If you had asked me, at 13, what I wanted to do when I grew up, I would’ve said I want to have my own store. I couldn’t tell you what kind of store it was going to be, if you knew me at this point I think you would agree I wasn’t much of a fashion girly (think basketball shorts, Hollister t-shirts, and a ponytail everyday). In high school, though, I came to find my own style and found fashion to be fun and a way of expressing myself. I would often get complimented on my outfits, and for the first time, felt like I was good at something.
Flash forward a few years, it's my senior year of college, and I’m scrolling through LinkedIn searching for jobs as I prepare to graduate in the spring and start my “real” life. I read through endless job descriptions, but nothing was standing out to me as something I felt I would really enjoy doing. As a Retailing and Consumer Behavior major, I was looking for jobs in the retail and fashion space, and I kept finding myself stuck on the idea that I don’t want to work for someone else’s brand, I want to have my own. When speaking to others about this, it was always “you can do that later down the line in your career, you need more experience first”. Though I could see where they were coming from, I didn’t love this answer, yet I continued my scroll through LinkedIn.
March of that year, the Pandemic hit the U.S. and we’re told we won’t be returning to campus, cutting my final college days short with no job lined up. I moved back home with my family, uncertain of what my future now held. I was working at a small clothing store at the time, but when it was able to reopen I was only offered limited hours. I found myself with lots of time on my hands, so I just started researching and taking online classes on starting your own fashion brand. As the months went by and I was still sitting at my parents house, essentially jobless, I figured why not start my own thing, I’ll likely never have as much time as I do now.
At this point, I had become very aware of the impact the fashion industry has on the planet, and I was much more conscious of the clothing I was wearing and the brands I was buying from. I was having a difficult time finding clothing that fit my style and was also made sustainably, so I decided that’s what I’d make. I set out to design and offer an eco-conscious option for “street style” loungewear. I spent months searching for the right factories and building out my brand.
During this time, I also felt this lack of empathy and compassion in the world, especially when it came to things that are important to me personally. I decided I wanted my brand to be built around the premise of kindness and caring, not only about the planet and the impact the clothing you wear has on it, but also about other people, yourself and your mental health. I designed my first collection of t-shirts to represent these pillars my brand is built on.
I came up with the name “No Rain” from a quote I liked, “No Rain, No Flowers”. As someone who has struggled with their mental health, I found it’s important to recognize that not every day is going to be a good day and that’s ok. The bad days and hard times only help to appreciate the good ones and are also important when it comes to growth and change, whether it be personally or on a larger scale. Sometimes things have to get worse before they can get better.
It’s now been a little over a year since I launched my brand. I’ve since started a full-time job because, although it wasn’t my first choice, I do still need the experience, and the money. Working a full-time job while also trying to run my own brand and deal with life in general has been challenging. My thoughts and feelings on the fashion industry and what it means to be a “sustainable” clothing business as well as my personal relationship with fashion has changed over time. With that, I’ve decided to transition my brand to more of a lifestyle brand rather than focus solely on clothing. Going forward, my thoughts and feelings are sure to continue to change and I look forward to seeing how my brand continues to evolve and grow over time.