Monday, Feb. 09, 2004

C&C T Shirts

It's hard to say how a fashion phenomenon starts, when an item crosses the line from cute new idea to "it" item. But in the case of C&C California — the brainchild of thirtysomething principals Claire Stansfield and Cheyann Benedict — a few lucky breaks have catapulted the company's line of electric-colored slouchy T shirts into the must-have category. One of them was an endorsement in the fashion press from waifish style icon Sofia Coppola. Another was the starring role in a Visa small-business commercial. But the real coup was a prime slot on one of Oprah's famous "favorite things" episodes.

With fans ranging from Coppola to Oprah, Pamela Anderson to Gwyneth Paltrow, C&C T shirts obviously have an appeal that spans variations in taste, age and body type as few other items can. "I'm super tall, so I wanted to make them long. Cheyann's a size 0 and wanted a baggier '70s look, so we just made T shirts that would work for both of us," says Stansfield.

"Once people wear our T shirts, they get that emotion and that feeling and comfort," she adds. "Cheyann and I strongly believe that it's not a trend. It's a staple piece of society's wardrobe that was missing. You've got Converse, Dockers, Levi's. There wasn't really a classic T shirt."