Natalie Proctor chats to founder of positivity-focussed fashion label Keep It Bright! about Manchester, motivation and mind-set
Living in one of the rainiest cities in the UK, alongside all the other struggles life can throw at you; it can be hard to stay optimistic. How do you remain a sunny person when you only see the sun a few times a year?! Well, Zara Khalique is pioneering a new creative philosophy that inspires us all to Keep it Bright! The fashion line, created by Zara some years ago, has gone from strength to strength, encouraging us all to express ourselves through bold and vibrant fashion.
“I really love Manchester and I love the way everyone feels free to express themselves! I know I always wear whatever I want, and know that I’ll see all kinds of style everywhere I go in the city and I love the variety!”
Zara, who has always been interested in the arts, began the label with relatively little experience. However, Zara candidly admits that she began the business not so much for her love of fashion, but for her want to spread the positive mantra after overcoming her own personal troubles.
“I realised your mind-set changes everything and that one person can help another so much, so that’s what I feel like I have to do!”
It’s certainly an admirable thing to have begun such an endeavour, not only from nothing, but also from a place of difficult circumstance. But, as Zara states, “challenges are a chance to grow”.
The importance of the message behind the movement is one that follows through to other aspects of Zara’s life. She also champions anti-violence/abuse/bullying campaigns (Someone’s Everything), which further underlines the ethical importance of Zara’s work.
Ethics aside, Keep It Bright is full of fabulous fashion. Even without the obvious positive message behind the clothes, they speak for themselves. Zara’s personal favourites, are her “heavily embellished one-off bras and hoodies” which are painstakingly handmade – but definitely worth the effort! Some of Zara’s more casual items also have that individual edge, but are perhaps a little more accessible for everyday wear. Even fashionista Zara admits; “I love a good sweatshirt!”.
One of my personal favourites from Zara’s collection is the simple but gorgeous white cropped sweatshirt, with the trademark inspirational quotation around the collar “choose happiness”. This sort of simple detailing is typical in Zara’s line.
I also took a look at one of Zara’s stalls which was up in Fallowfield in September, and fell in love with this pink crochet halter. I loved the simplicity of the shape and the muted pink colour, which makes the piece slightly less seasonal specific. Though I must confess, I may be perhaps a little biased on this one, as I own this lovely item now!
Zara’s work doesn’t stop at clothing. The beautifully crafted accessories are also a great feature of the collection. These detailed make up and clutch bags are stunning, but also extremely good value for money.
So what does the future have in store for this movement? Despite not being one for planning too far ahead, Zara confesses she would love to see Keep it Bright flourish even more, and become “the place everyone knows to go when they need positivity and a mind-set millions live by!”. Certainly, there is something to be said for the uniqueness of Zara’s movement, given the often harsh and – let’s face it – judgemental world of fashion. From the size 0 models to the undying practice of airbrushing in every image published for public viewing; it is refreshing to see such a positive spin on fashion. Frankly, it seems strange to me that more fashion labels don’t see the problem with this form of negative advertising. Additionally, the connotations of designing for models rather than real women, can mean that fashion becomes less and less accessible to the majority.
This is something Keep It Bright avoids. The collection is forward thinking in that it harnesses the power of expression that fashion can have, and uses it in a positive way. Zara’s clothes are designed with both art and practicality in mind. Fabulous clothes that flatter and carry a strong message should be at the forefront of the industry.
Until, I’m sure, the inevitable day when Keep it Bright is a household name worldwide, it will continue, as Zara always intended, as a source of “positivity, light and motivation when [people] need it most”.
Catch Zara and keep it bright! at the Remake Remodel Vintage & Art Fair at Ruby Lounge on 29 November
Visit the keep it bright! website
Follow keep it bright! on Twitter