This clothing line celebrates Kwanzaa — and gives black children visibility
Noni Ervin thought she found the perfect shirt for her son during back-to-school shopping.
When she got closer, she realized none of the garment’s silhouettes represented her child: a young, black boy with textured hair.
She grew disappointed as she continued to search, realizing the lack of representation.
Her solution: Kinara Park Kids, a clothing line featuring seven black characters that each embody a principle of Kwanzaa. Earlier this year, Ervin created the line to ensure her son and children who look like him wouldn’t be left out.
“I began brainstorming ideas on how to avoid this seclusion for other families like mine,” said the mother of two in an interview with Shoppe Black. “What if I could create something that would have silhouettes that our kids could relate to as well as provide a positive movement in our community?
“That’s when Kwanzaa and its principles came to mind. Then it hit me: What if I add Kwanzaa into what I am creating? What if each of the principles were a silhouette? Better yet, what if the principles were a kid and they were all friends?”
Kinara Park Kids highlights each of the seven Kwanzaa principles through youth characters. There is Umoja (Unity), “KG” for Kujichagulia (Self Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). The figures sport a shirt with their respective Kwanzaa symbol.
There are four girls and three boys, with an assortment of skin tones and hairstyles.
The Seattle-based apparel brand offers shirts, hoodies, backpacks and more.
Ervin most connects to the Ujima principle, which stands for collective work and responsibility. She is enthusiastic about the revenue generated from her clothing line feeding other black-owned startups and businesses.
And lofty goals are in store for Kinara Park Kids.
“In five years we are a household name,” she said in the Q&A. “The outfits of each of the Kinara Park Kids is on clothing racks in Target and K&G. Elementary students will be at recess or on the playground and will pick teams by principles. It will be Team Umoja and Team Imani.”
Kwanzaa, created in 1966 as a celebration for black Americans to honor African heritage, begins each year on Dec. 26 and last seven days.
Shop Kinara Park Kids HERE.