Women in Power / Why Keep Real is for Everyone

71Fr2S+6pAL._SL1131_If there’s a documentary I couldn’t recommend enough, it would be ‘Miss Representation‘ on Netflix. Exposing how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America.

Although I’m in the UK, sexism and under-representation of females in positions of influence or power exists. It has always existed, and continues to in every country in various degrees.

In the UK, women account for under a third of those in self-employment, and if women set up businesses at the same rate as men, there would be an extra 150,000 start-ups in the UK each year. Plus, for ever £1 a man earns, a woman earns 81p.

Nothing has really stopped me from starting up my own business, but I do wish there was a higher representation of successful women in the media. I’d like to think that we are becoming more aware of how the media influences us- and that what we see on our screens, isn’t necessarily something we have to take as the right way to see the world, or the right way to portray women.

However, those of a younger age, I believe do not have this awareness. When young girls are at school, they are constantly evolving, changing and growing as an individual. Girls are still trying to find themselves, and with the media being so accessible- is this making it harder for girls to find their identities?

 

This is why I’m starting my business. Keep Real stands for something good, not just in sustainability, it reflects equality as well as diversity as a brand. I’ve chosen the bands, artists or creatives to be involved with Keep Real; because they reflect a true representation of people. We’re not all size 8 for one. We don’t all have the same goals and aspirations, but that’s what makes us who we are. The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more. Because people need something real. I know its corny, but Keep Real is something I truly believe in as a brand for everyone. It will continuously grow to reflect real people, and support folk’s wellbeing too.

The media portray women (as well as men) as something that isn’t actually accurate at all. We are all on different paths, and it’s time to start portraying that more.

There’s an extremely good article on how social media is harming the mental health of teenagers here, which I found so insightful. We’re changing the way we socialise and it’s putting so much pressure on teens, as well as everyone else.

It’s time we started making a difference to how the media affects us, and creating something for the people- not against.

 

Trusted Clothes and Keep Real!

The wonderful Canadian non-profit Trusted Clothes are documenting my brand Keep Real’s journey of sustainability and inspiring wellness. So sweet! Please go ahead and check it out.Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

It’s no good promoting mental well-being as a business, if the business doesn’t have the foundations of trying to be the best version of itself either. So we expanded the definition of wellness to include our sustainable souring policy within our supply chain.

Here’s the first blog post I did as the founder. Excitingggg!!! ❤

Challenges of Starting a Sustainable Fashion Brand

Keep Real: behind the scenes

Well, a lot has been going down lately with Keep Real. It’s so so SOOOO exciting, yet I just never blog about it. A lot has happened and is happening, so it’s a real big mush ball of designing, networking, creating and thinking. Definitely a lot of thinking!!

I held the first focus group for Keep Real last week at Huddersfield University (sorry, I didn’t get any photos…boo!) with more turning up than I thought- so that was awesome!! It was a little bit nerve racking, but I asked a lot of questions, discussed all that I wanted to discuss and presented my ideas for the brand. The more I present, the more I’ll feel comfortable doing it. It was great to have a lot of feedback, so that’s what I’ve been working on!Screen Shot 2016-04-04 at 16.06.15

The fit of the garments is so crucial, and that’s what I’ve been struggling with. I know what I definitely want to create for the brand- but it’s about adhering to people’s needs. Unisex just doesn’t cut it, and I want to create the right fit for everyone. However, with the first launch of the new collection- it’s going to be super limited. This launch is about finding out what’s right, what needs changing and adapting.

I’ve been networking with all sorts of wonderful folk; photographers, musicians, bloggers, videographers etc. And continue to do so with a few meet ups next week! So it’s about getting the right people behind Keep Real, who are just as passionate about the brand’s ethos and aims! Also with the hopeful launch of the end of July, I’ve been looking at office spaces too. All in the good time though!

Anyway, back to my drawing boards and all of that jazz. Hope you’re all having an amazing day!

You can follow Keep Real on all social media platforms with @keeprealuk ❤

 

Why I Started Shopping Ethical/Sustainable

Hi folks! I am feeling much better lately, thank you so much for the messages of love and goodness ❤ I wanted to share with you my views of shopping in a conscious way. Being mindful mentally goes right into how I shop and why I shop for clothing and goods. It’s also why my business Keep Real is aiming to be as sustainable as possible.

