S+T x Coach Carey: Meet the Cast
We created The One For All Romper in collaboration with Raia “Coach” Carey to inspire change, start conversation and launch our first-ever all-gender style.
This campaign was brought to life by a community of incredible people who are all passionate about building a more inclusive future. Many of these humans are a part of Raia’s community and all of them are long-time champions for gender inclusivity. They helped us take a step towards making a more gender-neutral product offering by giving us feedback on our current styles, all of which helped us develop the One For All Romper. We can’t wait to introduce you to these incredible new members of the #smashtessfam!
ASHLEY MCKENZIE-BARNES - @ASHLEYMCKENZIEBARNES
Ashley is an award-winning creative director, curator and academic professor with over 17 years of experience. Recently launching D.PE Agency and DPE Sho Art Foundation, Ashley’s work focuses on representing diverse creative communities.
What does it mean to you to be a part of a campaign that honours gender inclusivity?
Gender identity is about freedom, expression and self-love. It’s about being able to honour non-conformity within yourself. These are traits I carry through my life daily. So, it was important for me to not only support Coach Carey, but also show up for a brand that represents aspects of who I am personally and professionally.
Tell us a little about your experience in our all-gender product focus group. What do you think makes a Romper gender inclusive?
Most importantly, it’s about how you feel in what you’re wearing. If you feel completely comfortable, and still feel you are representing your own personal style—whether that’s in a tighter or looser fit—with gender-neutral attributes in the clothing, then that feels inclusive. The Romper should look unique on everyone regardless of their gender.
How do you think design can be used to celebrate and advocate for gender inclusivity?
Design should always be forward thinking and ahead of trends. Gender norms are a construct, so really, it’s about fashion. Design should reflect that, and therefore be contemporary in its approach and fluid in its presentation. We are now seeing a rise in non-gendered clothing, where the clothing is modelled by and offered to all genders.
What are you most excited for in 2022?
Getting back to cultural planning and creating exciting experiences for my city and beyond. And dancing again—I can’t wait to dance.
ZANDER CAREY - @ZANDERCAREY
Alexander was born and raised in Toronto around the High Park area. At 29 years old, he is passionate about basketball and video games, and is currently training to be a firefighter while working part-time.
How does your sister, Raia inspire you and shape your perspective on confidence and acceptance?
Raia and I talk often about confidence and acceptance. Her openness and willingness to share her view of the world has shaped mine. Having a representative of the LGBTQ2s+ community in your family helps create that level of acceptance of gender and sexuality at an early age. Raia has always been there to help motivate me and improve my confidence by listing my positive traits just so I never forget.
What drew you to be a part of a campaign that celebrates gender inclusivity?
I am a quiet guy, but acceptance is something I’ve always tried to demonstrate through my actions. By being a part of this campaign, I can show my commitment to inclusivity and acceptance without saying a word.
How do you honour and advocate for gender inclusivity in your life?
I like to honour gender inclusivity by reading, watching or listening to all genders for news and media. I feel like this ensures that I am getting an unbiased opinion, especially when it comes to issues of gender and representation.
Do you have any intentions for the new year ahead?
Keep working towards my goals and try out some new hobbies!
ERICA HILL - @ericahilll
Erica made her mark as a houseguest on Big Brother Season 6. She is a fashion enthusiast and Youtuber who makes funny videos with her girlfriend, Chey.
What does it mean to you to be a part of a campaign that celebrates gender inclusivity?
It means the world to me, truly! I'm a firm believer that all clothing should be genderless, so this Romper is something that means a lot to me
You participated in an all-gender product focus group. What do you think is essential to making a piece inclusive for all genders and bodies?
I think a diverse size range is key! Not only does it make a piece inclusive for all bodies, but it also gives you the freedom to choose a fit that works for you and your gender expression. You can size down if you want something more form-fitting or size up for a more oversized look, which allows for so much freedom!
What are you most excited for in 2022?
More life! I am hoping for a year of good food, good people, and more amazing experiences
Jamie is a transgender woman, content creator and influencer. She is a passionate advocate for the LGBTQ2s+ community and candidly shares about her transitioning journey on her online platforms.
How did fashion play a role in your transitioning?
Growing up, even though I didn’t know what the word “transgender” meant, I knew I was a girl and drawn to feminine things. Putting together outfits and styling different pieces together to make it my own became my creative outlet. Transitioning and then living in stealth was difficult. When I was 16, homeless and living in a shelter, while rummaging through bags of donations, I found a few pieces that made me feel my best. I held onto that feeling. Thus, fashion became my armor to the everyday struggle I was experiencing. At present, after coming out recently, I realize I don’t need to prove myself as a woman through clothing anymore. Clothing is MY self-expression.
How would you like to see all apparel made more gender inclusive?
Sex and gender aren’t perfect binaries, clothing shouldn’t be either. With labels like “for men” or “for women,” people feel the need to conform to these categories and what they represent rather than finding themselves first. Everyone deserves to wear what they want without having to put a label on their garment or themselves.