Look closely at the retro black and red bowling shirt from the new Vancouver line Parallel Universe Apparel, and you'll see the vintage label over the chest reads "Intuition". Turn to a women's dark-heather V-necked T-shirt, and you'll see a cartoon ghost named Wispy with a speech bubble that says "Listen to your spirit". And a blue trucker hat is emblazoned with serene "Clarity" where an old-school motor-oil patch might normally go.
In a playful, subtle spin, the new collection from Danny Regan, the same design mind who once brought the city the hip Ironhead line, is celebrating the power of meditation and mindfulness. And the pandemic lockdown feels like the right time for the deliberately uncorny positive messages on a collection that's "more street than studio". Cue a series of hoodies, bowling shirts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and more that feel a little more alternative than your standard yogawear, but also spread positivity in the least pushy way.
"Initially when the full spectre of Covid-19 set in I was a bit disheartened that my business was preparing to launch at this time. Then an odd thing happened," Regan says. "The isolation and quarantining forced people to be more introspective. They started to slow down and reassess what was important in their lives. Family time became important. Individuals started to communicate with each other more. There was an abundance of kindness and respect for each other. More humanity. The practice of meditation was suddenly embraced by a whole new wave of people. Now I realize that in these uncertain times the more positivity the better so the timing is perfect."
As you might have guessed, Regan was inspired by a personal awakening. As anyone who ever visited West 4th Avenue's Ironhead knows, he's an energetically positive person. He says he never went looking for something more, but when yoga and meditation presented themselves to him, he knew he'd found his thing. Still, he couldn't relate to or wear the standard gear he saw in the wellness apparel market, finding it "a little twee and redundant".
"The circle of people I knew meditating was growing exponentially. People from every imaginable walk of life," he explains. "The demographic of people taking yoga was changing also. It be came apparent more and more individuals were looking for a way of decompressing and getting away from the constant bombardment of everyday static. Desiring a chance to connect with their true self and inner light.
"Amongst these groups were many people I would consider kindred spirits. All of them original individuals. Truck drivers, rock and rollers, CEO’s, artists, writers, car enthusiasts, et cetera."
In other words, it was a clientele very much like the one at his Ironhead a decade or two ago.
For Parallel Universe Apparel, Regan incorporates the template he developed at Ironhead: "limited edition, responsibly sourced, high-quality, vintage-inspired urban uniforms for original individuals", with the majority of product manufactured in Canada.
Watch for a variety of SubDivision Collections, such as the mysterious Black Rabbit Vintage Yoga, which finds its retro bunny mascot on a grey women's ripped-scoopneck sweatshirt. (Where can we sign up for a flow class?)
You can find the full line here.
Regan stresses it's not aimed at gurus, yogis, or mind-over-body masters. You don't have to have to have reached the Samadhi meditation stage to spread good vibes with his clothes.
"It is geared strictly to those that embrace positivity, or respects positive attributes but cannot relate to current ubiquitous fashion trends," he emphasizes. "To this point, Parallel Universe Apparel caters to the the nonconformist nomads that embrace positivity as a way of light. In a world awash with negativity and shadows they are the luminous ones that try to bring a little sunshine to everyday life in their own unique way."