Inside the world of Charlie & Gus, Toronto’s quirkiest clothing line for kids

Charlie & Gus creator Susan McGregor recalls how her mother made all of her clothes by hand, and it seems she is following in those very footsteps. Her wild and crazy clothing line for kids is attracting attention, and with ideas of hot dogs, popsicles, and rhinos dancing around in her head, McGregor dishes about her growing business and what drew her to the use of her exclusive prints.   

What makes Charlie & Gus so unique?
Secretly, I design clothes that I would like to wear myself, but I know I could never pull off! Not so secretly, I design clothes that are original and quirky. We are different from other kids’ clothing lines, literally because the pieces are just that: different. 

From ostriches to orangutans, hot dogs and pretzels, where does the inspiration for these quirky designs come from?
Being a mother of two boys, I wanted other options for them than just the plain jeans or black, grey and navy pants. I wanted bright and bold, fun and crazy, to make my boys giggle and smile. Believe it or not, I get a ton of requests for adult sizes because, as it turns out, moms and dads want to wear tiger pants and hot dogs shirts as much as kids do!

Why the name Charlie & Gus?
My two sons, Charles, 2, and August, 3, they have literally inspired everything about this clothing line, so I decided to name my company after them. Gus is already telling me to put his name first. 

We love the off-the-wall prints you choose! Why did you choose to go with themes like hot dogs?
Because hot dogs are fun! And delicious! No, my prints are actually inspired mostly by my boys — a comment Gus makes, a poster on the subway, the ice cream truck at the local park. I keep a notebook and jot down anything I think would be amusing and different!

The fabrics of these pieces are so deliciously soft! What are they made with? 
We use only 100 per cent organic cotton knit fabric and water-based pigment inks, perfect for the budding environmentalist! Our colourful harem pants are made from French terry fabrics that are the softest on the market.

Your seamstresses are all local. Why is this important to you?
I know each of my seamstresses personally, and I think it is so important to support those within our own community as much as we can. It feels wonderful knowing that Charlie & Gus has grown enough to be able to support these ladies — even if just by a little!

What’s up next? Will we be seeing any hamburger hoodies in the future?
It’s very possible, my head is spinning with so many new ideas! We definitely have a few new things up our sleeve that we are currently working on, but shhh! I’ve already said too much! 

Article exclusive to TRNTO