Just opened: Carbon makes its footprint on midtown

Just opened: Carbon makes its footprint on midtown

The casual-cool menswear shop Carbon stocks such feel-good brands as Shared and Alternative Apparel (Photo by Karon Liu)

Consider Carbon, the new jeans and T-shirt boutique on the Yonge strip north of Eglinton, more as owner Alex Mazelow’s giant walk-in closet than a casual menswear shop. For one thing, Mazelow has tried on everything in the store (he was testing out a new pair of Ever jeans when we dropped by), and he has played mannequin for women shopping for their absent boyfriends.

“I was frustrated with shopping in Toronto because customer service was lacking. When I go to a lot of stores, the salespeople are either rude or the store is understaffed,” says Mazelow, who made his rounds on the retail circuit in stores like the Gap. “Here we do things like deliveries and drop-off alterations. Last week, I even kept the store open late for a customer who couldn’t get off work until nine.”

Carbon is small, but the selection has been carefully edited down to ensure there isn’t a particular it item that overshadows the rest. Designer denim reigns supreme, like True Religion and Justin Timberlake’s hard-to-find William Rast collection (starting at $269). But men who prefer their denimed derrières to make a less obvious statement should opt for Citizens of Humanity or Earnest Sewn’s darker pairs, which don’t have elaborate embroidery on the back pockets or distressed thighs.

For the upper half of the body, Mazelow chooses such feel-good brands as the charitable Toronto-made Shared Clothing line and the eco-friendly, pro-worker Alternative Apparel collection ($75 for a basic zip-up hoodie), perfect for the socially conscious crowd that’s tired of Dov Charney’s latest (alleged) exploits.

Another draw is the exclusive line of graphic tees by the Toronto-based illustrator Leon Vymenets ($55 each), whom Mazelow met through a mutual friend. Designs range from the absurdly PC “Peace on Mars” design to the somewhat philosophical “The Elephant Is Slow” motto, a head-scratching ice-breaker that’ll certainly make downtown shoppers venture north of Bloor.

Carbon, 2581 Yonge St., 416-487-0795, thecarbonbar.ca/.