This is difficult for us to write. Not because we can’t find the right words, but because we shouldn’t have to be writing it at all.
The events of last Monday night, 22nd May 2017, outside the O2 Arena in Manchester, were sudden and awful, and the shockwaves and sadness still reverberate far beyond the North West.
We wanted to add our voices to all the others in tribute to Manchester, to its people, and to all the families affected. Most of all we wanted to acknowledge the utterly positive way the city and its people have reacted, and how we relate to this.
The North West is in our blood, and when we started Kidult & Co we had our own vision of inclusivity that we were determined to express through products we truly cared about. Now, more than ever, we think this sense of togetherness, of giving everyone the freedom to be themselves while also being a part of something bigger, is vital, and a huge part of what we do, and what we can offer.
Simply Stated, Simply Felt
The most powerful statements are simple. In response to a crisis, people find their own, most appropriate response to it. How simple, how moving are the flowers in St Ann’s Square, in central Manchester, for example? The message they get across isn’t complex, but it feels incredibly powerful to stand there among those floral tributes and personal messages.
We value simplicity and we’ve always done so. When we began, we wanted most of all to make kids’ clothes that would connect with people at a very direct level. So, we designed our monochrome range of children’s wear and we found the right messages to match. And while these messages and slogans aren’t lofty or profound, they’re real, for real families, for real kids.
Yes, the clothing is playful, a bit cheeky, but it’s never condescending. We want to engage, to feel what our customers feel, to understand what they’re about.
The people in St Ann’s Square are the people we relate to, who share the same worries, concerns and moments of happiness as us. The real world can be a terrifying, unpredictable place, but it’s also home to great joy and profoundly positive feelings.
Everyone is Different, But We Share Things
Who wants to be pigeonholed? The people of Manchester haven’t allowed themselves to remain victims. They’ve taken a heavy blow and all of us connected to the area have felt some sort of aftershock, but already there’s a feeling of something else in the air. People are expressing themselves as individuals, each with their own responses, but also with a sense of community, of togetherness.
We’ve always celebrated difference, in fact we’ve built our business on it. Growing up, the three of us each felt we didn’t want some pre-arranged version of ourselves as girls to be the one we conformed to. So, when we came up with the idea of kid’s clothes that were minimal, monochrome and unisex, it was to express this sense that childhood should be about freedom, as well as belonging.
How do we capture this? It’s about looking beyond stereotypes, and seeing kids as individuals, who should be free to wear clothes that don’t box them in from an early age.
And in Manchester, you can see the value of the individual even as they share very powerful feelings with others. Think of the homeless men who rushed to the aid of victims on the evening the bomb exploded at the arena, or the taxi drivers giving their services free of charge to help people to get to where they needed to be. Think of the wave of positivity that still carries Manchester along, despite this sad, terrible new piece of its history. Think of the small, individual choices people have made to be a part of something bigger, from personal gestures such as bee tattoos to generous donations, official tributes and outpourings of support and solidarity throughout the region, and the country.
Making Our Values Count
In this climate, we want to continue to play our small part in contributing to the North West and its fortunes. We’ve always looked locally first, to be able to contribute to our immediate economy and support local suppliers and manufacturers. Because we think that the clothes that your children wear should stand for something beyond the garments themselves.
Yes, we run a business, and yes, we want people to buy our minimal, unisex clothing designs for children, but we also want to continue to give something back. So, we promote local business, and we promote ethically-sourced materials. And the message our clothing gives out is always positive, about children as individuals, and of parents and children sharing something special together.
We’re three women from the North West and what has happened in Manchester, and what continues to now happen there, makes us feel proud to be local. This tragedy makes us more determined than ever to make what we do count, because what we do reflects a clear, positive sense of values and a faith in the future for kids in Manchester and everywhere.
Why is a Lifestyle Brand Important?
If the past week in Manchester has told us anything, it is about the resilience of people, and not in some clichéd way. No, it feels more heartfelt than that, and spontaneous too.
When we talk about our monochrome kid’s clothes as a lifestyle brand we’re not trying to make them out to be something more than they are; instead, we want them to be a choice that hopefully reflects the values of the families that buy and wear them.
These kind of simple, lifestyle values are what has shone through in Manchester. They’re about normal people, some of whom have suffered enormously; some who have acted selflessly and heroically; and some who are just doing their best in trying times.
And you know what, their best is more than good enough.
Get In Touch
Find out why what your kids, and you, wear can feel different by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, why not fill out the contact form on our website, so that we can get to know you better.