Joel Carman's store captures denim's sense of family and community.
For 45 years, family-owned retailer and online boutique Over the Rainbow has been a denim destination for Toronto locals and visitors alike.
The shop, known for its expansive wall of premium denim, is run by founder Joel Carman along with his wife, who heads finance, and his daughter and son, who hold management positions within the company.
The store opened in a 450-square-foot space on Bloor Street, a strip known for its high-end shops. While it started out as an alteration service primarily for women’s denim, it quickly grew in popularity and services, causing Carman to move to a bigger location before ultimately settling into its latest 6,500-square-foot home in midtown Toronto which also serves as an online fulfillment center and photo studio.
Though the store shutdown during Canada’s lockdown, the retailer has reopened to the public at limited capacity. The store has also put in place dedicated changing rooms, more hygienic practices and opportunities for store pick-up. And its signature in-store tailoring services are now managed them under strict Covid guidelines.
What will the denim industry be like in the next 18 months?
In the next 18 months, I think we will see a return to more basic, sustainable and durable fashion. With denim becoming more of a staple than ever, comfortable stretch fabrics will take a bigger place in clothing. More people will be working from home but will still want to be fashionable and well-dressed—just in a less formal manner.
What change would you like to see in the denim industry as a result of Covid-19?
Partnership is more important than ever. As an industry, we need to agree on the common goal and how we can achieve it together. Success cannot be built by nomads. We need to continue to build strong personal relationships, share information and explore new ideas to help us win as an industry.
How do you define sustainability in a post-pandemic world?
Sustainability is the movement of our time. Conservation of water, reducing chemical treatment of our clothing, and implementing fair labor practices will be important parts of clothing companies’ platforms.
Describe your dream jeans.
My dream jean would be a 13.5 oz. left hand ring spun Japanese jean, in 100 percent cotton with mechanical stretch. This is a throwback to a fabric from Rivet Laundry developed in the 80’s by Adriano Goldschmied.
What is your most worn pair of jeans, and why?
My most worn jean is an exclusive fit we created in collaboration with Naked & Famous. They named it the ‘Nice Guy’ after me (I guess). It’s a mid- to high-rise with an athletic thigh and a skinny bottom in a 12 oz. stretch ring spun Japanese selvage denim. It’s also made in Canada, and as a Canadian retailer, I love supporting locally produced brands and denim.
Name one word that best describes denim.
Timeless. It is multi-generational. It can be interpreted in so many ways, which makes it such an exciting and enduring fabric.