Kindness clothing line in fashion
By Sue Tiffin
Published Jan. 16, 2018
Kindness matters: It’s a message that the community wants to spread, and Terri Mathews-Carl is ensuring people can share it no matter where they go.
The co-owner of Rhubarb Restaurant is also mom to four teens aged 12 to 16, who she has engaged in discussions around the topic of kindness during a heightened atmosphere of bullying and mental health challenges for youth in the area.
Those discussions have led to a clothing line featuring phrases Mathews-Carl and her kids thought of and sourced online, sort-of calls to action and positive affirmations including: Be Kind, It’s Cool to be Kind, Be Brave, Be Fierce and Kindness Matters.
“We just thought, wouldn’t it be great to have something on your shirt just as a reminder to people to be kind or that kindness matters and it kind of grew from there,” she said.
“It’s a simple message, but I think it’s a simple powerful message. If you think to yourself, if someone’s wearing a shirt that says be kind or kindness matters, you might think twice before saying something that’s unkind to them.”
Initially, shirts and tank tops were created with the messages for Mathews-Carl’s kids and their friends, but soon she wondered if others in the community might be interested in the initiative, as she notes that the messages are just as important for adults and younger kids as teens as a reminder to treat each other well.
Soon after, the Mathew Madlyn clothing line – named for family members to represent both genders – was launched, and soon after that, Mathews-Carl had 20 orders to deliver.
“For me, what would be fantastic would be going to a school and [seeing people] wearing this slogan as opposed to a generic brand,” she said. “This as a name brand would be so much cooler because it has a lot of meaning behind it.”
Mathews-Carl and her family hope they’re encouraging a trend in which it’s cool to be kind, and also that the clothing line campaign becomes a movement that reaches outside of the community and helps to champion the underdog and celebrate people getting along despite their differences.
To that effect, she plans on donating proceeds of the clothing sales to local youth programs and initiatives, including a planned youth drop-in centre in Haliburton and the Phoenix Foundation, named for Phoenix Acero, an HHSS student whose death last year sparked conversation about the culture of bullying in Haliburton County.
Support has been quick for the project, with Mathews-Carl acknowledging many people willing to help including with promotional photography from Caitlin Dunlop Photography and Danielle Meredith Photography, social media guidance from Amanda Robinson, graphic design help from Up River Trading Co, and sign making from Harrison Handcrafted Company.
“I think people inherently want to be kind and just having that little reminder is great,” said Mathews-Carl.
“Kids really want to be a part of the movement, and I think it’s great to be able to do something and feel like you’re a part of something. Especially having it coming from your hometown, it might be a really fun way to feel like in a small way, you’re helping out or you’re doing something. I think there’s always room for change.”
The Mathew Madlyn line currently includes tank tops and T-shirts in sizes from extra-small to large, and will soon offer hats, signs and journals as well.
Jordy Schell, an HHSS student, took part in the photo shoot for the shirts at Caitlin Dunlop’s studio in Minden, and said he thought the sayings on the shirt were powerful.
“I was happy to be a part of the photo shoot,” he said. “I have dealt with a lot of bullying at school myself so can understand how it can be hurtful. I wore my shirt to school one day last week and look forward to lots of students wearing them in solidarity.”
For more information, to help with the project or to purchase any pieces from the Mathew Madlyn line, visit MathewMadlyn.com, or follow Mathew Madlyn on Facebook or Instagram. Mathews-Carl can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org