Ruby Laine Pope
Founder + Designer
As a 17-year-old experiencing my senior year of high school during a pandemic and an emotionally charged year of civil unrest, I was constantly reminded of what I can’t do. I can’t go to school, hang out with groups of my friends, or do many of the things I took for granted before the pandemic. I’m also not old enough to vote and I am deeply troubled by the degree of systemic racism in our country and how it impacts not only those I read about, like George Floyd, but also my friends who are people of color. Their stories, and what I witnessed on the streets of Seattle marching in solidarity beside them, motivated me to do something positive with my life.
The idea of designing streetwear came to me for many reasons, the first being that I like wearing comfortable clothes. Second, I knew there were ways to make them more fashionable. I’ve always been drawn to patchwork styles. I was especially influenced by the Frankie Collective. I imagined using the many colors and styles of bandanas to make my own version of patchwork sweats. After hand sewing the first few pieces, which took me almost 8 hours, I convinced my mom to buy me a sewing machine. At first, I struggled to maneuver the narrow pant legs through the machine, but after watching a few hours of YouTube videos, I started getting the hang of it. I eventually found a way that worked for me and began sketching out designs for sweatshirts.
My first sweatshirt was a pink bandana patchwork piece on a white sweatshirt. Half the sweatshirt was plain, and the other half had bandanas. It was a bust. The arms were too tight from all the extra layers of fabric. I experimented with different styles and patterns using the Procreate app, and finally landed a style that not only looked good but also was comfortable. Fast forward to today, I have expanded my collection and started my own clothing line.
What I’m most excited about is a special collection I designed with input from community activists and groups working on the front lines to promote social justice. These pieces were inspired by my passion to promote justice, equality, and love in our society. I donated 50 percent of my proceeds from this collection to Justice for Girls Coalition of Washington State to help end the excessive incarceration and punishment of girls who have grown up in poverty and/or been subject to trauma as a result of violence, racism, sexism, or gender preference biases. I know that I am blessed by my supportive and loving parents. I wouldn’t be doing this today if it weren’t for them. I want to pay this gift forward for girls who aren’t as fortunate as me.
I want to give a special thanks to all of my customers for helping me realize my dream. I’ll be taking a gap year after I graduate from high school this year to see where I can take my business. My dream is to be able to give back in ways that encourage peace, justice, equality, and love in our society. I’m looking forward to realizing that dream with you.
To contact us, please send an email to email@example.com