Contributed by Katia Caporiccio
Walking into Common Cloth is a lot like walking into my own bedroom: I feel comforted and welcomed. The open and airy environment is enhanced by large windows and mirrors. The translucency of these elements, along with hanging globe lights, is solidified by the dark hardwood floor.
Shuffling through the racks at the cozy Parkdale shop, I see various geometric shapes, bold colours, clean lines and some ruffles here and there. The pieces are feminine yet sophisticated.
I'm greeted by sisters and owners Melanie Talbot and Kristina Bozzo, and their miniature dachshund, Cornelius, who immediately starts licking my ankles.
Talbot and Bozzo, who started out doing marketing work for the Italian line Miss Sixty, decided three years ago to design their own clothing that incorporated their love of dance. Ballet is a heavy influence in many of their pieces, such as the wispy circle skirt: feminine, flowing, and made from Lycra.
"We were both dancers when we grew up; it was a huge part of our lives," says Talbot, wearing a high-waisted jean skirt and a royal blue silk blouse. "From that, we've taken the appreciation of a woman's body and the way fabric moves and applied that to Common Cloth."
The premise behind the line is a classic, timeless look that never goes out of style.
"We wanted to make pieces that you can have for a long time," says Talbot. "There's enough fast fashion out there."
Clothes at Common Cloth are not meant to be trendy. It's exactly the opposite. "It's about being a trendsetter," says Bozzo, wearing a simple teal-coloured cotton dress.
From what I see, the pieces can definitely be incorporated into any wardrobe, and can be worn over again. Talbot says they want their customers' investments to go far. Looking at a typical piece, one can instantly notice the quality of the craftsmanship and of the fabric. A lot of their fabrics are imported from Italy and Japan, and it gives the pieces their flair and originality.
Though the clothing is heavily influenced by ballet, don't expect to see pink, frilly tutus on the racks. Common Cloth's design is dance-oriented, but toned down and modernized. One of the most eye-catching pieces is a blue and black houndstooth-printed trapeze dress. Another stunning piece is the boldly-coloured magenta chiffon tunic-style shirtdress.
"It's not to say everything will look like something she'll wear on a stage, but it's what that girl (a dancer) would wear when she's going out with her friends."
The Hamilton-born sisters are looking to expand globally in the future, and to tackle many markets. "We'd like to build this into a lifestyle brand," says Talbot, "with shoes and bags, housewares, baby, and fragrances." Also, keep an eye out for two new lines: "Fetch" for dogs, and a menswear line, "Common Man."
For more information, and adorable photos of Cornelius, visit commoncloth.com .