Stylish Kidswear for a Cause
GWK: What led to the collaboration between Beru Kids and HRC?
Sofia Melograno: I've always been a big HRC supporter. Growing up and living in two progressive cities, Los Angeles and New York City, I had a diverse group of family and friends, including many who identified as LGBTQ. My family had a foundation focused on social justice and art, so I was exposed to various causes and people from different backgrounds from a young age. However, the vast majority of people in my circle shared the same liberal, progressive views as I did. It really wasn't until the election in 2016 that I fully realized what a bubble I lived in. I, like a lot of people, was very much affected by the hate being spewed. As the Founder of a children's clothing line, I realized that I had a platform, albeit perhaps a small one, to show my support for a cause (marriage equality) that I so deeply believe in. In addition, after spending time with so many kids (best part of my job!) I noticed kids aren't jaded by the judgement and opinions that many adults have. By creating a children's line of" Love is Love" apparel, we're allowing our mini customers to voice their support for marriage equality and HRC.
GWK: What exactly is the "Love is Love" capsule? What are some of the items that will end up in the capsule that help show "love is love?" Are the same items in each capsule?
SM: Our Love is Love capsule features five pieces: Kendall Love Sweatshirt, Charlie Love Sweatshirt, Ryan Love Sweatpants, and the two 100% organic 'Love is Love' t-shirts.
GWK: Tell us about Beru Kids. Why the focus on sustainability and ethical production? How does this lend itself to the partnership with HRC?
SM: Beru Kids is a children's clothing line based in Los Angeles focused on sustainability and ethical production. The fashion industry is the 2nd largest polluting industry only after the oil industry. Fast fashion has been detrimental to the industry not only regarding pollution and creating vast amounts of waste, but also in terms of labor rights. There's a very real issue with child and slave labor in the fashion industry, specifically in the developing world. The majority of seamstresses are women and a majority of them are not paid close to a fair wage. Employees are overworked, underpaid, and often times unprotected because there are little to no health or safety regulations in these countries. The lower the wage, the more profit these big corporations and brands are making. Big corporations are blind eye and relying entirely on what they're being told from their remote contacts who are often outsourcing their production for even less money. These issues aren't only present in the developing world. Unfortunately, a lot of these things happen in the US, too. I've seen so many factories where the employees aren't drinking water so they don't have to take breaks to use the restroom because they won't be paid. As a brand owner, having a company that operated that way was never an option.
GWK: Few childrenswear companies have taken such a pro-LGBTQ stand. Why is it important to Beru to speak out on this issue?
SM: That's exactly the reason we're speaking out. It's in times like this where I believe it's crucial to be outspoken regarding your beliefs. If that leads to us gaining a new set of followers, cool. If we lose customers based on this, so be it. We're not doing this for financial gain but to show our support for causes that we as a brand support.
GWK: Tell us about the designs! What's your inspiration?
SM: All of our apparel is a cross between California cool and urban living. We ended up finding this amazing knitted love fabric at a deadstock warehouse. Deadstock, or surplus fabric, is fabric that's left over from larger brands. Often times it's perfectly great, unused fabric but for reasons such as color, weight and excess quantities, the brand didn't have a use for it anymore. The brand liquidates it and it typically ends up in warehouses where we'll come across it. If it isn't sold, it gets thrown away and ends up in landfills. When we came across this fabric our initial idea was to do something for Valentines Day, but the more our team thought about it, the more we thought that this has a greater purpose. That's when we started thinking about doing something in support of marriage equality.
Check out more of Beru Kids and the Love is Love project on their website!