The amazing thing about fashion is that you can carry a message along with you and share it with the world, or your world at least. So when you carry the names of men and women who’ve unjustly had their lives taken away, making a statement is an understatement. GLOSSRAGS is one of the leading voices in the conversation of racial injustice and it all started with one sign.
For me though, it started in high school when I met Randi Gloss, founder of GLOSSRAGS and creator of the “And Counting” t-shirt. Even then, I just thought she was cool. I couldn’t figure out why she had haters (because she definitely did) but she never seemed to be phased. She was always nice, always sociable, always stylish, but always had an “I’m going to do something with my life” air about her. And that’s exactly what she did. It’s only the beginning, but I have a feeling GLOSSRAGS is set to make a significant imprint. Read on to hear about who molded her style, what inspires her and exactly who she thinks she is.
You’ve always been stylish. Even in high school when we were all a bit challenged in the fashion department lol. What was your upbringing like? What drew you to style, fashion etc?
My mom and grandmother are both incredibly stylish. My mom introduced my to one of my favorite brands, Rugby by Ralph Lauren that I wish still existed! To be honest, I was a tomboy for a long time. I went through a phrase where I hated wearing skirts and dresses but sometimes, my mom would still find a way to get me in them. As a little girl, she would pick some of the dopest outfits for me, I’m talking patterned tights, matching bows, the whole nine really. There’s this picture of me when I couldn’t have been any older than two in a denim onesie with a white collar and other when I was around four in a denim skirt with red cowgirl boots. My mom kept me so hip! When I became old enough to buy my own clothes, I would pay attention to what the “cool kids” in school were wearing (even in college) and put my own personal spin on it. About 2/3 of my wardrobe as a college freshman were hand-me downs from my older cousin but they were new to me so I found ways to get creative with what I had to work with.
What and/or who inspires you?
I’m really inspired by people who show an enormous level of resilience and dedication. The Ferguson community really stood up for themselves not only directly after Mike Brown’s murder but in the months that followed. For them, it wasn’t just about his death, it’s about the discrimination they’ve endured for years by the Ferguson Police Department. The same is true for the people of Baltimore.
I’m also very much inspired by Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, Sonia Sanchez and Erykah Badu, just to name a few. They are some of the most brilliant women I’ve ever encountered. There is so much power and depth to their words. I’m mesmerized every time I hear them speak and by the words they’ve penned to paper but also for the struggles they’ve actively engaged with. They’re just so real.
What’s the most rewarding and hardest part of running your business?
The hardest part of running my business is definitely remembering everything. There’s always so much to do so sometimes I do slip up and forget to send an email or something like that which for me can be frustrating because it’s never done intentionally but I recognize how much little things can have a big impact.
The most rewarding part of running GLOSSRAGS is hearing stories and seeing pictures of people who are inspired by the brand.
GLOSSRAGS is a fashionable/wearable answer to the glaring issue of racism/prejudice/police brutality in America right now. What gave you the idea for the line and what made you respond to what was going on in this way?
The shirt started as a sign that I carried at the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. I couldn’t walk ten feet without someone stopping me to take a picture of it or seeing someone’s faces visibly react to it. When I got home, I grabbed a sticky note and drew out a t-shirt with the names on it because I felt as though it could be something more. A few months later, I reached out to my mentor to see if he was willing to lend me the money I needed to get some shirts made. Eventually, he said yes so I then I worked with one of my best friends to design a log and build a simple website. I sold 45 of the first 100 tees at Broccoli City Festival and by May, the rest were gone. I can’t say that it was anything in particular that made me respond to what was going on other than I felt the need to actually do something. Oddly enough, it was kind of “quiet” when I started in the sense that it was before Mike Brown & Eric Garner were killed so it wasn’t a direct reaction if that makes sense.
What’s something interesting, inspiring or funny that’s happened while wearing one of your shirts?
That’a good question. I’m always inspired when people tag me on Instagram in pictures of the shirt. I wasn’t wearing the shirt at the time but a white minister from Texas tweeted me and said that the shirt inspired his remarks at a NAACP event. He wore his And Counting t-shirt while he spoke and started off by simply saying their names. “I wear this shirt in the same spirit that gathers us tonight, that we would not forget their names, nor what caused their lives to be cut short: violence.” I was truly touched and awed that the shirt inspired to write such a powerful speech.
What does success look like to you? What type of impact do you ultimately hope to have?
Success looks like the continued growth and development of GLOSSRAGS. Doors are opening for me to speak and host workshops at universities which I really dig and is needed as tensions arise on campuses across the country. It also looks like God-willing getting our forthcoming documentary into film festivals and in front of the eyes as many people as possible because the stories we’re telling are powerful. I want to so much for this world—healing, peace but I also want change and to create change, you must be willing to fight so in knowing that, I want GLOSSRAGS to be an invaluable part of creating safer futures for my people.
Who do you think you are?
I’m just a humble servant with an unbeatable hustle. I work hard, I dream big, and execute efficiently.
To learn more about the GLOSSRAGS movement, head to glossrags.com right now.