Just opened: Shared takes us back to basics

Just opened: Shared takes us back to basics

A fluorescent pink clothing rack adds whimsy to Shared (Photo by Lia Parsley) 

On a discreet strip of Bathurst south of King, the newly opened top shop Shared is rethinking luxurious cotton basics. Moving away from American Apparel’s neon product surplus, Shared is making torsos comfortable (and simple) again by perfecting the art of home-grown organic manufacturing.

Carlo Colacci and Joyce Lo have been in the business of basics for five years, distributing their line wholesale to retailers in New York (Atrium), Los Angeles (Fred Segal), San Francisco, London, Japan and Hong Kong. They’ve kept their roots firmly planted in Toronto by operating the quirky Drake Hotel General Store and opening Shared’s first boutique.

Colacci says that in recent years (perhaps in the wake of the local gastronomy movement), appreciation of Canadian-made fashion has increased, along with a willingness to pay for quality. Shared uses premium organic supima cotton that’s knitted, dyed and sewn in the GTA. Tanks start at $30, tees range from $38 to $78, and fleeces are $100 and up. The loveliest silhouettes are the Talissa shirt ($55), a bold scoop neck with long lines, and the boxy Tia boyfriend tee ($62). Delicate metal accessories are handcrafted by the owners. Later this autumn, Ksubi jeans and shoes from Generic Surplus will be added to the mix.

The store’s interior is less trendy than its whitewashed brick exterior. The diminutive 350-square-foot space conjures a rustic walk-in closet, with raw wood, antique trinkets and other vintage memorabilia—it’s hodgepodge industrial Canadiana. A glowing fluorescent pink clothing rack adds the right dose of tongue-in-cheek.

Unlike another cotton basics retailer, Shared is decidedly righteous: 50 per cent of all revenue is donated to local charities. “We wanted to set an example to other companies and feel pride in our product,” says Colacci. “It may sound radical, but the concept of donating half of our revenue to charity was one of the original aspects of our brand.” Do-goodery is a nice touch, but it’s the divinely soft fabric that won us over.

Shared, 82A Bathurst St., W–F 4–8, Sa–Su 11–6. 647-348-3374, weshared.com.