THE COLOUR COLLECTION - AN ODE TO CHILDHOOD
Do you remember what it was like to be a kid?
For each one of us, childhood looked a bit different but whether it was spent going on adventures with imaginary friends, building sandcastles in the sun, fighting monsters, saving the world or climbing trees; it was hopefully a good one.
As adults with a million and one responsibilities on life’s never-ending to-do list, it’s so easy to forget about these younger years! However, our childhoods create the foundation for much of what our lives look like now. From our education to our upbringing and even to the foods we did and didn’t eat, it’s safe to say that childhood is no small thing.
Throughout the design process of our latest drop, The Colour Collection, we wanted to create a range of products that took us back to our childhood days and encouraged us to remember what it’s like to be a kid! Through the playful design and the soft, pastel colours, we wanted to remind each person who puts on a piece of clothing from this collection of the childlike innocence that once bubbled inside us all, reminding them that you’re never really too old to be young.
Beyond the clothing, we also wanted the social impact for this collection to impact the essence of childhood. Keeping within the youthful theme of the clothing, we chose to direct our giving focus towards the issue of childhood poverty and food insecurity. With this issue being more prevalent following the difficult year COVID-19 dished out to us, we knew this was a problem we wanted to help bring relief to.
Through this collection, we are so proud and excited to be working alongside Feeding Birkenhead’s Number Seven charity to provide 72 vulnerable children with personalised and age-specific hampers that are filled with nutritious and tasty foods, imagination-inspiring items such as toys, arts and crafts and books, and of course, our favourite Oi items! We have also been overwhelmed by the support and generosity of some incredible brands who have so kindly donated their products to help us fill these hampers, taking them to a whole new level.
This collection has revealed and proven that despite all odds, difficulties, tests and trials, teamwork doesn’t just make the dream work, it makes a difference too.
With The Colour Collection, we wanted to push our production to create our highest quality garment yet. We chose to use embroidery, carefully placed on a range of colourful products to do this, and to create the cosy, upbeat collection you now see. We started with a youthful, playful and colourful mood board, and when visualising the design, we very much had an image of childhood fridge magnets or Jenga blocks falling over in mind! This resulted in the chunky-font-style lettered building blocks and the palette of pastel colours to help us achieve this sense of childlike artistry inspired by what a kid would create with a stick of chalk.
When it came to developing the concept for the design across the range of products, we wanted to reflect the building blocks tumbling down and being built back up again. You can see this design idea emerge on the Purple Fleece, then tumble off the White Sweater and finally, being built back up again on the Blue Sweater. From childhood to adulthood, we all need building blocks of creativity and imagination in our lives. And most importantly, we all need to be reminded that these fundamental build blocks, regardless of how many times they tumble over or fall apart, can always be built back up again.
Unfortunately, for so many children across the globe, childhood is filled with all the things it should be free of: worry, pressure, fear, lack, malnourishment and more.
Childhood poverty is a difficult reality for so many kids in the UK and worldwide. By definition, childhood poverty is a state whereby the child, “lacks the resources to obtain the type of diet, participate in the activities and have the living conditions and amenities which are customary, or at least widely encouraged, in the societies in which they belong.”*
Over the last year, the world has been made more aware of the harsh realities of childhood poverty and food insecurity by the heroic efforts and campaigns of individuals and charities who work directly with children and families affected by these issues. Throughout COVID-19, many of us saw pictures of the meagre hampers that were supposed to feed a family for a week but could hardly cover feeding them for a few days. Understandably, this left us shocked and inspired many incredible individuals, organisations and businesses to act.
Did you know that since 2010, the number of emergency food parcels distributed by the Trussell Trust has risen from just over 40,000 to well over 1.5 million – that’s an increase of 3,900% in just 9 years**.
With or without these figures, it's no mystery to that the scale of these issues is enormous. And like all social issues, those that are least able to fend for themselves are usually the most vulnerable, and in the case of food insecurity, these vulnerable individuals are the children. You’d probably agree with us in saying that children should not have to worry about anything other than being a child, and that they should be free to imagine, empowered to have fun and protected from concerns such as where the next payslip or the next month of rent or simply the next meal will come from. Yet, these worries are the reality for many children across the UK, understandably making their lives pretty brutal.
The reality of food insecurity is one of the factors why consistent access to meals provided by schools is absolutely essential. Many of these kids will arrive at school without having eaten a substantial meal, if having eaten at all, and according to a recent study led by Kellogs™, teachers in the UK reported that at least 2 children arrive at school hungry no less than once a week in each class. A lack of food not only impacts the child’s physical health but it impacts their cognitive abilities too. Hunger and malnutrition can result in a significant lack of concentration, information absorption and cognitive clarity, and teachers who participated in this study shared that hunger can negate up to one hour of learning. This translates into 8.4 weeks of critical learning time lost throughout a child’s primary school career***.
Sadly, this is not a small, isolated issue but in fact, the estimated figure sits around 4.3 million children that are considered to be living in poverty - almost the size of the entire population of Northern Ireland and Wales combined.
It can be easy for us to simply see these as numbers on a page and to not think twice about the lives that lie behind them. However, as we challenge ourselves to see that little bit deeper into the stories behind these issues, we’d love to encourage you to do the same. We want to remind each other that every one of these 4.3 million children has a unique set of hopes and dreams to be anything from doctors to ballerinas to artists to scientists and so much more. Each one of them deserves to have an education where their time spent learning is not time spent worrying. Each one of these kids deserves to know that they have a future ahead of them; one that is bright, bursting with potential and bubbling with joy! And each one of these children deserves to have access to healthy, filling and essential meals each day. For many of us, we will never face a reality that lacks these things but we all have the ability and the responsibility to change this for those that will.The Colour Collection is your opportunity to be part of this small but significant impact.
We know that we are not going to solve the problem of systemic poverty in the UK for all children. However, we do believe that we can give the children supported by Feeding Birkenhead's Number Seven charity the hope, love and compassion they deserve. We believe that we can show them that they are valued and worthy of the very best things that make a childhood great. Because of these beliefs, each hamper we’ve put together contains high-quality, nutritious foods, items specifically designed to inspire imagination and, as always, our favourite Oi items created especially for individuals in need of a little encouragement. These aren’t just any hampers. These are hampers of hope.
Every single item purchased from this collection contributes to the cost of these hampers, meaning that no matter how big or small your purchase is, YOU have contributed to making this hope tangible and to making a significant difference in the lives of these children.
Thank you for helping us to give these kids their childhoods back. We are so grateful for your support 💜
*Peter Townsend, Child Poverty Action Group.
***Kelloggs: A Lost Education