Most of us think we should care about where our clothes come from. But a lot of the time, we don’t. This is the common ground we all share, and the feedback I got from my Keep Real focus group yesterday (which I will review in another post I think!). We want to care, but because of our shopping environments that have been forced upon us- we also feel we don’t have a choice.

Looking for the latest trend, and having the habit of eyeing up the inner labels of the garments- can actually be quite off putting as a conscious shopper. I personally love shopping, trying pieces on and feeling real good about my choices. But are my choices making me truly feel good? I check the labels in the fast fashion chains like Primark or Topshop for example and knowing that they are not sustainable is so disheartening. If only all our clothes we select when shopping were ethically/socially conscious, so we didn’t have to second guess the majority of the time.

Most of us think we should care about where our clothes come from, but because our shopping environments don’t really give us that option- we feel we don’t have a choice.

It surprises me that everywhere I go, apart from H&M having an extremely small ‘Conscious’ collection, that brands continue to produce collections that aren’t ethically sourced. The big chains have a lot of money to make conscious decisions. However, they exploit their workers in other countries, contribute to being the second largest polluter in the world as an industry, and use materials that aren’t fantastic for the environment. Why are we actively buying into this? It’s because we can’t actively see it. We see the clothes on the rails, and the prices on the tags.Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 19.31.57

It makes me upset, to be a small business start-up trying to do the best in making the better decisions- when such large companies could make the changes with every season to develop and improve the ways they produce their clothes.
I find it easier to shop ethically for skin care/beauty products- for example, Lush Cosmetics, The Bodyshop and the cruelty-free brand Barry M Cosmetics here in the UK.
Fashion as one of the largest industries in the world, it can be tough to change the ways which have been working ‘effectively’ for many years. But being responsible should have been common sense from the start. This is why it is so important for businesses right now to make the changes from the very beginning. It makes me so proud to see people making more conscious decisions, I know it can be hard to gradually create a sustainable wardrobe but you’re making the right step by just thinking about it!

This is why I shop sustainable/eco fashion/ethical/socially conscious brands. Because you know what you’re buying into, you’re contributing to improving the environment, to workers better wages and making yourself feel good too ❤

Next I’ll be discussing my favourite sustainable brands and why I shop from them ❤

Mental Health is NOT a Fashion Statement

Hello my lovely lil’ cherubs! How has your day been?

I’ve been doing a bit of research recently concerning mental health, and what really got me thinking- is how fashion influences people. We wear pieces that speak to us, they are part of our identity, and make us feel real good.

I see up and coming clothing brands that are quirky, use cool slogans, and rad typography to create powerful images- however, sometimes these brands go too far.

*Please Note* – if you feel this article angers you at all, makes you feel uncomfortable or triggers anything for you, please feel free to scroll through some more positive posts here on kimmykeepreal.com such as Tips & Tricks to Staying Well , or maybe try out a mental wellness app I recommended here. Take care of yourself. There are helplines out there to listen to you too. Such as Rethink and there are helplines listed here on Young Minds.  ❤

I came across a brand called ‘Burger and Friends’ which (to quote their Instagram) are ‘Sardonic shirtsmiths with a new cache of hi-larious wearables’. Looking through their collection of shirts, crops and tees, it looks good man! I can’t argue with some of their clothing, as some make me laugh and speak to a younger generation. But. One shirt, really made me upset. In all honesty, it angered me. A white shirt printed with ‘I put the ‘hot’ in psychotic’ with a lady holding up two skulls to her eyes struck me as a terrible form of hilarity (find the shirt here on their website) You can look at this saying in two ways, however mental health is not a fashion statement. It is never acceptable to portray any form of health problem in fashion.

From the blunders of Halloween, when a terrible costume called ‘Anna-rexia’ was highlighted as an outfit (Find Cosmopolitan’s article about it here), to Urban Outfitters ‘eat less’ shirt that was once available (see Urban Outfitters 14 fashion controversies here), it truly saddens me that some folk are still making garments that use mental health in this way. This is NOT a ‘hi-larious wearable’. It is not teaching the younger generation the importance of mental health awareness, or giving them the correct information on the various mental health problems people face.

What do you think about this?

p.s if this has triggered anything for you at all, please do look after yourself. There are helplines out there right now if you’d like to talk, which I have listed above.

