The University of Toronto and MOTUS Collection: A Perfect Fit

March 1, 2024
MOTUS has gone from its modest beginning in their parents’ Ottawa basement to the newest apparel collaboration at U of T. But how did it all begin? Malik, the eldest sibling, talks about the genesis of the brand.

Story by Laura Rosen Cohen

Staying at home during the pandemic necessitated many innovative changes and adjustments to regular norms of life. Technologies like ZOOM helped people stay at work, in school and in touch, and new and improved delivery services for all manner of household goods and meals expanded exponentially. During lockdowns, some people learned new languages or how to bake soda bread when yeast was scarce. And some people, like the incredible Pottinger siblings; Malik, Sydnie and Callile, used the time to launch a brand new, all-Canadian fashion line called MOTUS.

MOTUS has gone from its modest beginning in their parents’ Ottawa basement to the newest apparel collaboration at U of T. But how did it all begin? Malik, the eldest sibling, talks about the genesis of the brand.

Motus x U of T collection sweat suits

“My background is as a former basketball player. Basketball was always part of my life and I was on the U of T Varsity (Blues) team. I had to stop playing for a number of reasons, and when I stopped, I was searching for a new purpose. Basketball was really a big part of my life and my identity, so I did feel I needed something else to fill in that void. I had always been inspired by my sisters, and how they were always able to spot fashion trends and also set them. I decided to create MOTUS Studios with them. Our logo represents that collaboration, it’s a circle with two running women and one running man,” he explains.

“Me and Sydnie were always putting outfits together, keeping up on trends, and staying on top of fashion in general because it is really a big deal in our area. We would also always go thrifting together and loved putting looks together,” says Callile.

Sydnie says that the journey from being interested in, and observers of fashion, to actually designing their own line happened while under lockdown at their parents’ home in Ottawa.

“But the MOTUS fashion journey really started in quarantine,” she continues. Our father got a new job at that time, and we moved from Toronto to Ottawa. Malik came home from U of T as well, and we had a lot of time to spend together, which was actually great. We realized that fashion was something that we could start fresh together, and that’s continued to be our vision,” she says.

The three siblings were there for each other during those difficult months. And through those months of supporting each other, the idea of MOTUS was born.

“Sydnie and Callile really helped me through that period, throughout that entire tough time,” Malik confirms.

Malik, Sydnie and Callile.

When MOTUS approached the University about a possible collaboration, there was an immediate sense that it would be a great match. The University had existing relationships with other established brands such as OVO and Peace Collective, and according to U of T’s Trademark Licensing Manager, Ivan Canete, MOTUS was another “perfect fit”.

“The MOTUS brand had not only established itself, but it was created by U of T students with U of T students in mind. It was vibrant, student-run and student-led and we are absolutely delighted to support this incredible BIPOC-owned business and introduce the collection during Black History Month and U of T’s upcoming Entrepreneurship Week,” says Canete.

MOTUSxUOFT soccer jerseys

MOTUS merchandise can be purchased online at and will be available at the U of T Bookstore on the St. George campus in late March.

The brand launched in January 2023 and the University of Toronto is proud to be showcasing the MOTUS line on the St. George campus at the U of T Bookstore. In the meantime, the three siblings are keeping extremely busy, balancing their academic studies with running their successful fashion line. Callile is in her last year of high school in British Columbia. Sydnie is at U of T studying Human Resources, minoring in sociology and math and coaching volleyball. Malik is now in his last year of Kinesiology program at U of T.

The University of Toronto salutes the Pottinger siblings and their innovative MOTUS line and wishes them continued success in all academic, career and business endeavours.