It was May 2020. The world was in the grip of a growing pandemic. I didn’t know at the time how many long, isolated months at home lay ahead. I just knew if I had to be home, I needed to see a little glamour in my reflection to ease the languish. My search for silk pyjama pants online didn’t deliver. And so it began. A quest to make a silk pyjama pant, so fine, it could be styled to go out.

I sought advice from world-class Canadian talent in design, pattern making, sewing and ecommerce. I asked friends and colleagues, some of the country’s finest marketers and production talent, to collaborate. In doing so, I remained connected to those whose company I deeply missed, and formed a network of exciting new collaborating partners. I’m grateful for the many acts of kindness – favours and advice that helped this become a reality. I’m happy that I could somehow pay it forward by creating work in our community in a time of great economic challenges.

Importantly, the process connected me to memories of grandmother, Rose – an immigrant who made a life in Canada working in Toronto’s garment factories after enduring many hardships. She became my north star. Her beliefs formed my guiding principles. It took me back to a time before fast fashion when clothes were made with fine, natural fabrics, by expert tailors, close to home. Prized pieces, of such good quality, they could be passed down to the next generation for a new life as vintage favourites.

And so Espino was born.

-Tara McCarthy