"Im on a mission to get the powers that be in retail to stand up and take notice of the amount of young people they are affecting by their sizing polices "
A mum of 3 from Bristol is this month reaching out to other parents in the region, to gain support for her mission to redefine how the fashion industry categories young adults, as she ups the ante on her campaign to redefine labelling in retail, driven by the experiences of her eldest son.
Cat Ransome, 33 from Bristol, who has created a new streetwear clothing brand alongside her 14 year old son, Leo, is this month calling for other parents from across the region to raise their hands if they’ve also found their child doesn’t fit into the neat sizing categories predefined by retailers, as she sets about to discover just how many young adults in Bristol, and across the UK, are affected by not fitting into a neat sizing box.
Having seen Leo experience mental health challenges from being small for his age, and not being able to wear ‘adult’ designer clothes like his friends, instead having to wear ‘kids’ clothes into his early teens, Cat is calling out for any parents who have struggled to find the right size clothes for their kids to share their experiences with her, as she prepares a petition to present to The British Retail Consortium in a bid to drive change.
Looking to establish how much of a problem this is nationwide, Cat who has 3 children, none of whom fit into the regular age defined sizing, is reaching out to other parents for their experiences too as she is determined to shift the dial on how kids clothing is labelled. Championing more universal labelling, she is hoping she can play a part in eradicating some of the self confidence struggles that other teens feel, due to the existing system contributing to mental health challenges for Leo.
Cat, who became a mum to Leo, 14, when she was just a teenager herself, is a woman on a mission, driven by her bond with her eldest son. Their joint love for designer clothing, and desire to support other young adults who don’t conform to stereotyped sizing saw the mother and son launch their own streetwear clothing brand Backwards Brain, at the end of last year. Backwards Brain turns labelling on its head – scrapping generic S, M, L sizes and age brackets, instead using body measurements and categorizing sizing by colour…so you are no longer a size, you are a shade. The brand caters for smaller teens , larger teens and standard adult sizes.
Parents can take part in her survey at https://www.backwardsbrain.co.uk/, the results of which will be used within her petition to The British Retail Consortium, where she will campaign for more to be done in mainstream retail to address some of the challenges faced by generic sizing.
Working with local suppliers, Jakoto Tailoring and Squared Roots, Cat, daughter of an ad agency entrepreneur, and an ex Marketing Manager herself, put her creative flair to work with the creation of the Backwards Brain brand and has co-ordinated the design, manufacturing and marketing of the clothing range, taking an idea a mother and son had on holiday and bringing a new brand to market.
With a dream of getting the brand into Selfridges where their journey started, when Leo bought his dream designer jumper for £600 - only for it it sit in his wardrobe unworn as it didn’t actually fit him, Leo has spoken about how he is proud of his mum for making this happen, and of his own mission to help other teens find clothing that actually fits them.
He said: “My main interest in life is skating but I absolutely LOVE designer clothes! I know it’s an expensive ‘hobby’ but my Mum can’t complain as I got it from her!….I am smaller than my friends so can’t wear the clothes they wear and what really gets me is I always have to wear junior ranges and the fit is just all wrong. I am annoyed by my height already and being made to then feel like a kid because I can’t wear the brands my friends do just winds me up even more. We created Backwards Brain for others who hate having to cut embarrassing sizing labels out of their clothes, as size really doesn’t matter with our clothes. I know my mum has worked really hard to get this off the ground and I would love to get our clothes in Selfridges -how sick would that be ?”.
Through Backwards Brain Cat strives to raise awareness around adolescent mental health and how difficult it is for teenagers to speak out when they are suffering and the brand contributes to ‘Off The Record’, a local support service that has helped Leo. Cat and Leo believe in the power of fashion to make a difference in order to break the stigma that boys face when they are stuck between the ‘adult’ and ‘junior’ world. Backwards Brain has been created to fill this gap.
Cat said: “Body size and appearance can have a real impact on adolescent self-esteem and mental health, especially in the age of social media, and young people already have more than enough to worry about. I’m on a mission to get the powers that be in retail to stand up and take notice of the amount of young people they are affecting by their sizing polices and I need other parents to come together to support me so we can push for the need for change”.
Parents can take part in Cat’s survey at https://www.backwardsbrain.co.uk/, the results of which will be used within her petition to The British Retail Consortium, where she will campaign for more to done in mainstream retail to address some of the challenges faced by generic sizing.