Clothing that makes you ask, ‘Huh?’

That’s this fashion entrepreneur’s goal

Kiarra McCain
Kiarra McCain

What do you do when you want to buy something, but just can’t seem to find it? You go from store to store and check websites looking for clothing that you believe represents you, but just can’t seem to find it? Well, you can continue looking, or you can take after Kiarra McCain and create it yourself.

“I wanted to create something that allowed people to be constantly reminded of [or rather] socially aware of a lot of different things,” McCain says. “Different comments we face as a people, different stereotypes we face as a people, and fight again those in a fashionable way.”

It took about two years for McCain to create Define By K, a clothing line with a positive message to test the waters enough to start a conversation. She says we are in a time where a movement is needed and young people want to be a part of it, but she doesn’t believe it always needs to be as extreme as the Civil Rights Movement was back in the ’60s.

“Nowadays are you going to really get a 25-year-old to buy into those ideas and still understand why they’re doing it?” she asks. “I don’t feel like my mission is to empower, but just to remind [people that] we’re all kings and queens. You’re not a king because I said you are, you already were. I just want to simply remind you.”

McCain does this with seven key designs: Goals and Dreams! Match That, My Black is Worth It, Plus What? Try to Define, Master Piece, and iHeart My Curves. Each design addresses a social issue that McCain feels needs attention — from race to being comfortable in one’s body and aspiring to accomplish one’s full potential.

Of all the designs, McCain specifically spoke on the Goals and Dreams sweatshirt. “With this [sweatshirt] specifically, I wanted to take something that could be looked at as a negative [combined with] something that is very common and that could be seen, and switch it and make it positive.”

This particular sweatshirt features four blunts (marijuana cigarettes) that form an “M,” which some parents express disapproval of. When asked about the controversy, McCain says it makes her “excited” and points out that the highlight should be the top of the shirt that addresses goals and dreams.

“It brings back that whole purpose, which is that conversation. I want people to see it and be like, ‘Huh?” says McCain.

Though McCain deems the launch successful, she says it is hard to believe that it almost didn’t happen due to the tragedies that were taking place in the African American and inner-city communities around police violence. “My goal is not to make money off of our tragedy,” says McCain.

She says that it was her models who encouraged her to still launch the clothing line, telling her that the intent was still necessary. So stepping out on faith, she did so and hasn’t looked back since.

Now McCain is looking to the future with her clothing line. Currently she is planning for her spring and summer launch and wants to ensure that she continues to stay aligned with God’s purpose. She also looks to incorporate her spirituality into some of the designs and encourage youth to speak on their spirituality and praise God a bit more publically.

“Until [God] says you’ve ran the course, I’m going to keep on going,” says McCain.

To support McCain or view Define By K, go to http://definebyk.weebly.com. And, to voice concerns or give suggestions about the designs, contact McCain by email at de finebyk@gmail.com.

Khymyle Mims welcomes reader response to khymyle writes@gmail.com.