Thanks for your time folks, sending all my love to you- and keep real! x

 

 

 

#ElleInspire

wpid-img_20150907_215747.jpgHello beauties! How you all doing? Today, I thought to review some of my favourite #ElleInspire articles so far. I’m an avid reader and subscriber to Elle Magazine here in England, and what I love most are the #ElleInspire articles in there (and of course, the fashion!)- it gives the readers a wonderful sense of empowerment, with an authentic look at self esteem and confidence in women. It aint’ just a fashion magazine. Elle is a wonderful monthly read for not only the fashion forward, but forward thinkers too.

Throughout the year, we’ve seen movements in feminism, sexuality and gay marriage. 2015 has definitely been the year for shifting the world in an era of openness and change. We’ve seen the HeForShe Campaign fronted by the beautiful Emma Watson forELLE-UK-May-2015-Cover-Rebel-Wilson-Main gender equality, Gay Marriage being legalised nationwide in the US plus legalisation in Ireland, and the sexuality movement of ‘fluidity’ and the rejection of labels. What an age to be living in huh?!

February’s issue of Elle noted Elizabeth Palmer as ‘Woman of the Month’, recognising her as an inspirational Journalist who has covered nearly every major conflict zone in Europe and the Middle East. She tells readers to follow their natural ability, and shares her story of not having a definite road. It inspires, and she is a perfect example of ambition and making your own luck. You can do it too!

May’s issue of Elle fronted the ever wonderful Rebel Wilson with the hashtag #BeMoreRebel frontier. An intelligent, body confident woman who is ridiculously funny. Now who wouldn’t want her on the front page?! She has worked her butt off to get to where she wants be (with a Degree in Law & Arts and a former Rotary International Youth Ambassador for Australia) and there aint no stopping her! Like Elle quotes, ‘She is proof that hard work pays off and proof that once you find your voice, you can keep it and make it work for you.’

June’s issue of Elle noted Elaine West as ‘Woman of the Month’, who is the first woman to be promoted to the rank of Air Vice-Marshal, the most senior ranking female officer in the British Armed Forces. Her interview is a lovely one to read, that when things don’t go your way, move forward and learn from your experiences. She worked her way through the ranks, having been in 19 different roles throughout her career and kept going ❤

October’s issue of Elle fronts Miley Cyrus, and the exploration of sexuality and ‘gender fluidity’. It alsojIyfRftH has a beautiful spread of ’30 smart women under 30′. Now, it aint just the academically smart, it’s the downright empowering- women are out there getting to where they want to be and from all various backgrounds and childhoods. You, yes you, are the same. YOU can achieve whatever you dream, inspire and create. If you truly want it, you can go and get it ❤ It’s ok to doubt yourself, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed or afraid. But if you want it, make it happen.

2015 has been an incredible year for women, and for everyone so far. What a beautiful and moving year, and so many months ahead that could bring such joy to the world! Even though sometimes when you read these magazines, it is so easy to say ‘I wish I could be like that’, ‘I wish I was her’ and ‘Why don’t I look like that?’. However, there are such lovely articles in there saying to women all over the world ‘Stop comparing yourself to the pages, because being you is inspiring in itself and you can be whatever you want to be’.

I think we need more of that in this world. When we start comparing, we get so caught up in it and steals all our self-worth. You are beautiful…yes I’m talking to you! Be kind to yourself and do your own thaang. I believe in you.

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #8

Hello my lovelies! Man, this week has been rad so far! I’ve been having such a wonderful time and there’s so much to be getting on with. Here’s what I’m excited about lately and some updates on my adventures.

I got a beautiful little email this afternoon from Rethink Mental Illnesscropped-wpid-img_20150525_132636.jpg, saying that they are going to publish my post sometime next week! I’ll keep you informed when it is up on their page so you can check it out! It’s all about my experiences with anxiety and how it is possible to come out of the other side. It is possible to break through those barriers you feel you have ❤ I thought to share my experience so it could hopefully help some folk. Plus, I’m training for my fundraising with Rethink- so I’ll be posting up a JustGiving page real soon!

Plus some exciting news concerning my garment and goods brand Keep Real (follow on Twitter and Facebook). Designs are being finalised and selected for the brand new collection. I am so excited about these dotwork illustrations!! I able to tell you that the new collection will be called ‘Brotherhood/Sisterhood’.cropped-wpid-img_20150608_1012111.jpg It’s all about feeling real good, doing good and celebrating the bond we all have with each other. We all stand together. We shouldn’t be tearing our friends down or making other people feel bad because they are on different paths- we should be supporting each other and pushing ourselves and everyone around us to be the best they can be. We are part of a brother/sisterhood and collectively, we all have the ability to stay true to ourselves and be humble in our walks of life. We gotta keep real. 

