This article is a continuation of my recent article, Eight Brands With a Cause to Look Out for in 2017, but with a twist. Included in this article are more than strictly clothing brands but also movements that continue to define what 2017 is shaping up to be. Here are six movements and brands you may have seen on your newsfeed, and if not, you should definitely throw a follow their way.
The Get REAL Movement
I got the chance to speak with the Executive Vice President and Co-founder of Get REAL, Marley Bowen, after falling head over heels in love with the movement’s Instagram page and what they represent. Get REAL was founded in 2011 and has really taken off since, using social media as an important platform to spread their message of love and equality, while promoting their apparel.
“I like to think that it brings like-minded people together in a way in which we never thought possible 15 years ago.” Social media has become a great way for Get REAL to stay in touch with the many schools they’ve presented at and for students and supporters to continue their engagement with the movement. “However, as Get REAL began to grow, our volunteers and supporters wanted to wear something more than just our token pink hats. By 2015 we had begun to develop wearable pieces of clothing that hit a larger target audience (let’s be honest, not everyone wants to rock a pink snapback).” Marley summed up what the Get REAL Movement represents: “Our brand really represents friendship, compassion, and unity. In a world that is often masked by anger and fear, we really want our wearers to believe that love is more powerful than hate and that, together, we can help create the change we want to see in the world.”
Check out their social media pages to get involved with the movement and grab your own pink snapback or black crew with a very important message #JustLove!
The black bead is filled with mud from the Dead Sea – the lowest point on earth, and the white bead holds water from Mount Everest – the highest point on earth. Finding your balance is what these unique and trendy bracelets represent. Founder Steven Izen says, “This idea of balance came to me when my granddad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. I was obviously heartbroken but at the same time grateful for the memories we’d shared.” When you wear these bracelets, it is your daily reminder to “Stay humble, stay hopeful.”
The Lokai initiative supports a variety of foundations so buyers know that their money is going to support a cause that they can connect with. 10% of net profits are donated to their charity partners. One dollar from each bracelet will support the charity of which that bracelet represents. Some of the different charities Lokai works with are: Make a Wish (rainbow), Alzheimer’s Association (purple), Oceana (blue, grey, white twist), World Wildlife Federation (camo), and Save the Children (red). Lokai has also recently released a new orange bracelet supporting their partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Lokai bracelets have become extremely popular with many celebrities and people all over the world. Head over to their site and grab yours #LiveLokai!
To Write Love On Her Arms
TWLOHA was originally started by Jamie Tworkowski, who was selling T-shirts to help cover the costs of a friend’s treatments, while struggling with addiction, depression, and suicidal thoughts. He wrote about his friend’s journey and posted it on MySpace and this is where his own journey began as many people reached out to share their own struggles.
In 2007, TWLOHA officially became an American non-profit organization. It is a movement “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery”. They have created a safe space online with a blog section to read personal stories of overcoming and accepting mental health issues. TWLOHA relies on social media to reach a larger audience both across the United States and on an international scale. “It has allowed us to get the message out that hope and help are real. When people share our posts, it means there is an opportunity to reach at least one more person than we could have before.” One message the TWLOHA team would like to share is that “[They] want everyone to know that your story is so important and your life is worth living.”
Their website is a treasure trove of information that is extremely engaging, and their merch is a physical symbol of hope and knowing you are never alone. Check out their store section and I can guarantee that there will be a message you will connect with.
Make some room Queen Bey, there’s new royalty on the rise. RegalChiz was created by current Laurier student Carmen Chizanga, who is taking the online music industry by storm. “RegalChiz is a platform which belongs to the youth, a space where creatives can express their talent and witness their vision come to life to be held at the highest standard.” Her passion for the latest and greatest artists stepping onto the music scene is painted all over the goldmine that is her website. I was extremely happy to get in contact with this fierce gal who shared what this passion and movement stands for. “I created Regal because I wanted to open a platform that focuses on highlighting and exploring the culture of urban lifestyle from the sound, to the aesthetics, down to current trends that constantly build and redefine our generation.”
RegalChiz focuses on and gives credit to the behind the scenes of the music industry. “I thrive on understanding the creative process in detail and that’s what I felt like was lacking on a lot of the sources I used to look towards. I love hearing/talking about big names for sure, but what about the voices that helped push them to the place they’re at? That’s what I wanted people to be a part of, to understand that people operate at different levels and that you can achieve greatness without being at the forefront of everything.”
Carmen agrees that social media plays an important role in the success of a movement as it helps connect people from near and far. “It’s 2017 and really if you think social media is just a tool for narcissism, you’re lacking; I’ve found that social media has helped me create and be inspired in ways I probably wouldn’t have without it. I’m able to understand what people my age want to be a part of by paying very close attention to trends on that floor and just keeping up daily conversations with complete strangers; it’s amazing the things you can learn from something like a single Twitter thread.”
Summer ‘17 is set to be a huge one with further content on the way, and I strongly encourage everyone to keep an eye out for those whom this gal believes are on the come up.
Wear Your Label
Wear Your Label is one of my favourite up and coming brands! What they stand for is empowering and their clothing is flawless. Here is what the Wear Your Label team had to say: “The fashion industry is notorious for making people’s mental health worse – for perpetuating unrealistic ideals and encouraging body image issues. When we started Wear Your Label, we saw fashion as such an opportunity to create change from within the industry, to challenge the status quo, and to create conversations through the clothing we wear everyday.” Founder Kayley and co-founder Kyle came up with a small idea: to create clothing that sparks conversation about mental health. “Wear Your Label was created to remind others that it is okay to not be okay, self-care isn’t selfish and whatever struggle you may be going through, you are not alone.”
Wear Your Label collaborates with local and national mental health organizations and donates 10% of net profits to partner charities. I asked Wear Your Label how they view and use social media and this is what they said: “Social media is a tool to cultivate a community – online. Often, businesses/brands forget the true meaning and origins behind ‘social media’ – the ‘social’ aspect. We use social media to repost our followers, customers, inspiring advocates, and really further the conversations from our brand and continue to spread visibility for an invisible issue.” Wear Your Label is coming out with more video content as well as a Capsule Collection project co-created with their favourite Instagram poets. Give them a follow and stay up-to-date on all their amazing initiatives and clothing designs.
The Old Soul Project
Lastly, Laurier student Alex D’Oliveira has created a social lifestyle brand called the Old Soul Project. “The OSP is a social lifestyle brand that supports living with Old Soul & Young Spirit values. It’s designed as a reminder to encourage people to seize the moment and to appreciate the little things in life like building authentic relationships, memories and experiences. Its goal is to promote minimalism, mindfulness, and to encourage people to be the change they want to see in the world.” The brand was inspired by a revolutionary, multifunctional fidget and exercise bracelet that Alex created that is actually changing people’s lives. “The bracelet is something that is helping and will help a lot of people in a lot of ways.” He hopes that the bracelet and brand can help to inspire individuals to live a more simple and happy lifestyle. “We can’t do this on our own. Right now we are in a phase of building content for our online presence. We’re currently building a team that still needs a photographer and videographer that wants to help promote the vision of the project. We’re also recruiting brand ambassadors who are excited about creating this change in the world that we all want to see.”
I hope you all check out each brand and learn more about what they are doing to create a positive change in the world. I had the absolute pleasure of corresponding with many wonderful people from each feature and I wish you all the best of luck!