Last September Kristin, the owner and designer behind the kids organic clothing line, Gardner and the Gang, decided to hold a children’s art competition. Children were encouraged to submit drawings under the theme for her SS15 collection: Magic and Rock ‘n’ Roll. The winning drawing, chosen through open voting, would be incorporated into the SS15 collection.
I loved the spirit behind Kristin’s competition, encouraging children to draw and supporting young artists to pursue their passion. I talked to Ro about it and she decided to submit her Magic Feathers drawing that she had drawn as part of her daily drawing project. The drawing itself had been inspired by a photograph that Kirsten Rickert had shared on Instagram. Isn’t it lovely the way the Instagram community knits itself together, connecting people across vast distances in these beautiful ways?
Initially, Kristin had planned on donating the profits of the shirt sales to support access for children to art lessons – a very worthy investment I would have to say. The value of art education should not be underestimated. When Ro wrote to Kristin about her inspiration for the drawing and her passion for protecting animals, Kristin decided to invest the money in another way: to protect endangered animals. This is what both Ro and I are most excited about, the shirts are symbolic of a greater cause and will hopefully inspire conversations between parents and children about animal protection.
This morning on the way to school I told Ro that her shirt design was for sale on the Gardner and the Gang website. She replied: “Mom, I’m just so happy that I drew that picture, because so many animals will be saved.” My heart is so proud.
I have an inquiring mind and so I asked Kristin a few questions about herself, the competition and her clothing line. And, now, I can see why she was swayed by Ro’s love for all animals.
Why did you hold a children’s art competition?
I thought it was a nice idea to involve the people I design for and make it a fun happening. If we can help encourage children to use their artistic talent then that is a good thing and such a good feeling too.
What is the plan for the money earned from sales of the Magic Feathers shirt?
We will donate all the revenue from the sales to a cause chosen by Ro. In this case we will adopt endangered animals through WWF (the World Wildlife Fund).
What is your background, where did you grow up, what did you study?
I am from Sweden, I grew up in the countryside close to animals and nature. I have studied media communication, visual communication, photography and graphic design. My degree is in Visual communication.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
I had all sorts of dreams, but the main one was to have a huge farm. However, I have always been terribly allergic to furry animals, so that is a bit of an obstacle, and the fact that even if I am a country girl at heart, I am also an adventurer and I love the pulse of a big city. I get totally mesmerised by New York City. Like seriously, goose bumps constantly whenever I visit. I will live there some day, at least for a little while.
How did you get started designing clothing?
It all started with me having my first baby girl, Ava. With a background in graphic design and a strong fashion interest, these are what made it all start to move forward.
How would you describe Gardner and the Gang clothing in 5 words?
Quirky, fashion, meaningful, fun, comfortable.
Why does Gardner and the Gang mean? What’s behind the name?
It is named after my daughter Ava, she is named after Ava Gardner. I loved her strong personality and her story . The gang is all the other kids that want in.
What are your sources of inspiration for the line?
I always get inspired in the most unexpected places. A thread through all my designs would be a wish to convey a message to all kids: Do not live with prejudice, open your mind to new cultures, you will learn something. Even if the message is not so obvious I always draw characters that are somewhat outsiders, strong personalities. The message is simple, be yourself: that is as cool as it gets!
What has made you the most proud of what you’re doing?
The fact that children really seem to like wearing my designs.
Your design aesthetic seems perfect for a fun youth line. Do you plan to expand the line?
Yes, slowly but surely.
When you are all caught up on work, what do you love to do?
I love to do yoga, and to go running with some good tunes in my earphones. Clears my mind. These occasions are very rare though, haha, my life is mostly, kids, work, sleep…
Thank you so much to Kristin for supporting young artists and the World Wildlife Fund.
If you are interested in buying a shirt visit Gardner and the Gang, the shirts are limited edition!