Peace Collective
By Parisima Baha

Started from the Bottom

Yanal Dhailieh never imagined that the T-shirt business he started from his mother’s basement could end up becoming an iconic Toronto brand. In fact, he never even planned to work in fashion. He studied biomedical science at the University of Waterloo and landed a sales job at a software company. “This wasn’t really in the plan at all,” says Yanal, looking back on the success of Peace Collective. “It was just something I kind of did as a hobby.”

The idea sparked during a Raptors game. Yanal had created custom T-shirts for him and his friends to wear to the game, thinking nothing of it. But then, when he got to the stadium, people began complimenting his shirt. “As soon as we got out there, a bunch of people started asking, ‘where did you get that?’” he recalls. And that was that; in 2014, he launched an online shop for Peace Collective, selling garments that showed pride for Canada and Toronto.

We wanted a place where we could get feedback, connect with our customers and our community – a place that could be a community hub. - Yanal Dhailieh, owner
Yanal Dhailieh never imagined that a T-shirt business he started from his mother’s basement would end up becoming an iconic Toronto brand.
Photo by Parisima Baha
A proceed of each PC purchase goes toward providing two healthy meals and a snack for a Canadian child in need.
Photo by Parisima Baha

From E-shop to Storefront

Peace Collective hit big retailers like Hudson’s Bay and mom-and-pops like Risqué Clothing and Smoke + Ash. They even collaborated with other local brands like Canadian retailer Mendocino, and local lingerie and loungewear designer Mary Young. This success led PC to eventually open an official flagship store on Ossington in September 2016. “We wanted a place where we could get feedback, connect with our customers and our community – a place that could be a community hub,” explains Yanal. “We want to throw a lot of events here, be able to give back more to the community, and be able to do a lot of cool things and actually interact with our customers, as opposed to just being an online business.”

As soon as you step inside the shop, you’ll notice Peace Treats, a pink bar serving epic milkshakes, a “Home is Toronto” mural, and Blue Jays gear emblazoned with Peace Collective's “Toronto vs Everybody” slogan. The spacious clothing store (formerly O’Born Contemporary art gallery) carries men’s and women’s T-shirts, sweaters, jackets and baseball caps, and rather than finding a bunch of sizes on the racks, you’ll find at least one of each homage design (i.e. “Home is Canada,” “Canadian Built,” “Home is Toronto” and more) organized by colour. But don’t worry, ask for your size and you’ll get a freshly packaged piece to take home.

Men’s and women’s T-shirts, sweaters, jackets and baseball caps neatly on display like works of art.
Photo by Parisima Baha
Even the little ones can rep the 6 in Peace Collective onesies and T-shirts.
Even the little ones can rep the 6 in Peace Collective onesies and T-shirts. Photo by Parisima Baha

The Fight against Hunger

Yanal’s concept for Peace Collective began from a charity standpoint, before he even got the idea to design clothing. He was inspire on a trip to Morocco to teach English.“The school was having a problem getting some parents to send their child to school,” explains Yanal. “The parents would take their child out during the day to beg and panhandle for money. And the school found that the only thing that worked was offering a meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. That way, the parent didn’t have to worry about feeding their child; they could send them to school and they’d be getting a meal.”

Yanal wanted to give back in the same way to the Toronto community, so when he launched Peace Collective, he partnered with the charity Breakfast for Learning. A proceed of each PC purchase goes toward providing two healthy meals and a snack for a Canadian child in need. So, shopping from Peace Collective is more than just showing pride in where you come from, it’s also a way to give back – so Canadian, eh?

Peace Collective sells garments that showed pride for Canada and Toronto.
Photo by Parisima Baha
Peace Collective is located on Ossington Avenue between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West.
Peace Collective is located on Ossington Avenue between Dundas Street West and Queen Street West. Photo by Parisima Baha
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