interesting too. Having almost the entire process done in the city is exciting (and probably contributes to the price), although I'm curious about how much of an impact is had by shipping in the material from the US. Maybe the local cotton just isn't up to the company's standards. But hey, what do I know, right?

Personally, I'm very interested in this operation, and frankly I'll probably one day end up buying something here. Not necessarily for the supposed sustainability or the (perhaps gimmicky, or at least played up) charitable aspect. What interests me is something not really touched on in the discussion, that supporting Torontonian designers, labourers, and independent businesses is important to me. The debate could be never ending regarding whether or not the operation is genuinely sustainable or whether the customers are well-meaning or delusional, but hopefully we can all agree that earnest, local businesses and business owners deserve a bit of local support.
blewzineboy replying to a comment from mondayjane / February 12, 2010 at 09:13 pm
Ahemmm, i wear my stanfields on the outside, thank you VERY much. (expect the undies, which I wear underneath)
Yvonne / June 17, 2010 at 10:18 am
Canadian are basically cheap especially Torontonians!
Peter / October 24, 2010 at 01:33 am
I think $38 is not EXTREMELY reasonable for a tshirt, but if the quality is worth it if it indeed is excellent quality. However, I am so sick of the people who think they are human rights activists because they are not buying from mass produced, have you ever thinked about if you buy from "country with no labour laws" that those people will probably still be hungry, that they will have way less income that they do now, and their country will not have the adequate resources to provide their citizens with the basic standard of living? You might feel like you are saving them from all these poisonous fabric dyes and unhealthy working conditions, but who is saving you from getting breast cancer because you put artificial sweetener in your brand name coffee every morning. Please just give the social unjust a rest and stop ruining every review on here.
Larry / July 14, 2013 at 03:46 am
Today, about dieting effects 90% of all soybeans in the United Kingdom?
For example, I was told the whites of my eyes are very bright, my fingernails
longer, white tipped and stronger than ever.
Yana / August 17, 2013 at 10:11 pm
Yeah--$30+ is a lot for a t-shirt...but it's SUCH A GREAT T-SHIRT! I have a bunch of them and they are the Best. Super soft, they look great and they are very long lasting. I love them and will continue to shop there, no doubt!

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