Comfort is the key for Collingwood fashion boutique Vaiya

Big plans for a little store in Collingwood were interrupted by a pandemic.

Carolina D’Andrea, owner of at , closed her One Love shop and moved into her new digs in December 2019.

“I redesigned my business for this new location. And that was all kind of around this space. It was all supposed to be comfort clothing, but also travel-friendly wear,” she said.

“I was going to go more in a direction of cruise wear, travel basics, comfy things. I was going to bring in … bags and things that were more on that travel theme — because at One Love, I would have a lot of people coming in saying, ‘I’m going away; I need something comfy.’”

A travel theme turned out not to be the answer, however.

“One of the great things that sort of staged me with my business is comfortable casual wear suddenly became what everybody wanted. We were always into basics, natural fibres, linen, cotton and bamboo, so the stuff I had was very lockdown friendly — or Zoom-call friendly.”

During the COVID-19 shutdowns, D’Andrea set up social media accounts and was able to do short videos showing her casual yet comfy clothing online. Additionally, she doubled the number of mannequins in her store window and changed their outfits regularly, which led to phone calls from people wanting the fashion for themselves.

“Fortunately, because I had an existing customer base and was already bringing in some really good pieces and a bit of active wear, and just like a good mix of things, it worked. Even my footwear collection was always about comfort, so people are now prioritizing comfort more than they ever did before,” she said.

“And I think more people are more mindful of not buying fast fashion. They’re more conscientious, they don’t want too much synthetic. They don’t want throwaway clothes. They want good stuff that will last and I have that.”

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