Aug 28, 2023
Britt is wearing the Indra Knit Jacket.
While in Toronto we spoke with Britt Barkwell, founder of T.LINE, home to our favorite foundational style staples.
Tell us about T.LINE and how it came to be!
During the pandemic, my co-founder Alia and I really gravitated towards key foundational pieces in our wardrobes that were wearable but made us feel good, with crisp shirting – in soft fabrics and relaxed silhouettes – on high rotation.
T. LINE was born from the notion that the market was missing brands that not only offered well-made essentials at an accessible price point, but also a brand that helped its customers easily achieve an undone elegance that comes when you invest in fewer clothing pieces that are better. And really, what is better than iconic menswear-inspired shirting!?
The piece seems to perfectly capture the dichotomy of the current era – sophisticated yet laid back, polished yet cool and elusive. There were lots of brands in the space offering shirting, but they all felt less relevant and outdated. We wanted to offer a shirting first brand that offers a classically cool, fresh perspective on the wardrobe staple (and its complimentary essentials), while targeting customers shopping with longevity in mind. T.LINE’s goal is a more thoughtful approach to dressing - we want to be part of the shift to more wearable, thoughtful clothing made for the real world.
What has been the proudest moment for you in your career?
Definitely launching T.LINE and seeing it grow and how positively it has been received by our customers. I think that success in growing a business is rooted in authenticity. You need to believe in the business you are building and live and breathe it every day. Both Alia and I are very passionate about what we are creating. We genuinely love the clothes we are making and live in them, and I think that resonates with people. You also need to be vulnerable and not be afraid to ask questions, and surround yourself with people who know things that you don’t.
What motivates you when you need an extra push?
Definitely travel! I find it so refreshing to be surrounded by new cultures. I am planning a trip to Copenhagen and can’t wait to discover the city and get inspired.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’ve always taken a less is more approach to dressing—I would describe my style as thoughtful, elegant and modern. I feel the most myself in a pair of vintage denim and a crisp white blouse. This approach to dressing has definitely shaped T.LINE as our goal is to help women simplify their wardrobes by creating pieces that are thoughtfully designed and timeless.
Who are the women that inspire you?
We’ve actually named our shirts after some of the inspiring women in our lives. The Isabel Shirt is a tribute to my six-year-old daughter and 86-year-old grandmother who share the same name. They are both incredibly resilient and inspiring forces in my life. It is important for me to lead by example and show my daughter that hard work pays off and that you can carve out your own path.
My partner Alia is also a huge inspiration. If it’s possible and desirable, find a business partner that you genuinely click with and who allows you to bring your best self to work every day. We have very different backgrounds as far as work experience goes, but our skill sets are very complimentary. Alia is focused on the finance, strategy, and ops side of the business, whereas I’m focused on creative direction and branding. We really respect each other’s ‘lane’s’ but we both share a mutual understanding of the business and can speak the same ‘language.’ Ultimately, we really trust each other’s abilities and opinions. We spend so much time together—texting, calling, and emailing—that our husbands make fun of us, but I genuinely never get tired of chatting with Alia. It makes work really fun.
What is your favorite piece of art, film or book you have seen or read recently?
Well this hasn’t happened yet, but we are heading to Paris in a week with our kids and I can’t wait to show them Musée de l'Orangerie (a favourite spot in Paris). We will be viewing the gallery with an artist and then going to the artist’s studio to create a giant family reproduction of the Monet’s Water Lilies using pastels. I can’t wait to share this experience with my kids and create lasting memories.
If you were a color, what color would you be and why?
Red. I am a jewelry minimalist, but I never take off my Redline diamond on a string bracelet. I am also a bit superstitious and believe in the power of the red string to bring protection, good luck, strength and connection.