Left to their own devices, kids will naturally wear what makes them the happiest. (Tutu and a Batman mask to go to the grocery store? Why not!) Unfortunately, early and often, the world starts to give them another narrative and somewhere along the way, most of us begin to buy into bogus, arbitrary, and divisive fashion "rules." But in their new children's book, What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us, clothing retailer Universal Standard encourages kids to "just wear what you love, and feel most proud of." The company's creative director and co-founder, Alex Waldman, joined Romper's Operation Storytime to share this simple but revolutionary idea, reading the book aloud for kids in lieu of a proper book launch.
Universal Standard, which boasts the largest commercially available size range in the world, running from 00 to 40, wants to eliminate the barriers that make fashion inaccessible (or seem inaccessible) to anyone who would like to enjoy it.What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us was created specifically to bring this message to a young audience. The story depicts a world where everyone is kind and accepting. Through charming story and gorgeous and inclusive illustrations by Alison Hawkins, the book lets everyone revel in fashion, as they are and however they see fit.
Waldman describes the book as "a reminder of what’s possible. Only by changing the story from the start will standards of beauty shift, and a new normal be established for future generations." She adds, "This book is a culmination of what we believe as a brand; inclusivity, diversity, kindness, and making a better world for all of us, as we are."
And even the book itself is accessible! Digital copies are available for free download on the Universal Standard website, providing parents everywhere — many of us desperately seeking any new form of entertainment to keep our children from climbing the walls — access to the book, which is also available to be ordered as a hardcover. All proceeds from sales of the physical book will be going to #SAVEWITHSTORIES in partnership with Save the Children and No Kid Hungry, which helps to feed children living in urban poverty. A virtual book tour is also in the cards soon.
Here's Waldman sharing What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us on Universal Standard's Instagram account.
Waldman and co-founder Polina Veksler started Universal Standard in 2015 with an 8-piece collection. It sold out in six days. Since then, they've expanded their locations, collections, and size options, and partnered with Rodarte, J. Crew, and Adidas to make fashion more accessible for all.
“We have dreamed of a world where clothing connects us instead of divides, where every person has access to fashion that works for them, and we’re all kinder to ourselves, each other and the planet,” says Waldman.
What Would Fashion Look Like If It Included All Of Us presents all these concepts, from inclusivity to re-imagining beauty norms to environmental sustainability in a way that children can connect with and understand, starting with the dedication:
To You. May you know that you are worthy of being seen and included, in fashion and beyond, just as you are.