Anyone Can Be.. Even Me!

It goes without saying, diverse clothing representations are just as important as those made in modern day media when it comes to accepting who we are as individuals and others too. As you know by now I’m mixed race, as is my younger sister. Growing up we were never represented on any of the clothing that we wore. I don’t remember ever seeing a fairy or even a princess that looked like us. I’d like to say that it didn’t have an effect on us but it did. According to my Mum, when my sister was really young she cried for ages when she found out that her hair wouldn’t ‘change’ (referring to the Afro texture of her hair). She was heartbroken (as was my Mum) and had to be consoled for ages. I don’t want to have the same conversations with my son when he’s older. I want him to be able to accept himself for who he is and know that whatever the colour of his skin or the texture of his hair – he’s beautiful! This is why I was so excited to stumble upon Anyone can be Clothing as the concept hits close to home for me.

“Anyone can be Clothing aims to show children that they can be anything they want and it doesn’t matter the colour of their skin or where they’re from”  – Lisa, Founder of Anyone can be Clothing

There are so many different t-shirt character representations available for kids in sizes 0-10yrs, with more in the works. I have to say the character I got most excited about seeing was Ashleigh because she looks exactly like me when I was a little girl. My son is a mix between Max the footballer and the basketball player (pictured in red below). 
Meet Fola, the gentle Queen of her homeland and her brother Femi the free spirited King. Macy is a helpful fairy who uses her wand and fairy dust to help heal the sick and Ashleigh (it’s me!!!!) the ballet dancer who is full of giggles and is always ready with a joke.

As you can expect I jumped at the opportunity to speak Anyone can be Clothing's Founder, Lisa.

So Lisa, what feedback have you had so far from the public? From what I can see it's been very positive, how has that made you feel?
I have so far had some lovely feedback from the public which has been a real confidence boost.  When you start out you wonder if you are doing the right thing, I took a big risk when it comes to work stability but at some point a change is needed and my children were my inspiration. 
I was inspired to create Anyone can be Clothing by my three mixed race children who are rarely represented within the children's clothing industry.  As I researched this further is was shocking to find how little children of all races were represented.  It is so important for children to see themselves represented in society and this change is desperately needed.  I see children of all races being used as models which is great but is this reflected in the characters we see on clothes, toys, books and cards?  My answer would be no.  There are some great independent small businesses trying to do something about this and it would be great to see the major high street stores to do the same.

I noticed that you're expanding your range to Teen sizing. What was the inspiration behind the characters you chose? When can we expect the range to hit the online store?
I love the designs for my teenage range. I work with some really good designers and I have a different designer for each of my ranges. With the teenage range I was looking to produce black sweatshirts and I wanted to create some powerful eye catching designs.  I also wanted designs that adults would feel comfortable with wearing as that is something I would like to think about expanding into in the future.  
My husband is African so that was my inspiration of the beautiful African Queen and the Congolese man [pictured left].  As a family we love music and as I mentioned my children are mixed race so I really wanted this reflected in two of my characters that is when we created the man and woman listening to music [pictured below]. I was hoping to have this range created at the beginning of the year but at the moment we will be looking now towards the end of this summer.  

Do you have plans to further expand the clothing range? If so can you give us any hints as to what we can expect?
I really want to expand the range. I have so many ideas and I desperately would like to represent many more children.  I would also like to create some more empowering characters for boys and girls and have been getting some great feedback from customers.  My intention is to create much more than T-shirts.  Each character comes with a character bio so a child can get to know the character they are wearing and this is also so we can produce books in the future about each characters adventure.  I love the idea of backpacks and one well worth exploring.  I would also like to look at swimwear and creating soft plush toys of each character. 

Do you think high street stores are doing a good enough job in representing children of ethnic minorities in their clothing? Is it a goal of yours to see your range selling in high street stores?
My honest answer is no.  I see many companies now representing ethnic minorities and mixed race families in their adverts and the models they use but they are not reflecting it in the goods they sell.  I still believe there is a way to go and it would be wonderful to see Anyone can be Clothing in the high street sooner rather than later.

I hope that in the future more high street and online retailers adopt the Anyone can be Clothing mantra and start to represent more diverse characters on their clothing and not just in their advertising strategies.

Anyone can be Clothing is available to buy at Keep an eye out for the teen range, due to hit their online shop later this year.

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