Sunday, December 5

Empowerment Via Clothing: Ohio’s OLLY AWAKE launches new gender-fluid collection

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Changing the world one thread at a time, a Columbus-based clothing company premiered their latest collection on Saturday, Nov. 13.

Founded in 2016, OLLY AWAKE is a gender equal brand created by K Terry Smith and Celeste Malvar-Stewart. With a core aim of “disrupting and subverting gender norms through intentionally designed pieces,”  OLLY AWAKE’s  clothes have no gender labels and their sales channels have no gender sections or divisions.

K Terry Smith (left) and Celeste Malvar-Stewart

“OLLY AWAKE is an ensemble of people who believe that clothing – free of norms – can empower our community,” says K Terry Smith. “At OLLY AWAKE we reject the oppressive gender binary. We design clothes to be intentionally gender equal, made ethically in the USA and designed from sustainable textiles. We are obsessed to innovate design, perfect our signature fit and unique size line, and unite under the tenants of mutual respect and empowerment.”

HEALING + STRUCTURE—this third collection launch in OLLY AWAKE history—is inspired by the process of tearing down and rebuilding systems and configurations that no longer work for communities. Two new pieces in the collection  integrate a bespoke graphic design, “Stronger Together,” by artist, printmaker, and educator, Brett Taylor.

This collection launch was made possible thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign that closed in April with a net total of $30,000.

Pieces include “Singularity” (a floor-length gender equal gown), “Unity” (a wine-colored top that showcases the bespoke graphic), “Cue Onyx” (a unique-fit top that features the brand’s logo), and “Congregation” (innovative pants with a groundbreaking front folding closure).

“OLLY AWAKE has done so much to elevate and help people understand that clothing matters because what we wear empowers us in beautiful and wonderful ways,” says Densil Porteous, executive director, Stonewall Columbus and CEO, Pride Fund 1. “The year I chaired the Human Rights Campaign Columbus Gala, I wore the OLLY AWAKE original ‘Totem’ piece on stage and felt comfortable and empowered. This new collection represents the progression of OLLY AWAKE’s hard work and dedication to breaking down gender barriers. They’ve also done a phenomenal job in community engagement and participation, partnering with others to create visibility around not only gender equality, but also in the crowd-equity fundraising space, which is so important.” 🔥

Click to enlarge these preview pieces from HEALING + STRUCTURE:

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The Buckeye Flame amplifies the voices of LGBTQ+ Ohioans to support community and civic empowerment through the creation of engaging content that chronicles our triumphs, struggles, and lived experiences.

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