I will keep you all up to date with my ‘Keepin’ Up With Kimberley’ posts- so have those lovely eyes peeled in your inboxes or wordpress readers!

P.s it would be awesome if you could fill this quick poll in for my blog ❤ Sending you all the love and posi vibes!

 

GIVEAWAY!

As a thank you to all my beautiful followers so far on my blog ‘kimmykeepreal’, and to those that just check in to see what I’m up to- I’m giving three lucky folk the chance to win some Keep Real goodies!!
wpid-img_20150405_164431.jpgThese include two of the following:

  • Headdress Dotwork Tee (subject to availability- only 1 Small left!)
  • Art Print seen in store- as well as not seen!
  • Moon Dotwork Tote Bag

So what two things do you have to do?

REBLOG / SHARE this post on any social media platform! (This can be through reblogging on Wordpress, Twitter by retweeting the giveaway post, instagram by reposting the GIVEAWAY photo and using the hashtag #keeprealgiveaway, facebook by reposting, or via Tumblr by reblogging.

LIKE on Facebook here OR FOLLOW on Instagram here

It’s that simple! You have until the 17th June and you can reblog/share as much as you like. I will be picking three people at random and will announce the winners on the 18th. Shipping is worldwide too

Again, thank you so much for following the journey of light, positivity and good vibes with Keep Real. So much love to you all- and good luck!

(p.s- if you haven’t checked out what you could be winning- take a look here!)

Keepin’ Up With Kimberley #2

So it’s official, kimmykeepreal.com! ❤

I’ve been designing away and getting down and dotty (heh) with my artwork. Really focusing on key pieces to bring to the collection, from t-shirts and crop tops to notebooks and accessories. At this stage, its all about the grafting and wwpid-img_20150525_132636.jpgorking on finding the right materials and fit for all you guys and gals. Patience is a virtue at this point, so I wanna be 112% happy with the overall outcome of Keep Real’s first positive goods collection.

Last years collection when I first started Keep Real, was just a tester to figure out what products and designs I could ultimately create (you can have a peek at some existing products that are now on sale here!). In my mindset, I wanted to give back with some of the products, such as giving 10% of each art print sold to Mind, the mental health charity here in the UK. I am still working towards raising money and awareness for mental health. This is so important to the Keep Real brand! Promoting a healthy relationship with yourself and others is key to Keepin’ It Real ❤

As well as designing the new collection, I also got another design by the amazing Niall Shannon tattooed! Bit of a celebration of finishing my degreewpid-img_20150523_184438.jpg and working so hard. The moth is a wonderful symbol of the soul and its transforming course. It follows the light, and that is where my journey goes too. I just knew I had to get this! A wonderful end to three years and a new beginning.

I’ve had a crazy week of working, designing and seeing some beautiful people. I’m ready for another wonderful week and I hope you are too. Let’s do this!

Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.- Arthur Ashe

The Adventure Starts Here!

Tomorrow marks a crucial day for my dreams with Keep Real. This hobbit will be rolling in business plans, meetings and designs before the eventual stroll up to Mordor to conquer all (defeating evil and opening a really cool Store is my aim).

I’m meeting with a Business Advisor to talk business (ahem, clearly) tomorrow and discover what my first steps are. I’m exploding with ideas I haven’t shared, and only sneaked one post in concluding the initial Store ideas IMG_20150208_163728in my blog. For now, that’s how I’m going to keep it- as the ideas and themes I have are long to be made a reality. Plus, I want to do this right and not rush into posting every lil’ detail. Gotta have a bit of mystery surrounding it!

Of course I realise that opening up and running a store successfully will take a few years. Plundering through plans/ permissions/ costs/ premises etc. will take time. But I truly believe that with the determination and mindset I have now to make it come true, nothing really is stopping me at all. Unless my idea sucks of course (which it hopefully doesn’t).

It got me thinking, what drives you? I’ve been so consumed in talking about my dreams, I haven’t asked about yours! So what dreams do you have? What would you love to do? I would LOVE to hear what makes you wonderful folk tick. Please comment if you have any!

Enjoy the rest of your evening ❤