Our History


Exploratory Genes - Bloor Street

Joel Carman opens Over the Rainbow with 1 salesperson (himself), 1 tailor (his business partner) and $2,000 startup cash.

2 Change rooms, 450 square foot, 2nd floor shop in the once-famed Bloor Street shopping mall Lothian Mews.

Two things came from this tiny space: The “Denim Wall” stacking jeans to the ceiling, and the infamous “Jujube Jar”, a fun treat thanking people for shopping.

Hot Labels included Rebel, Landlubber, The Market, A.T. & Co., Tiger Brand and most notably Kadosh, an embellished denim line from Israel.

1976 - 1981

First Five Years of growth - Cumberland Street

Joel takes full ownership of Over the Rainbow and moves it to a street front property on Cumberland street. (now occupied by Sushi Inn)

1450 square feet, hand-painted window sign on the window, and now 7 employees help service customers wanting tailor fit perfect jeans.

Our in-house alterations department offers a full range of tailoring services and does over 10,000 original hems a year.

Highest quality fabrics, modern fits & innovative designs are a must of every jean sold at Over the Rainbow; we really care about what makes denim premium


A Place to Call Home - yorkville Avenue

Over the Rainbow moves to its current home at 101 Yorkville Avenue.

Expands from 2,800 (1982) to 3,700(1985) to 6000 square feet (1989)

Larger store houses a neon logo sign, 40 employees, and new shopping sections for men and kids.

First celebrity endorsement comes from Wayne Gretzky in a Toronto Sun interview.

Hot Labels included French Connection, Chevignon, Espirit, Harlequin, Lee, Lacoste, Non-Fiction, Big John, YSL, and Ralph Lauren.


Surviving Hard Times

Over the rainbow promotes “vintage-inspired” clothing, the uber-trend of the 1990’s.

Early 90’s recession shrinks sales by 30%, and forces store to reduce space to 4,000 square ft.

New sections include higher end women’s apparel and a Replay Jeans shop-in-shop section.

Silver Jeans launches “Frisco Flare”, creating a huge buzz for the low rise women’s flare.

Retail Directions Magazine gives owner Joel Carman his first ever cover story.

Joel organizes the Harley Davidson Motor cycle Run, a citywide motorcycle marathon raising money for the Hugh MacMillan Rehabilitation Centre.

Hot Labels included Manager, Indian Motor Cycle, Marithe Francois Girbaud, Matinique, In Wear, Calvin Klein, Earl Jeans, Tommy Hilfiger, and Chip & Pepper.


Premium Denim Explodes

Over the Rainbow celebrates its 25th year with charity barbecue & shopping on Yorkville.

New 4,500 square foot space means a new cash counter, 19 change rooms, and an expanded alterations department.

45 floor staff now, including a buying team and over 25 floor staff to help service customers on busy Saturdays.

$200 jeans become the norm, thanks to LA-made denim brands as well as Canadian favourites Chip & Pepper, 1921, Guido & Mary and Silver Jeans.

rainbowjeans.com becomes our official website; newly hired Faulhaber PR starts getting us spots on Much Music, CityLine, and Global TV.

Hot Labels included Seven For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity, Lucky Brand, Sacred Blue, Blue Cult, Rock & Republic, Premium Denim, True Religion, Hudson Jeans, and Paige.

2010 - NOW

Whole New World

35th Anniversary capped off with a huge in-store party with donations to Autism Speaks Canada

Skinny jeans, raw denim, 4-way stretch & joggers are just some of the new denim trends pioneered by Over the Rainbow.

Accessories department now includes hot items like shoes, jewelry, scarves, hats, bags, and MUCH more.

rainbowjeans.com is re-launched with along with Facebook & Twitter pages to keep customers updated on all things Over The Rainbow.

Over the Rainbow starts getting recognition in the local community & consistently voted “Best Jeans Store” by reads polls of Lou Lou, Now!, Post City and Toronto Life magazines.

Celebrity shoppers include Chris Bosh, Tomas Kaberle, Marilyn Denis, Nelly Furtado, Jeanne Beker, and Dina Pugliese.

Hot labels include Canadian greats like Naked & Famous Denim, Canada Goose, Mackage, LINE Knitwear, and Fidelity Denim, as well as internationally recognized brands like Zanerobe, Nudie Jeans, Current Elliot, J Brand and Velvet.